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A Step-by-Step Guide to Cloud Migration

June 16, 2021 No Comments

Featured article by Calvin Paige, Independent Technology Author

Despite the rapid penetration of cloud infrastructure, a lot of businesses are still relying on on-premise solutions for their day-to-day operations. On-premise solutions are seen as more reliable and easier to manage due to their proximity. Of course, these are advantages that are also offered by modern cloud infrastructure, especially with multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud implementations becoming more common among enterprises.

Migrating to a cloud environment is also seen as a challenge. Not all applications can be moved to the cloud in one go. Applications that are monolithic and rely on direct connections, for instance, require some adjustments before they can fully take advantage of cloud computing. Fortunately, the right steps in the migration process can help make the whole process more seamless and easier to manage. What are the steps that you need to take to migrate to the cloud?

1. A Thorough Review

Before you can start planning the cloud migration and chose a suitable cloud environment for your business solutions, a thorough review is required. This thorough review is meant to identify the system as it is, the different pain points that you may have to deal with during the migration process, and the desired outcomes of the migration.

Gaining a better understanding of the way current systems work is easy. You just need to understand the requirements of each system and work your way towards matching those requirements with cloud resources. This process will also help you understand the best way to adjust the system to better utilize cloud computing.

There are several routes you can take with the adjustment. You can do a complete move and make adjustments after the system is running in the cloud. You can also restructure the system so that smaller parts of it – services in particular – can be made more efficient. Alternatively, a complete refactoring is often the best solution if the aim is maximum efficiency.

To end the process, you have to identify realistic goals that must be achieved. Having clear objectives with measurable outcomes will help guide the migration process better. You know exactly what you want to achieve from the beginning, and you can plan the whole process to better achieve those objectives.

2. Choose a Cloud Solution

With step 1 completed, you can now review some of the options you have in hand. There is no shortage of cloud infrastructure options to choose from. If you want to go full-cloud, environments like Amazon’s AWS and Google’s GCP are perfect for the job. These environments, along with offers from Microsoft and Oracle, are designed to provide all the tools you need out of the box.

A multi-cloud implementation lets you go a step further. Rather than using a single cloud environment, you can integrate specific environments for specific purposes. For instance, you can use Oracle’s notoriously reliable database environment for storing data, and then use AWS’s EC2 instances for processing. You can even go with Google Big Query for better scalability.

Of course, you can go the hybrid-cloud route if you still want parts of the system to run as on-premise solutions. AWS has AWS Outposts, which is designed to integrate edge computing and on-premise devices with the AWS cloud environment. The seamless integration means you can control everything from a single dashboard in a unified way.

3. Phased Migration Planning

It is never a good idea to do a cloud migration in one go. A lot of things can fail, and some adjustments will certainly be required before your systems can run as stable solutions. Since we’re talking about business solutions that are essential to operations, downtime is a definite no from the start. This is where careful planning and phased migration come in handy.

IT planning is a critical skill that will help you tackle the biggest challenges. It is so important that students who are pursuing engineering and data science masters online degree have classes specifically on process management and infrastructure planning. A lot of issues can be avoided when the phases are designed to mitigate them.

For example, you can avoid requirement mismatch by mapping the on-premise resources with their cloud counterparts. You can also start the refactoring process early so that micro-services are ready by the time the migration begins. It is a big project with a lot of tasks involved, so don’t hesitate to spend more time on planning before moving forward.

As an added tip, make sure the phases are in line with business objectives and external factors. Some businesses have low and high seasons, so it is only natural that the actual migration is planned for the low season to minimize disruptions. The same is true with processes within the business; timing the migration alongside process adjustments will result in higher overall efficiency.

4. Best Practices from the Start

The last step is the actual migration. If you complete the previous steps properly, this is usually the simplest part of the process. You have a system that is ready to take full advantage of cloud computing. You have a migration plan in place too, complete with contingencies and a list of changes that need to happen in order for the migration to be successful.

One thing to avoid is adopting a ‘that will do’ mentality during the migration process. When you rush through the migration process and try to get everything done as quickly as possible, you risk ending up with an inefficient system that will be more difficult to fix later. Unfortunately, time is usually the main objective for most cloud migrations; this is a mistake that can be easily avoided.

What you want to do is stick to the best practices from the moment you start the migration. The more standardized the new cloud environment is, the easier it will be to manage and maintain in the long run. Best practices also allow you to gain an additional advantage: you can automate many parts of the migration process.

As long as you complete these four steps properly, your cloud migration will be a successful process. Achieving the set objectives and having an efficient system running in the cloud is no longer difficult with these tips and tricks in mind.


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