The definitive checklist for migration to the cloud

Cloud migration is a delicate process that a lot of organisations go through. Which makes it even more surprising when it isn’t done correctly. Especially without using a checklist or guide for help…

 

Transferring your data, applications, and processes to cloud-based technology is a choice that will inevitably bring efficiency to your business. However, it can be a transition where certain features that make your business tick could be lost or compromised.

 

Whenever we undertake a project to migrate businesses from physical to virtual servers, we go through a thorough 3 step process.

 

That process is to analyse, develop and support.

 

At the first stage, we make sure the client knows why they are migrating and what they need to think about before starting any migration development.

That’s why we have devised a short checklist to advise clients when deciding what services need to be included.

1. Determine your cloud strategy

 

Many businesses like the idea of the cloud but aren’t actually sure of its purpose and what it will actually bring to their organisation.

 

A great place to start is to outline what you want cloud services to achieve.

– Efficiency? Are your processes too slow?
– Storage? Do you need more space?
– Remote access? Are employees losing out?

 

An easy way to figure this out is to capture the baseline metrics of your IT infrastructure already, by identifying what assets and applications have the most demanding workloads.

From these workloads you can identify their KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and measure them. Some of these might be…

– Page load times
– Response times
– Availability
– CPU usage
– Memory usage
– Conversion rates

 

Typically, these metrics influence a lot of categories across a standard work network. Usually things like engagement, infrastructure, and application performance.

Figure what they are and you can start to build an idea of where more emphasis needs to go on your cloud network.

2. Decide what needs to migrate

 

Believe it or not, not every application needs to be hosted in the cloud.

 

Sometimes it makes more sense to have specific applications and databases to remain locally. These can then be backed up in datacenters or to other physical locations.

In some instances, data might not be allowed to leave a local network. Or an application cannot run on traditional hardware and requires application specific technology. These are two examples of not needing to be cloud hosted.

Talk at length with your team and see whether all your information needs to be cloud-hosted, as it could save you time and money in the long run.

3. Create a data migration plan

 

After you’ve gone through the first two steps, you need to evaluate how you want to move each asset to the cloud.

It’s important to consider this as you need to know how to maintain data integrity and continue operations when doing so. Can your business still operate with limited resources? Or is there a way processes can be hosted on a different server temporarily?

This is usually a step that your IT service will take care of, but they could ask for your compliance when working it out.

4. Securing the right cloud provider

 

One of the most important steps will be to research the cloud provider you are going to potentially go with.

Again, your IT service company will advise and have their preferences on which is best, but it is always encouraged to investigate which companies will be appropriate for your organisation.

A good place to begin is to propose a few questions against your business, and what is required?

– What is the cloud providers level of experience?

– Can it support public, private and multi-cloud environments at any scale?

– What level of support do they provide to technicians or an external IT team?

 

We are advocates of Microsoft and currently hold silver partnership status with them. That’s why we would recommend going with a Microsoft Azure server for a cloud-based service.

5. Begin your migration!

 

The final step is always the easiest… right?

Well if you have followed this list and planned your journey then it should be. We do advise getting as much information and tips as you can from your chosen cloud provider, as well as liaising with an external IT services company.

Before you do begin your migration, it is always encouraged to run a test using a specific application and see the result. You can then adopt this approach for a more piecemeal process, slowly moving assets and information over.

 

Next steps?

 

If you are considering moving to the cloud and need advice then we are always on hand to help. Give us a call on 02920 887 362 or send us an email us at info@excellence-it.co.uk

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