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Rates of cloud adoption are increasing rapidly. Tech media company IDG predicts that cloud migration rates will accelerate from the 5% to 7% seen in the past couple of years to 18% to 20% in 2017. CloudEndure’s 2017 Cloud Migration Survey Report found the top 3 drivers for cloud migration were cost savings, security, and high availability.
As popular as the cloud is, the cloud migration process shouldn’t be initiated without careful consideration and planning. Before starting the process, CIOs should work with their IT team to design a roadmap for assessing cloud readiness and making the move to the cloud.
Here are 10 steps that you should take as part of your preparation for migrating to the cloud:
1) Define Business Goals
Migrating to the cloud shouldn’t be a matter of simply moving your existing infrastructure and processes into the cloud. Instead, your business should use cloud migration as an opportunity to change the way you do business. Consider where you want cloud to take your business. Whether you want to improve your analytics, consolidate your infrastructure, or increase innovation, the cloud models and services you choose should take you there.
2) Evaluate Cloud Model Options
Choosing whether you will move to public, private, or hybrid cloud is a big decision. Your choice of cloud model will depend on what types of workloads your business handles and the security and compliance considerations you have.
Public cloud provides greater client accessibility, as well as an ideal environment for application development and testing. Private cloud works well for companies that handle a lot of sensitive data. Hybrid cloud allows for greater flexibility by offering both public and private cloud options in a single solution. For example, a backup and disaster recovery environment can be created in the public cloud aspect of the hybrid cloud.
3) Take Inventory of Infrastructure
Before you move your infrastructure to the cloud, you need to take stock of what you have. Your cloud infrastructure will need to meet your current and future storage capacity and performance demands. This is a great time to evaluate your infrastructure. You can eliminate any zombie servers that are using up energy but aren’t doing any work. Taking a good, hard look at your infrastructure should uncover any elements of shadow IT that have escaped your notice.
4) Map Interdependencies
Until you begin the migration process, you may not be aware which parts of your infrastructure work in sync. Without a map of these interdependencies, starting your move may seem like untangling a knot. Once you make the move, your infrastructure may fail to function. For example, applications may need to run off specific servers or require specific data to function. Other applications may function as part of a suite of related software.
5) Establish a Workload Baseline
Pinpointing your workload requirements will help you determine if a cloud provider can meet your performance needs. There is no point in partnering with a provider that can’t supply you with enough bandwidth. Understanding typical workload needs will also help you decide what cloud services you will need. Optimal application performance depends upon fast input/output speeds that deliver superior user experience.
6) Test Application Compatibility
You don’t want to wait until after you have moved to the cloud to learn whether your mission-critical applications will run in their new environment. Legacy or custom applications may not be compatible. Other applications may be supported by specific on-premises servers. If your CRM, ERP, or HR applications won’t run in the cloud, you may consider converting them to software as a service, especially if time is running out on their licenses.
7) Plan to Minimize Downtime
According the CloudEndure 2017 report, 26.5% of companies demand zero downtime during migration. This is up 12% from last year. With cloud migrations taking 1 to 2 months to complete, zero downtime is unrealistic. However, you do want to keep downtime to a minimum so your company remains productive and profitable during the migration period.
Consulting with departments across the business will help you learn what times and dates would be best to schedule their part of the migration so their workloads won’t be disrupted. The migration can be mapped out in stages so that segments of your business are kept up and running while others are making the transition.
8) Assess Risk
Any time your business moves data and applications, you create risks. Data in transit is vulnerable to being lost, stolen, or compromised. During a migration, you need to ensure that your data is encrypted while being transmitted. Organizations that deal with highly sensitive information may want to keep this data on-premises.
Before choosing a cloud provider and cloud model, you need to determine that your cloud solution will meet the compliance regulations of your industry. Be aware that the multi-tenant environment of the public cloud may expose you to additional risk of a breach, as well as the inconvenience of noisy neighbors.
9) Rework Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan
A cloud migration may be the ideal time to rethink your approach to business continuity. If you are a business that needs to upgrade your backup and disaster recovery solutions, the cloud may provide the robust solution you are looking for.
Companies that back up to tape or use another on-premises solution will avoid the risk of having their backup information suffer the same fate as their primary data center if a breach occurs. Cloud backup and disaster recovery provides the same protection as a colocation, without the added effort and expense of recreating your data center at a secondary site.
10) Decide on a Migration Strategy
Now that you’ve assessed your readiness and considered some of the risks and challenges of cloud migration, it’s time to start drafting a blueprint. Your cloud migration strategy should outline the stages in the process necessary to minimize disruption. Testing processes should be incorporated into the roadmap to minimize the chance of failure.
Members of your IT team, as well as those in your line of business, need to be made aware of their roles in the migration and how those extra duties will affect their other work responsibilities.
Increasing Your Chances of Cloud Success
The road to the cloud can be a bumpy one, but there are steps you can take to ensure the smoothest transition possible. The more thought you put into your cloud migration, the more confidence you will gain in your decision to move to the cloud. By taking careful steps to assess your current environment and future goals, you ensure that your migration strategy will result in a cloud solution that matches your needs.
Partnering with the right provider makes the complicated process of cloud migration simpler. PEAK Resources has over 25 years’ experience helping companies, including those in the cloud, design and implement IT solutions.
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Need help developing a roadmap for cloud migration? Speak with PEAK Resources today.