While the need for digital transformation is driving businesses to seek the many advantages of cloud technology, migration to the cloud is a process that needs to be carefully planned and managed. In this post, we look at some of the key steps a company will need to take to ensure that cloud migration goes smoothly and that potential pitfalls are avoided.
Cloud migration – opportunities and challenges
Cloud migration provides lots of advantages for businesses, including slashing cap-ex expenditure on infrastructure, improving scalability, providing high availability and giving companies access to technologies like automation, AI, machine learning, big data analytics and the IoT. At the same time, there are various challenges. Applications will need to be tested in new environments, data will need to be moved securely, and critical services will need to be maintained during the migration to ensure they stay online.
Key steps to a better cloud migration
- Have a well-planned migration strategy
There are lots of things to be considered when migrating to the cloud and it’s important to create a strategy for how to proceed. You need to consider which of your services you want to migrate, the order in which you might want to migrate them, the costs or potential savings involved, the IT expertise you will need and the steps that are involved in each of these.
At the same time, you will need to think carefully about the kind of IT infrastructure you want to end up with. Will you move to a public or private cloud or create a hybrid cloud, with some of your services perhaps still based on-site? Will you go with a single vendor or opt for a multi-cloud approach? And what kind of cloud services will you need: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service or Software as a Service?
All these options need to be considered so that your business ends up with the most appropriate environment for your current and future needs.
- Review your current infrastructure
Before migrating, it is vitally important to have a thorough overview of how your current system works, including analysing how its different elements depend on each other. Only this way can you replicate it successfully in the cloud and avoid things failing to work after the move has taken place.
- Cleanse data before the move
The cloud offers significant opportunities to analyse data and makes its management easier and more secure. It enables you to dismantle departmental silos and create better-structured centralised storage with privileged-based access control. However, the more data you migrate, the greater your costs will be. You can improve the quality of your data and reduce cloud costs by cleansing obsolete or unnecessarily duplicated data before you migrate.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page
Experience shows that many of the problems that occur during and after migration are down to poor communication. Everyone affected by the migration needs to be informed of what is taking place and when, and each team needs to know clearly what they and the other teams are doing. This includes not just the IT teams working on the move but other departments too. In this way, everything is done in the right order, work isn’t duplicated, and everyone knows when any disruption will happen.
- Plan to avoid app disruption
As a business, you will need to carry on with your day-to-day operations during the migration process and will need to create plans to avoid disruption. This may require you to use staging servers during the process so that the migration can be isolated from current workloads and so that data can be transferred with minimal disruption once an application migration has been completed.
- Check cloud server configuration
When migrating, you are taking your application to a new environment, and you will need to check that it will work successfully. This means you will need to consider how your servers need to be configured in the cloud.
- Test thoroughly
Thorough and detailed testing should be a key part of your migration strategy. Before going live, it is vital that you comprehensively check every part of your newly migrated system to ensure it works as planned. Not until everything has been given the green light should the changeover from on-site to cloud operations go ahead.
- Be prepared for problems
Hopefully, if you have put all your plans into action, your migration will go ahead smoothly. However, you always need to be prepared for what could happen if something goes amiss. Make sure you have a backup solution and recovery strategy in place, and in the short term, keep your on-site system operating just in case you need to switch back while you resolve any issues. This way, if problems do occur, you can minimise any disruption or downtime.
Migrating to the cloud can significantly reduce IT capital expenditure and help companies take advantage of digital technologies. By following the steps above, businesses will be able to ensure that when migrating, the move goes smoothly and that issues are avoided. For information about eukhost cloud services, visit our Cloud Hosting page.