The cloud computing model has revolutionized how businesses think about their IT infrastructure. Organizations no longer need on-premises servers and storage drives to run business applications, such as databases, CRM software, and business management software. By moving to the cloud, organizations can save money, scale their applications, and offer more flexible employee working options.
Hopefully, it’s clear why organizations want to move to the cloud, but there are significant challenges that commonly act as barriers to cloud adoption. IT decision makers may worry about things such as moving complex workloads, possible data loss, and extended business downtime during migration. A 2018 survey of IT professionals found that 65% of respondents had experienced a delayed migration, and the main reason cited was concern about downtime.
Despite the difficulties, it’s still possible to successfully migrate to the cloud, especially with a good strategy in place. Here are my eight tips for building a seamless cloud migration strategy that will help your organization to get things right.
1. Fix Performance Issues Before Migration
Application performance issues aren’t likely to get better in the cloud, so it’s a good idea to fix performance issues before migration. The amount of memory your organization uses typically determines your cloud costs. Thus, an application that uses several system resources may be more costly in the cloud, making the potential migration decision more difficult.
2. Have a Cloud Training Program
Moving to the cloud without teaching employees how to access and use your cloud-based applications beforehand is a recipe for frustration. Companies also need to consider the costs of lost productivity that may result from insufficient employee training.
The last thing your IT department needs is to be inundated with post-migration support requests. This important period is when your IT teams need to spend time monitoring and checking everything works well, not helping employees log in to systems and access applications.
3. Start with a Small Workload
Starting out small is advisable because successfully migrating a small workload, such as the storage of non-essential data, can give you the confidence to progress to larger migrations. For example, rebuilding a critical business application to function as a cloud-native app might be too ambitious for a first migration attempt. Smaller steps can better guarantee initial success before moving on to greater successes.
4. Have Backups in Place
Cloud systems can fail, particularly just after going live in the cloud. To eliminate downtime, it helps to have backups in place. For example, you can use automated EBS snapshots of primary storage volumes in the AWS cloud in case something goes wrong. This way, critical apps and storage can be rapidly restored and provisioned in new cloud instances.
5. Implement Proper Role-Based Permissions
Cloud security is a key concern for all organizations performing a migration. Work from the outset to give users proper role-based access. Enforce the “least privileges” principle by only giving employees access to the data and apps that they need to work with.
6. Leverage Automation
You’ll begin to identify repeatable patterns as you migrate more apps and workloads. These repeatable patterns can be automated. Several cloud migration automation tools are on the market, which reduce the time it takes to migrate to the cloud. Furthermore, you can automate Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volume backups (and backups for other cloud storage services).
7. Consider “Cloud Bursting”
For organizations that don’t want to go all-in and migrate entire apps, cloud bursting is an excellent use case and a relatively straightforward migration option.
In this setup, you keep your on-premises infrastructure and deployment. However, you can provision additional resources in a public cloud, which can be used when your on-premises resources are in peak demand.
8. Champion the Multi-Cloud Approach
You don’t have to use a single cloud service provider. Adopt a multi-cloud strategy so that you choose the best provider for specific workloads and applications. The Google cloud might suit your big data needs best, but you might find that Amazon EBS and EC2 provide the best performance for database applications.
While a successful cloud migration can be a bit of a challenge, use these eight tips to give your organization the best chance of building and implementing a seamless cloud migration strategy. Remember that even though migration can be a daunting task, many organizations have successfully adopted cloud computing and never looked back.
Gilad is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Oracle, Zend, CheckPoint and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.