You may think a migration to the cloud will be simple, but the first steps are crucial for a successful migration. A good checklist can help you keep track of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who needs to do it. Read on as we list the 10 steps every migration project needs and why.
A move to the cloud can have many benefits for your organization that include better agility in IT processes, lower operating costs, faster turnaround on processes and approvals, and improved security, to name a few. However, successfully executing a cloud migration project requires careful planning and execution. To help ensure a smooth and successful migration, it’s important to follow a structured process with clear steps and checkpoints. In this blog, we’ll outline a 10-step checklist for your cloud migration project to help you define what steps need to happen before, during, and after a migration project.
The steps to a successful cloud migration
- Define the expected outcomes and long-term business goals from cloud migration
This will help ensure your migration strategy aligns with your overall business objectives and goals, and IT and technical considerations such as application characteristics, performance requirements, availability, and information security. Choose a cloud service provider that can deliver the required services at an acceptable level of quality with minimum disruption while minimizing cost through cost modeling exercises (including financial analysis).
- Assess your current IT infrastructure and identify which workloads and applications are suitable for migration to the cloud.
Identify which workloads can be migrated to the cloud, including those that are currently running on-premises. These include virtual machines (VMs), applications, databases, network security devices, load balancers, and firewalls.
Decide which applications can be migrated to a public cloud or private cloud environment from an on-premises solution. Some examples of applications that can be migrated include CRM/ERP; financial reporting; SAP; Oracle; Microsoft Dynamics; Microsoft SharePoint Server; payroll systems with HR modules; data warehouses, and more.
- Choose a cloud service provider and decide on a cloud deployment model (public, private, or hybrid)
First, you’ll need to choose a cloud service provider and determine which cloud deployment model (public, private, or hybrid) is the best fit for your needs. Understand the cloud computing landscape and then evaluate deployment models to find one that suits your industry or line of business. Research different cloud providers, their offerings, pricing models, security features, and service level agreements. This will help you decide which provider best suits your needs. Also make sure that you choose a cloud service provider that has a sizeable customer base and good reputation in the market with a wide range of cloud services and reliable support services.
- Create a budget and timeline for the migration project
The cloud migration project will require a significant investment of time and resources, so it is important to determine your budget well before you begin. You should also develop a timeline for the project along with mapping out key stakeholders for each task so that everyone involved knows what to deliver.
Consider all costs associated with migrating to the cloud, including new hardware requirements, software upgrades, training for employees who will have to work with new platforms and as per new workflows in a cloud environment. Also leave room for any other expenses related to moving data between systems or deploying new systems entirely.
Develop contingency plans to tackle any issues arising during your assessment phase (for example, if problems are found in existing applications, databases, etc.), as this could affect both your budget and timeline. Communicate regularly with stakeholders throughout all phases of your migration project (assessment through implementation) so they’re aware of progress being made on schedule/budget goals set by the senior management or IT leaders.
- Develop a data migration plan to transfer data securely and efficiently
Your data migration plan should detail how to transfer data securely and efficiently and the tools and platforms to be used for the data transfer. It’s essential that you have a well-defined plan in place before the actual migration begins.
To begin, you’ll need to determine whether the new cloud service will be a replacement for your existing infrastructure or if it will be used in addition to what you already have. If this is an incremental move, then you’ll likely want to make sure that your data transfer method will allow for both systems to run simultaneously until users are fully transitioned over. You may need customizations or integrations with your existing systems depending on how long it takes for everyone on staff (and their devices) to transition off of one system onto another.
- Determine how to handle necessary customizations or integrations with existing systems
This is a critical step in the planning process, as many companies have existing systems that rely on their current environments and need to be able to communicate with new cloud-based applications. There are many ways this can be accomplished—for example, you could use application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate your current systems into the new environment, or use middleware tools, or developer kits for connecting applications to the cloud.
- Train your team on the new cloud environment and best practices for using it
The next step is to train your team on the new cloud environment and best practices for using it. In this phase of your migration project, it’s important to teach your employees how to use the new tools, such as the cloud console. This will give them a better understanding of how they can access their data in the cloud and make adjustments as needed to align with the workflows and approval flows across key operational teams such as sales and marketing, customer service, financial management, IT administration, and others.
- Test the migrated systems and applications thoroughly to ensure they are functioning correctly.
As you complete each phase of your cloud migration project, you’ll need to continuously test your new environment thoroughly to make sure that everything works as expected in the new environment. This will also help you identify any issues or challenges before moving on to the next phase of your project.
- Perform a final review and sign off on the migration
Take the time to review your entire cloud migration project. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve met all of your goals and objectives before moving on to other things.
Establish a process for ongoing monitoring of the cloud environment after it’s been migrated over. You want to be sure that everything is operating as expected and that anything new or unusual gets flagged quickly so you can deal with it as soon as possible.
After the migration is complete, you need to constantly monitor and optimize the new cloud environment including applications, databases, and more, to straighten out any early issues. This will help ensure that it continues running smoothly after everything else is done, which is important because this isn’t just about getting something up-and-running—it’s about making sure it stays up-and-running once it’s there.
- Monitor the performance of the migrated systems and continuously optimize their usage of cloud resources
Use monitoring tools to track key metrics such as system uptime, latency, throughput and errors. You can also use these tools to monitor resource utilization levels and determine if you need to scale up or down your instances based on demand.
Use optimization tools that enable you to optimize your application for the best performance in a cloud environment. For example, you can deploy auto-scaling groups with load balancers using API calls or using autoscale policies during development cycles to optimize and improve application performance.
A well-planned cloud migration project can make execution and adoption smoother for everyone across the senior management and IT teams to the operations teams who will be the ultimate users of the cloud systems. If you’re considering a cloud migration project, these 10 steps can help you get started.