How to Prepare for Migration to Cloud: Checklist
How to Prepare for Migration to Cloud: Checklist
Take a few comprehensive and simple steps before migrating your data to the cloud to avoid any outages. Read on to see the checklist.
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By 2025 80% of the businesses' computing power will be generated in the cloud. However, currently, companies often experience difficulties while migrating to the cloud. This relates to the fact that few of them get properly ready for the migration. Let’s see how to prepare your infrastructure for cloud migration to avoid downtime.
Evolution of Virtual Data Centers
Today, hardly anyone doubts the usefulness of cloud services and cloud IT infrastructure. Companies see the cloud not only as some newfangled IT tool, but as a technology that accelerates decision making and increases the chance of survival on the market, or in other words, as a significant way to optimize their business. Experts estimate that by 2025 the number of companies that will migrate to cloud computing will grow by 19%. Companies that need high infrastructure flexibility and fast provisioning of IT resources are the first to take this path.
The cloud is a new milestone in the evolution of the data center, moving from consolidation and virtualization to a higher level. Its goal is to implement "elastic" platforms with a set of scalable, dynamically delivered IT services. Resource management and automation run on top of the virtualization layer, and different types of resources are delivered in a coordinated manner. Automating processes leads to fewer errors and makes it easier to configure security, networking, and software.
A Strategy for Cloud Migration
Migration to the cloud needs to be well thought out. Preparation will require an analysis of all software (application services) for the possibility and necessity of working in a virtual infrastructure. We have systematized and identified the most important stages of the transition and created the application migration checklist to ease this job for you!
Determine the Needs of the Company
What exactly do you want to get as a result of the transition? What processes do you want to improve now with the help of clouds and what would you like to change in the future? Cloud transformation must support the company’s business development strategy. The CIO should discuss long-term goals with shareholders and top executives, and speak with key people in sales, HR, marketing, finance to understand what challenges they are facing and how the cloud can solve them. For example, for an enterprise with a large, geographically dispersed workforce, talent management, and career development, it makes sense to migrate an application to the cloud, transfer the development and testing of information systems in order to relieve their own infrastructure.
Assess the existing IT infrastructure in different departments and find weaknesses. This is important because the cloud model is based on standardization. Determine which systems are suitable for cloud migration, which should be left in the enterprise, and which can be used in hybrid mode.
Note: today, many companies, especially large ones, are showing interest in a hybrid cloud, that is, a combination of their own infrastructure and public cloud services in one information environment. On one hand, this approach allows you to preserve the investments already made, on the other, you can scale the infrastructure at any time using the resources of the public cloud, and when the services are no longer needed, refuse them.
If you decided to migrate to the cloud, it is necessary to determine which cloud optimization of business processes will give the greatest return on investment in a short time. What will be the fastest to do that will yield the greatest savings? Here's an example - 87% of Pinterest's customers purchase a product when they see it on their website. Therefore, it is Pinterest's expertise that is of greatest value to the retailer's partner suppliers, which makes it possible to understand what determines the purchasing decisions of 150 million visitors. Thus, the company has transferred user databases to the cloud.
Provide Flexibility for Plan Execution
Cloud infrastructure migration is not only a technical challenge, especially if the mix of technologies in the cloud and traditional IT infrastructure is the same. The main difficulties that arise when transferring information systems to the cloud concern legal conflicts, data security, work restructuring, and budget. It is worth breaking down the implementation of the application migration plan into separate stages. This will give the company the flexibility to complete each stage of the transition at its own time and place. It will benefit companies with a pronounced seasonality of business to start transformations when all processes are least active. For others, it is better to begin implementation with a pilot project in one structural unit. All of this will enable management to quickly assess the benefits.
Develop Internal Communications Program
After your application migration to the cloud checklist receives the approval of shareholders and management, it is necessary to conduct an information campaign among employees. It is important not only to explain the goals of the project at the start but also to enlist the support of people at all stages of the implementation of the new model. Explain what specific benefits cloud application migration will bring to the company and staff.
Find a Provider
When choosing a cloud, you should evaluate the capabilities of different providers. You always need to pay attention to the level of reliability and security of the data centers where the provider's cloud is located. As a rule, large players have their own data centers built and certified in accordance with the high requirements of the global Uptime Institute standard. It is also better to find out if the data center is the property of the company or if it is rented. You should definitely pay attention to technical support.
The next item in your application migration checklist is taking inventory of existing IT services and servers, updating the list of software and their current versions, and the level of resource utilization. At this stage, you already need to have an idea of the amount of computing power that will migrate to the cloud: the number of virtual processors (vCPU), the amount of random access memory (vRAM), as well as determine the required performance of the disk system.
Often companies, for various reasons, experience difficulties in conducting an independent audit. This can be due to a large download or a lack of expertise and knowledge. In this case, the audit can be ordered from the cloud provider itself.
