How to Plan Your Data Center Migration to the Cloud

Cloud computing is on every CIO’s mind but not always for the right reasons.  This could be because of the fears related to security, business continuity, cost efficiency and data availability.  Summarizing these sentiments, Lydia Leong, Vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner says, “Efficiency-driven workload migration demands a different mindset and approach than agility-driven cloud adoption. The greatest benefits are derived from cloud-enabled organizational transformation, yet such transformations are highly disruptive and difficult. Moving to cloud IaaS without sufficient transformation may fail to yield the hoped-for benefits, and may actually result in higher costs”.

Data center migration requires evaluation of the weight of the data residing in the data center, and its current age and capacity.   For example, if it is on its last leg, it might be better to decommission the data center and migrate to the cloud.  If there are capacity limitations, these could also be reasons for considering cloud migration.

Then you  would need to evaluate existing skill sets. If the internal IT organization does not have the requisite skill sets for cloud migration, it might be best to look for a cloud solutions service provider.  The partner firm should have a strong reputation, experienced in cloud technologies, and have a dedicated team of cloud specialists.  If these technologists have industry experience, it would be even better.

The partner firm should be able to work out a thorough business case, perform a cost analysis, and prioritize workloads for successful migration.  The vendor needs to define the scope and road map for the migration.  This immediately sets a context in terms of timelines and costs involved. It also prepares the existing teams for what is in store.    During the discovery stage, the vendor should do a thorough analysis of the on premise data center to prioritize it accordingly for migration.

Transition from "difficult to change" to Evolutionary Cloud Architecture

Data collection has to be as intense and exhaustive as possible to ensure that gaps are avoided.  The vendor needs to work with the internal IT stakeholders to ensure that data center is evaluated thoroughly, for a robust application inventory.  This step could take at least a fortnight to complete but is crucial to planning capacity for cost optimization.

The above few steps naturally lead to the next one where the vendor does a deep analysis of critical information.  The analysis will be comprehensive and map the migration to overall organizational goals, identify workloads and group them accordingly.  This gives a clear perspective on cloud and infrastructure requirements post-migration and the costs for long term maintenance. Along with all these, there will need to be a plan for disaster recovery.

The final step, i.e. of creating a formal workload migration plan will be proposed by the vendor.  Depending on the findings, the vendor may propose a wave or tier approach, to ensure short term return on investment and minimize operational disruptions.   This migration plan is the blue print or detailed architecture of how the migration will proceed.

Trigent Software’s  6 Keys to Successful Cloud Migration

  1. Gain executive sponsorship and develop strategy early
  2. Portfolio assessment: Review and select the right applications to migrate
  3. Budget for migration costs: tools, services, skilled resources
  4. Start small and scale
  5. Re-host (Lift and Shift) - low risk & reward
  6. Re-platform (lift-and-reshape) - medium risk, high reward
  7. Re-architect - high risk, high reward
  8. Identify risks and ensure operational continuity
  9. Create a repeatable plan and process to improve it.
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