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A Cloud Migration Checklist

An increasing number of enterprises today are migrating to the Cloud. A survey conducted by RightScale, a cloud automation vendor, confirmed this trend and revealed that:

  • 93% of respondents reported that they are adopting the cloud.
  • 88% of the respondents reported using the public cloud.
  • 63% of the respondents use the private cloud.
  • 58% of respondents use both private and public cloud.

Migrating to the cloud presents enterprises with some obvious benefits. Increased availability, better performance and clear cost benefits are some of the obvious advantages of moving to the cloud. Research conducted by various agencies such as Gartner, Ovum, Forrester, International Data Corporation (IDC) and others agree – “the global SaaS market is projected to grow from $49B in 2015 to $67B in 2018, attaining a CAGR of 8.14%.” and by 2019 cloud applications will account for worldwide mobile traffic. Goldman Sachs also estimates that the “cloud infrastructure and platform market will grow at a 19.62% CAGR from 2015 to 2018, reaching $43B by 2018”

However, when migrating to the cloud enterprises have to ensure that their initial footprint in the cloud is compatible with the technology stack present in the cloud platform of their choice. They also have to ensure that the platform is able to scale comfortably to suit growing business and user requirements. Thus taking a strategic approach becomes an essential part of cloud migration and consider how the enterprise intends to do business so that this can become an inherent part of the cloud strategy.

Cloud migration is the process in which data, applications or other business elements are moved from onsite computers to a cloud infrastructure or are moved from one cloud infrastructure to another. In this post, we will shine the light on some essential components of a cloud migration checklist. We hope this will help enterprises looking to migrate to the cloud do so seamlessly and help them reap the real benefits of this move.

Network architecture:
To take complete advantage of the cloud, enterprises need to make sure that their network infrastructures are set up for this. Traditional network infrastructures may suffer poor application performance or even expose themselves to security vulnerabilities. Thus before making the move to the cloud enterprises need to make sure that their network is well-designed and cloud-optimized by ensuring routing optimization, reliability, and low latency in WAN performance, and ensuring device support. Taking a holistic approach to the network architecture thus, becomes the foundation of successful cloud migration.

Application architecture:
While moving applications to the cloud might look simple, in reality, this takes a lot of careful planning for great execution. Before migrating applications to the cloud, architects need to evaluate if legacy applications need to be replaced and assess which applications will get the most out of the cloud investment by doing an inventory assessment and then plan the application move. Typically, enterprises should avoid moving systems in large chunks and should ensure that these systems or application first-movers are not the most business critical and tricky. Mission-critical workloads, legacy application, sensitive data might not be the best first movers to a public cloud. Treating the cloud as a logical extension of the current landscape and assessing application dependency thus becomes an essential part of the cloud migration check-list.

Business continuity plan:
Having a business continuity plan should also form an essential plan of the cloud migration journey as vulnerabilities, natural or man-made (think the Japan earthquake or the Amazon outage in 2011) can sometimes disrupt business. Enterprises need to build diversity into the disaster recovery and business continuity systems and should be able to run on a number of different infrastructures. Evaluating options for business continuity and designing systems and configurations that can enable a high level of automation should find a significant spot on a cloud migration check-list.

Evaluating costs:
So, should you opt for a private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud? While cost efficiency is a big reason of why enterprises move to the cloud, it is important to remember that financial benefits differ from one application to another. Applications using legacy hardware can be more expensive to run in the cloud. Identifying the technical requirements, gathering performance data, and identifying if there shall be any hidden expenses when migrating to the cloud can help in planning the network and bandwidth costs and for deciding which cloud flavor will best suit the enterprise.

Governance and security:
Since traditional on-premise systems will not work as-is in the cloud, enterprises have to take a look at evaluating their governance approaches. As most of the governance responsibility rests on the cloud providers once the move to the cloud is complete, enterprises need to reshape their governance strategies to rely more on the offerings by the cloud than on their internal security. Assessing the cloud providers’ security certifications thus becomes important. Planning ahead for any fail overs, potential breaches and disaster recovery also becomes a critical part of a cloud migration check-list.

As enterprises assess the benefits and risks of a move to the cloud, it is important to note that cloud migration does not have to be an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. With careful assessment, enterprises can begin with first moving some applications and services to the cloud and continue to operate the rest on-premise. Once all the boxes in this check-list have been crossed then enterprises can avail rapid cloud transformation and embrace the power offered by the cloud.

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