Fundamentally cloud migration is about moving things from bare-metal/virtual machines to cloud instances. This is a very easy concept to understand and a fairly easy process to complete (with one or two exceptions).
However, I am yet to meet an enterprise of any scale who is looking to simply migrate to the cloud for the sake of it. Yes there may be some immediate cost savings but fundamentally businesses are looking for digital transformation – powered by the cloud.
The real goal for every enterprise is to adopt cloud services to speed development, enable teams to manage infrastructure more autonomously, and ultimately improve end user experience. Rehosting is great if you want to move quickly and tick a box. But do you have a long-term cloud strategy to effectively address any of your organisation's challenges or goals?
1. Plan for the Future
We always recommend an application-led migration. This focuses on the roadmap of applications but also provides an approach for delivering business value from Cloud technologies in the long term. It also helps to pinpoint any factors that are limiting the success of each app and what cloud services could be used to help remove these.
The “Six Rs of cloud migration” — Rehost, Replatform, Repurchase, Refactor, Retire, or Retain — from Gartner are a great place to start when considering all of the options for migrating your applications to the cloud.
2. Forecast Costs
Budgets are tight and a focus on numbers has never been more intense than during the pandemic. How does an IT department justify an investment in cloud? Cloud forecasting can be a complicated thing (trust me I have spent many a night staring at a spreadsheet). The old assumption that cloud means cost savings is now more understood to be: cloud can potentially/may/possibly/ could mean cost savings – if we did this, this, and this correctly.
Key for cost forecasting correctly is right-sizing. What is the current utilisation of your infrastructure and how will that map to the cloud? Simply moving what you have may mean more work in the long run, and higher costs.
It should go without saying but Security is the most important aspect of a cloud migration, which does cause me to ask why it is number three in this list. Let’s not dwell on that but focus on what an opportunity a cloud migration brings your organisation to look at your security policies and utilise cloud tooling to ensure that anything that lives within your infrastructure does so because it already passes your security benchmarks.
This will save you time in the long run, and of course is a lot less risky.
4. Choose the Right Partner
The pressure on IT teams to deliver results into the business has never been greater. If you are planning on migrating with your current internal IT resource, remember this will require upskilling to manage the transition. This will require training and a time for those new skills to bed in. This can become very expensive and take longer than you think.
If you choose to go for a partner to help with this process, choose one with a proven track record of migrating customers, ideally in your own industry sector. Focus on the outcomes of any engagement, rather than the process – there are many different ways to go about a migration, but fundamentally it’s the output of the process that is of importance.