A Short Guide To Cloud Migration

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21 Jun A Short Guide To Cloud Migration

Our Executive Program Manager Tim Hartnett discusses what you need to consider when planning to migrate to the cloud.

Like every implementation plan in business, cloud migration requires more than just looking for the right service providers and evaluating how much you need to spend. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure your move to the cloud goes smoothly.

Taking the right steps towards cloud migration

Technology has greatly improved the physical tools we use to communicate and do business (remember MS-DOS and floppy disks?), the speed at which we work and the scalability of solutions we employ in our companies.

As part of this ongoing process, businesses need to migrate their old technology to new platforms to keep up with the times. Whether it’s to lower costs, meet new regulatory requirements or update a particular technology stack that’s limited in functionality or lacking support, migration today is a bit like buying a new car because nobody carries parts for your old one anymore.

It is important to remember in any migration that the technology exists to serve a business function. You’re moving to improve things, whether by saving money or eliminating risks. That’s why it helps to think of migration as a function of the business rather than the technology.

So what are the keys to a successful tech migration, to the cloud or elsewhere? Below are a number of steps that will ensure you minimise risks and maximise benefits in your next major shift.

  1. Understand your objectives

Before migrating to any sort of newer technology, it is paramount to understand why you’re doing it. Keeping up with competitors is as good a reason as any, but having a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve with the migration and what business units it will affect will help you shape how the migration happens, create realistic timelines within the project and understand how to measure success later on.

  1. Establish good governance and risk management

 As with many ICT projects, good governance is important to ensure a successful migration. This involves a collegial approach – partner with your customer project team to engage with business unit stakeholders and explain migration requirements, processes and protocols. Also ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the risks involved and what they can do to mitigate these should things go awry during migration.

  1. Communicate to ensurecollaboration happens smoothly

Whether you want to use a cloud services provider to help with your migration or prefer to do it yourself, the customer and consultant professionals that make up your migration team need to communicate regularly with each other and all affected parties so everyone knows what’s going on. These interactions could involve the sharing and updating of key documents with stakeholders and regular meetings to discuss activities or deep dive into issues as necessary.

  1. Plan the execution according to business priorities

Migration typically involves an iterative planning process. This is often takes the form of a ‘rolling wave’ technique, which breaks down the migration scope into phases, or waves, according to business priorities and processes.

If migration means that your client work will be affected, then you might want to address that first and find a way to prevent your shift to the cloud from adversely affecting your business dealings with customers.

  1. Audit and document everything

Perform an audit of the physical, technological and business components you’ll migrate to ensure the business properly understands all details relevant to the migration. You might consider creating readiness tasks for physical and virtual environments – consider racks, power, cabling and labelling for physical environments, and consolidation, migration and recovery groups for virtual environments.

It will also help to prepare migration iteration run books – or a set of predefined procedures – before the actual migration takes place. Ensure you capture, sequence and understand all activities from the perspective of dependency, time and motion. You can then assign resources accordingly.

  1. Stick to the plan

Carry out the migration according to your run books and within approved change windows. It is probable that most of the major move events will happen out of business hours (overnight and weekends). Communication is essential, especially with clients who might be affected, so make sure decision-makers are available at key times.

Ideally, you should update and circulate run books in a timely manner so that everybody involved in the process – technical specialists, hardware and software vendors, and business owners – can be on the same page. Make sure you provide appropriate access, resourcing and logistics for this to happen.

  1. Involve the right people in review, sign-off and analysis

Allow some time after the initial migration for stakeholders to raise and escalate any issues to the right people for resolution. After the bulk of the changes have taken place in a satisfactory manner, approvals should be signed off by both the migration teams and key stakeholders. Follow this with an analysis of what worked well and what didn’t, and which improvements could be incorporated into future migrations.

Implementing a cloud migration plan may present some challenges, but it can be a highly beneficial move for businesses today. If you’re considering a shift to the cloud, drop us a line and find out how our amazing team of professionals and engineers can help make your migration plan a worry-free experience.

Hostworks’ Executive Program Manager Tim Hartnett is a Project Manager by profession (Prince2, PMP, MSP) with a passion for technology and the sciences. When not plying his trade, Tim can be found spending time with the family (mostly), out the back on his surfboard (sometimes) or working on his weather control machine (more of a hobby).
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