3 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Cloud Migration

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An organisation evaluating a cloud migration has an ever-increasing number of things to consider.  In this post, we take a look at the first steps of any successful migration and walk through some of the most important questions to ask. 

The key factors you need to consider before starting on a cloud migration journey fall back to three simple W words – Why, What, Where?

#1 - Why are you moving to the cloud?

It might seem obvious that you need to know why you would be undertaking such a large investment as a cloud migration.  But like all things, the devil is in the detail – and ensuring that you spend enough time exploring the ‘why’ of a migration is essential.

For example, if the only reason for a cloud migration is an expectation of a cost-saving, then you are missing 90% of the value of a cloud migration strategy.

The following images are from AWS presentation on Cloud Migration and Adoption.

One way to get started is to undertake a Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA) this assessment is a structured way to dig into the motivations of a cloud migration and is best facilitated with as many different points of view involved.  Ensuring that stakeholders from technology and business as well as innovation and operations are present will create the greatest chance for success.

Once you’ve looked at and identified the true motivation(s) for the cloud migration, it is essential to have an aligned and consistent view across the organisation.

Many cloud migration activities fail or experience strong challenges, due to misalignment between senior stakeholders.  While a cloud migration might look like a technology project, it is, in fact, a whole of business transformation – and ensuring there is clear, regular and open collaboration between all senior stakeholders will be key to success.

The use of the MRA approach provides the talking point to ensure all dimensions of the migration are evaluated – and provides the base data required to start planning the actual activity.

#2 - What are you moving?

Once you’ve got an alignment on why you are moving to the cloud, it’s time to start looking at the workloads you have and how appropriate it will be to move them.

AWS provide a number of different infrastructure, platform and service options, and while there is as large a selection of solutions available in the cloud, not everything should just be moved as is.

Understanding the current state of your application portfolio is a critical aspect of any cloud migration.

Using tools like TSO logic or RISC are important to give you a view into the physical footprint of your current data center. With this information, you can start to look at the entirety of a like for like cost profile. This initial view is a great basis of understanding what the future cost of your workloads are, but only part of what should be considered when looking at the application portfolio.

Deeper consideration should be given to the current health, architectural status and business impact of each workload that is a candidate for migration.

Workloads that are currently a challenge to manage, constantly having issues due to capacity or environment consistency are great candidates for migration first.  It’s not that the cloud is any magic solution to these problems, but experience shows that spending time understanding the system enough to relocate it regularly uncovers some of the underlying stability pain points.

Conversely, systems that are near end of life and have plans to relocate may not have a sufficient return on investment for a migration activity, and by leaving these to later the systems may simply be able to be decommissioned where they are.

When reviewing the application portfolio it is also useful to consider the method of migration – look at the rate of change through this system, and if there is value to refactor this application to take advantage of auto-scaling and immutable infrastructure, or whether it is something a rehost strategy provides a better outcome.

Ensure you review each workload on its own as well as within the broader architecture is key to ensuring you strike the right balance between the appropriate migration method and workload priority.

#3 - Where are you moving it?

Now that you have a strong, supported, clear case for cloud migration and understand what you need to move, it’s time to get started…. Right?  Close, but not yet…

While AWS provides a number of awesome migration tools, like Cloud Endure, Server Migration Service, DMS or even VMC – to get cracking with the actual migration activity, the third step is critically important before actually jumping into the deep end.

Your future cloud platform is like any other structure. It needs to start with a solid foundation – and while a lot of building analogies don’t apply to software and the cloud, having a solid foundation is the exception that proves the rule. At least in this case.

A migration project is simply the activity of moving things from here to there.  Once they are there they need to be supported, updated and managed.  Consideration needs to be given upfront on how this platform is going to work. When establishing your cloud platform there are some decisions that are hard to reverse, and it’s worth getting these in as best shape as possible to start with.

Over years of customers using and building on the AWS platform, a number of best practices have emerged with respect to how you manage accounts, billing, connectivity, security and cost.  These patterns collected together are known as a Landing Zone.

Ensuring that you establish a solid Landing Zone before beginning any workload migration will ease the pain in the future of any rework or unforeseen operational challenges.

But wait, there’s more…

If you’ve read this far, you’ve covered the 3 key considerations before starting your cloud migration.

Once you have alignment on why you’re migrating, what you’re going to migrate and where it is all going to go it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll go about it.

Cevo are the cloud enablement experts, specialising in Cloud Migration, DevOps and Cloud-Native application development. If you are thinking of a cloud migration, or even in the middle of the transition, contact us today to see how experience can help accelerate your migration.