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7 Steps to Successful Cloud Migration

Jim Miller

Jim Miller
Product Marketing Manger, Public Cloud

As companies deploy a digital transformation to improve business processes, accelerate decision making and create better customer experiences, there is a requirement for IT to be more agile. There is a need to deploy and optimize new applications faster, or to modernize existing ones to maximize business momentum. Cloud computing is a way for businesses to bring applications to market more quickly without sacrificing availability, cost or security. The Cloud is no longer an aspiration, but a necessary strategic methodology to gain and maintain competitive advantage. This is why more than 90 percent of today’s enterprises, according to multiple reports have deployed the cloud, at least partially as part of their IT infrastructure strategy 

Cloud migrations can be difficult, particularly when your IT infrastructure is comprised of myriad vintages of systems that have been designed internally or with third party developers, as well as internal and external service providers. It is hard to know where to start, or what tools to use. But it can be done successfully, when you follow a carefully considered seven-step plan. Together, these steps help ensure your migration achieves the efficiencies you seek, while avoiding the pitfalls that many organizations face. 

  1. It all begins with what is arguably the most important step: Planning. Start by developing a strategy before making any changes. Define your objectives which could be anything from a company expansion to flexible spending or a need for increased agility, and set a realistic timeline, which will help you focus and limit your options. Decide which legacy applications should stay on premises or be retired, assess the necessary resources for transfer to the cloud, and create plans for tracking, governance and billing. Consider your strategic and tactical plans for future applications that will be created natively in the cloud. 
  1. Then assess your cloud options using a method like Ensono’s own Cloud Transformation Framework. There is a wide range of cloud options available that can be mixed and matched to solve your specific business objectives. These include retaining, retiring, rehosting, re-platforming and refactoring applications. It’s vital that you identify which service framework offers the best expertise to help meet your migration objectives. You will want to identify any technical constraints that should be considered.   
  1. Then things really start moving—but don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you jump in with both feet, be sure to pilot the cloud option you selected. This is where you check the feasibility of moving your existing applications after you have assessed and analyzed your current environment and identify workload and application dependencies. At this stage, you’ll also want to assess your total cost of ownership.  
  1. Once you’ve established the feasibility, investigate the current cloud operational maturity. This includes an assessment of people, process and technology. You want to determine each application’s readiness and the best migration strategy for each workload. You’ll assess your unique business drivers and cloud capacity.  
  1. Now it’s time to move into your new environment by designing the cloud landing zone. Here you’ll consider factors like security, performance, compliance, technical requirements, and the specific considerations for each cloud provider, which differ whether you’re using an option like AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform. In the end, you may end up deploying multiple cloud options to meet the unique requirements of each application. According to Flexera’s 2021 State of the Cloud report, 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy. 
  1. At this point, you’re almost there. But first you have to deploy a landing zone to test the first application or group of applications. Incorporating best practices, this process tests whether the platform is working as planned, and that application is both functional and secure. 
  1. Finally, you’ve reached the big moment: increased migration. You can now bring the remaining category one workloads to your new cloud environment and create plans for categories two and three.  

Of course, after you’ve examined your objectives, it’s a good to consider whether you have the in-house knowledge and experience to maximize your cloud potential? If not, selecting a managed service provider as your partner for the journey can be transformative. When considering a managed service provider, it must inhabit key capabilities and skills to ensure that not only is your cloud migration successful, but will it continue to provide the agility, cost effectiveness and security as your business evolves. 

  • The Service provider must have multi-cloud skills. Applications can be better suited for one cloud provider over another, and the application you will build tomorrow may be served by yet another. 
  • They should constantly be improving their services portfolio, including technologies, automation and security.  
  • Solution Architects and Consultants that can extend your team and accelerate cloud adoption.  
  • As your business evolves, and new applications are launched, continuous improvement of the cloud environment is necessary to preserve cost effectiveness, availability and security. State of the art management tools along with the technical resources and flexible service offerings to keep your cloud running as effectively as possible.  

You want a service provider that has expertise in in multiple facets of IT infrastructure: Mainframe, Midrange, as well as Private and Hybrid Clouds. According to Flexera’s 2021 State of the Cloud report, 80% of enterprises have a hybrid strategy. This way you can be assured that the best cloud decision will be made today, while your legacy infrastructure is managed to meet your business needs today, and pilot in whichever direction your business evolves on the future. 

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