Create a Migration Scheme
After the audit, you need to decide on the migration scheme and tools, as well as the appropriate type of cloud: public, private, or hybrid (the most popular option is a hybrid cloud, which allows you to leave part of the data inside the company perimeter). There are two migration schemes - full and partial. With a full migration to the cloud, the entire IT infrastructure of the company is transferred. If a large company with a large number of IT systems decides to migrate to the cloud, then a roadmap must be drawn up, which determines the order of transfer of services.
Set Up the Migration Plan
After collecting and updating information on all IT systems, you need to develop a target architecture, which the company plans to arrive at when using the cloud. You should also include in your cloud migration checklist the network connectivity of the migrated client infrastructure and the provider's cloud. At this stage, you should think about backing up your systems. Provider experts can also help with this matter. According to experts, BaaS allows you to ensure the stable operation of the business and protect it from data loss, so consider including it in your application migration checklist.
Another important point is a test migration, which is necessary to assess whether the selected cloud resources meet the needs of the company and their performance. Next, you can start setting up a VPN channel between the company's site and the provider's cloud and if necessary, build channels. It is also necessary to determine the requirements for the time of permissible stop of services and correlate them with what the provider offers. They should be minimal.
Depending on the complexity of the migration and the availability of qualified specialists within the company, you need to decide whether you will carry out the transition on your own or with the help of a provider. If a company has chosen a large provider, then, as a rule, they have a whole team of highly professional architects.
With the target architecture of systems, cloud migration strategy, and a backup plan in hand, you can proceed directly to the migration. The provider's task at this stage is to prepare the cloud: allocate the necessary resources, build networks, configure the VPN, and configure access for the client's administrators. A limited test migration is then performed with the client to assess how well the preparation went. If the testing is found to be successful, then you can proceed with the planned migration. Depending on the complexity of the systems being transferred and the amount of data, the application migration to the cloud can take from a few minutes to a month. After the migration has been successfully completed, the cloud infrastructure is launched in test mode and only then transferred to an industrial operation.
Versatile or Specialized?
Typically, specialized converged platforms such as Oracle, Cisco, and IBM are optimized for specific software and offer a wide range of tools to optimize an application. This allows you to achieve a significantly greater increase in software performance than when using universal platforms, the settings of which are not "tied" to one software. If the company has a specific business task (for example, deploying a database that provides quick and uninterrupted access to information), then the best solution would be to use a specialized platform.
In any case, one of the primary factors of choice is the "lifetime" of the platform - the period during which the manufacturer is ready to develop and support it. Otherwise, it may turn out that a few years after the start of the development of a data center, its foundation will become morally and physically obsolete, forcing the customer to add components that will be difficult or impossible to integrate into the existing infrastructure and management tools.
Public, Private, or Hybrid?
Moving applications to the cloud, it is sometimes more profitable not to create your own clouds, but to use public cloud services. Such an approach allows you to convert capital expenditure into operating expenditure. Building your own private cloud requires significant capital expenditure and is not affordable for most companies with up to 50 employees. Using public clouds is more beneficial when significant capital expenditure is undesirable and the cloud services offered to meet customer needs. In addition, one cannot fail to note the flexibility of public clouds - you can consume exactly as many services as you need at a certain moment, instantly connect and disconnect them, pay according to usage, and quickly react to changes in the requests of business units.
The hybrid model is used by medium-sized companies that deploy heavy ERP systems in a private cloud or in their data center, and send mail, corporate portal, and electronic document management system to the public cloud. This is due to the fact that small companies, as a rule, do not have the resources (both monetary and professional) to implement all information or infrastructure systems inside.
The point of the cloud is to provide services and applications. This means that you need to understand the structure of applications and their components, as well as clearly and transparently describe them. It often takes longer than the technical implementation of the platform itself. In addition, the IT service delivery and consumption model is changing the way IT and business interact.
A large number of different hardware platforms, storage systems, management tools and ineffective security systems that often do not cover all components of a data center are typical. The lack of qualified specialists leads to a significant decrease in the efficiency of the data center in general and an increase in service costs. So make sure that hiring an experienced team is on your server migration checklist.
To cope with all these and many other problems, there are a number of solutions, which include integrated, converged systems. In short, there are the following cloud migration strategies:
Audit of existing infrastructure
Preparation and approval of technical specifications, including SLA parameters
Selection of suppliers of software, equipment, protection means
Designing a solution architecture in the cloud
Developing a migration schedule
Building infrastructure in the cloud
Supply of equipment, software, means of protection
Configuring the software and hardware complex, including network equipment and accessibility parameters
Testing platform performance, fault tolerance, and high availability
Data migration to the cloud
Test migration of information systems
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