8 Key Facets of a Smart Cloud Migration Strategy

Cloud migration offers multiple benefits, including flexible data storage capacities, significant cost savings, and advanced security. Plus, by migrating to a reliable cloud system, you don’t have to worry about software implementation, support and the costs of maintenance and on-demand services.

Cloud migration helps enhance customer experience. However, the migration process can be tricky and complex. Opting for the right cloud migration approach and planning can help achieve business goals through cloud migration.

So, let’s understand the key elements of successful cloud migration.

Key elements of a successful cloud migration 

Migrating to the cloud enhances operational performance, security, and expandability. If you’re planning to migrate your business to the cloud, there are myriad benefits you can leverage, such as:

  • Agility to scale resources as required
  • Reduced costs due to the pay-as-you-go model
  • Privacy and security
  • Faster time to market
  • Less maintenance

However, cloud migration is more complicated and not a straightforward process. Here are some key elements you should consider during the cloud migration process.

1. Plan a strategy

Before embarking on the cloud migration process, answer the following questions:

  • What is your business’ objective behind moving to the cloud?
  • What are your cloud server requirements?
  • What’s your overall budget?

Mishandling cloud migration can lead to potential data loss and security breaches. So, answer these questions to avoid purchasing more than your business requires.

Next, have a baseline understanding of your business to establish cloud migration key performance indicators (KPIs), such as CPU usage, memory usage, page load times, response times, and conversion rates. These metrics will enable measurement across several categories.

Businesses plan their strategy early. So, ensure that your strategy prioritizes business objectives over technology.

2. Identify the right apps to migrate

Every app is different. Some apps work optimally well on the private cloud, while others work on hybrid or public. So, do a proper analysis of architecture, complexity, and implementation at the early stage. Be aware of your apps running, allocated resources, configuration, and other details. This way, it would be easy to examine your infrastructure while migrating the data to the cloud.

Here are some factors that you can consider before deciding which applications to migrate:

  • If the application is mission-critical, it should be the lowest on your priority list. This is because of the uncertainty of the new infrastructure. For example, enterprise should start with the lowest-risk and lowest-value applications with minimal customer data and other sensitive information, which can benefit from the cloud’s elasticity.
  • Data sensitivity is another important factor you need to consider before cloud migration. Apps that contain sensitive data, which includes customer data, financial records, etc., are the best for cloud migration.

Here’re some ways to make cloud migration smooth and quick:

  • Identify what applications can be moved directly. And which applications need a redesign?
  • Check the level of complexity while modifying the apps to make them cloud-friendly.
  • Figure out the tools available with the cloud provider. Know if there’s a modification workload to ease the entire migration process.
  • Choose between the best cloud environment, such as public, private, multicloud, or polycloud as per your requirements.
  • Analyse the architecture to get a better idea of apps that should be migrated or not.

3. Select the right cloud migration service provider

The next key element is to select the right cloud platform provider for desired environment and requirements. Employ a reliable cloud service partner with expertise in cloud strategy, migration, and optimization. They should have a proven track record of success in the cloud computing industry and should be able to guide you on cloud assessment and cost optimization

Here’re some key skills to keep in mind while hiring IT professionals:

  • Firstly, they must have sound knowledge of migrating data and apps from one platform to another.
  • They must have experience in offering migration with minimal risks and downtime.
  • They should have expertise in cutting-edge technologies and highly automated machinery.
  • They should provide service-level agreements, which include milestone-based progress and outcomes.

4. Prioritize data security

As businesses plan to move workloads and apps into the cloud, they should be extra careful about security aspects. During cloud migration, data is at higher risk of threats or breaches. In addition, migration from an on-premise system to the cloud environment increases the vulnerability to security breaches. Therefore, it is essential to hire a team of cloud migration experts that recognizes all business’ compliance requirements while handling sensitive data and information.

Businesses can evaluate the maturity of a service provider’s security operations concerning the following:

  • Data recovery
  • SLA considerations
  • Breach notifications
  • The way personal identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive information is collected, stored, and transmitted.

Sensitive data is critical, no doubt! Unfortunately, during migration, such information can be exposed. Therefore, post-migration validation is essential in order to ensure that automated controls yield the same results without disturbing normal operations.

5. Embrace end-to-end approach

Cloud service providers should have a powerful method to address every facet of the migration process. It’s important to ensure that they should explain in the service-level agreement (SLA). The SLA is fundamental as more companies depend on external providers for their apps, data, and complex systems. It also explains finance penalties, for example, if the provider fails to fulfill the guaranteed terms.

6. Estimate the costs & ROI

There are two factors on which your cloud migration strategy depends on: analysis of cost and ROI (Return on Investment). So, estimate these two in the following ways:

  • Collect data about the business case’s potential ROI on the cloud infrastructure.
  • Use TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) calculators to estimate cloud solutions’ costs. You can also compare them to the current state.
  • Evaluate the costs of your current IT infrastructure.
  • Some other cost drivers are important to consider while estimating the cost, such as operating expenses, design & development, capital expenses, ongoing infrastructure maintenance, and training & support.

7. Execute the migration

The cloud migration process involves network changes, such as configuring a domain and IP environment and setting up the security environment. Hence, workload traffic is successfully redirected to the cloud workload.

In order to ensure smooth cloud migration, it is important to test and validate the migration process through careful planning in advance. It is also recommended to keep the updated contact information of both IT staff and cloud providers for technical support whenever unforeseen challenges arise.

Once you are ready with everything, it’s time to know the following essential points:

  • The main challenge is to perform cloud migration with minimal disruption to regular operation, at lower costs, and over the shortest period of time.
  • Data must be available to users during a cloud migration. If it is, then it could impact business operations.
  • Before performing a migration to another element, it is important that each workload element, which is migrated individually, should be proven to work in the new environment.
  • When cloud migration occurs, it also involves network changes, such as setting up the security environment or configuring a domain; therefore, it is successfully redirected to the cloud workload.
  • To ensure smooth cloud migration, test and validate the migration process through careful planning.

8. Evaluate migration

It is time to evaluate post-migration – a necessary step to assess what was successful or what emerged as a challenge. Now, you need to find solutions to those emerging challenges in the migration process.

Tip: Migrate in smaller steps, as you will have all the records or tracks of the migration process. As your business moves forward in the cloud, you must keep an eye on resource optimization post-migration.

Some post-cloud migration recommendations

  • Managing cloud services on a consistent basis can help businesses take advantage of spend optimization and prevent downtimes.
  • It is also important to overview cloud migration KPIs, which are: ART (Average Response Time), Peak Response Time (PRT), and server performance metrics (CPU utilization, memory utilization, and load average).
  • Continuous feedback from stakeholders is essential since it helps to clarify short-term challenges and long-term improvement areas.

Conclusion

Adopting the cloud with a strategic approach can help businesses obtain several benefits, such as security, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, without compromising the quality of business operations.

Hiring experienced cloud experts with a strategic approach is advisable as they will help you simplify and streamline your cloud migration process. If you have a smart cloud migration strategy that worked for you, share it with us in the comment section below.

Adam Hansen