In its initial days, cloud computing was a big technological disruption. However today, it is the very foundation of your digital transformation. Forrester Research – Future of IT, predicts that 80% of IT’s workload will be offloaded to the cloud by 2020.
If you have decided to move your IT infrastructure to cloud – that is a great decision. However, cloud migration can be a painfully daunting task and one of the most common cloud related pain points after security. Without proper planning, execution and testing a lot can go wrong.
There are a few factors to be kept in mind when making the transition. Here is a quick checklist that will guide your journey to the cloud.
Step 1: Identify your goal
Before embarking upon a project, it is always prudent to ask the right questions. Why are you migrating to cloud? What problems do you expect to solve with this migration? How much time, money and resources can be dedicated to this project?
This exercise will help you arrive at your primary goal. If the process is not aimed at solving a problem or refining an existing system or process, then it may be a wasteful endeavor.
So, when you have answered all of the questions mentioned above, you will be ready to identify which applications need to be migrated to the cloud. Subsequently, you can begin to draw-out a detailed timeline for the migration and record the costs of the current setup and evaluate the expected cost of the new system.
Step 2: Test your systems before the transition
In order to migrate to the cloud, you must audit your current IT setup and test the applications that are going to be migrated. This will involve a detailed assessment of:
- Your current IT environment, existing software versions and associated servers
- Checking whether the software licenses are up-to-date and compliant
- Evaluating the storage and database requirements of the applications
Another important assessment is that of the costs associated with your applications. You must also identify and finalize the CPU, storage, memory (RAM) and network parameters at this stage itself. Lastly, you must recognize which application deployment model will be best suited to your requirement- whether it will be Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or Platform as a service (PaaS).
Step 3: Choose the right cloud provider
This is one of the most crucial steps while migrating to cloud. Choosing the right cloud provider involves going over your basic requirements, budget limitations, and technical parameters. In order to arrive at the correct partner, it is important to assess their past projects and associations. Moreover, it is of utmost importance to submit a detailed list of specifications regarding your software and applications and look for partners that will deliver services that are best suited to your needs. You must also consider a solid SLA and look for good customer service and regular, quick feedback. The following graphic denotes the leading public cloud service providers:
Step 4: Prepare a checklist for the deployment stage
After choosing your cloud provider, we move on to prepare a checklist of well-defined tasks and responsibilities associated with the migration process. This will involve verifying the availability of all required hardware and software, configuring to suit your applications and launching the required IT infrastructure. The expected transfer time must be considered, and the database backup and application code must be included in this stage. The proposed plan must be time-bound, realistic and have enough people in-charge of all the different tasks.
Step 5: Backup and Testing
Apart from the flow of tasks mentioned above, there are a couple of tasks that should not be missed. It is essential to backup your current production environment and restore it onto the cloud. Secondly, you must remember to notify customers or users about the expected downtime due to the migration process. Lastly, it will be advisable to conduct a testing process at the beginning of deployment to cloud. During this period, you must test your application expertly, fix any bugs or defects and only then release it to the end-users.