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11 Steps to Successful Cloud Migration - A Practical Guide

Gursimran Singh | 31 May 2022


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Cloud has become the new normal after COVID-19; many businesses came on board to use its potential and improve their customer experience.

Xenonstack helps businesses migrate to the cloud and provide best practices for modernizing their applications.Migrating your IT infrastructure to the cloud takes a disciplined approach with a thorough plan. Here are 11 steps that we swear by for successful cloud migration.  

  • Step 1: Establish the Cloud migration Architect Role.
  • Step 2 - Assess your Organization's Readiness 
  • Step 3 - Estimate the costs and ROI
  • Step 4 - Analyse the Complexity of your Data and Applications
  • Step 5 - Choose the Right Cloud Vendor 
  • Step 6 - Develop a Cloud Migration Strategy
  • Step 7 - Select the right solution partner
  • Step 8 - Prepare for the Move 
  • Step 10 - Production SwitchOver
  • Step 11 - On-demand Scalability and Cost Optimizations

Step 1 - Establish the Cloud migration Architect Role.

Before beginning with the cloud migration, your organization must have a Cloud Migration Architect Role who will lead the entire migration process - from pre-migration planning to post-migration monitoring and optimization.  

During the entire process of a large-scale migration project, the migration architect will be responsible for critical decision-making and technical planning and designing. Thus, it is essential to establish such a role within your organization to ensure your migration project's success.

Some of the significant responsibilities of the migration architect would involve:

  • Analyzing the organization's readiness and migration complexity
  • Designing the migration strategy
  • Defining the solution requirements
  • Prioritizing the applications and data for migration
  • Determining the mechanism for production switchover

Step 2 - Assess your Organization's Readiness 

The next step in your cloud migration journey is checking for your organization's readiness. This includes the IT framework and the business process and structures. Some of the questions you should be asking are:- 

  • What is the aim of cloud migration? 
  • Which applications should we be moving to the cloud? 
  • Why do some applications need to be migrated?
  • Is there any data that must not be migrated for regulatory and legal reasons? 
  • Would the migration of these applications impact data security, disaster recovery, governance, and accessibility?
  • What resources are required for the migration, and do we have them? 
  • Do we have enough capital and resources to migrate?
  • How do we ensure compatibility between our on-premise and cloud deployments? 

With this assessment, enterprises can understand the existing infrastructure and organization's capabilities and get insights into leveraging the best practices for security, automation, and scalability of cloud infrastructure with the right resources.

Step 3 - Estimate the costs and ROI

The decision to embark on a cloud migration journey heavily relies on the rigorous analysis of Cost and Return of Investment (ROI).

  • Assess the costs of your current IT infrastructure and applications to have a baseline for comparison
  • Use Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculators to forecast your cloud solutions' costs and compare them to the current state.
  • Gather data about your business case's potential ROI on the cloud infrastructure.
  • Few cost drivers that are necessary to be considered during the estimation and analysis are:
    • Capital Expenses
    • Design and Deployment
    • Ongoing Infrastructure Maintenance
    • Operating Expenses
    • Training and Support

Step 4 - Analyse the Complexity of your Data and Applications

This is a critical analysis for the success of your cloud migration project. This analysis will help you prioritize your applications and data for the migration project. 

Remember, "Applications having more dependencies are the most difficult ones to migrate and shall be considered for migration in later phases."

  • Get detailed data on your requirements through a focused assessment process.
  • Understand the interconnection and intercommunication among your applications 
  • Analyze the multi-tier dependencies and map your applications accordingly.
  • Get clear visibility into the entire working, communication, and dependencies between your applications and data.

Step 5 - Choose the Right Cloud Vendor 

Some of the potential cloud vendors that can be considered for your migration onto the cloud include:

While evaluating the possible alternatives while choosing your right cloud vendor, consider the below factors:

  • Your Workforce 
  • Security and Compliance Needs
  • Cost 
  • Scalability Requirements
  • Service Level Agreement 
  • Support and Maintenance

All of the above factors need to be considered and analyzed before making the final decision. 

For each cloud mentioned above, vendors also have strategies for successful cloud migration on their respective platforms. 

Step 6 - Develop a Cloud Migration Strategy 

Now that you have finished the required steps and decided on a cloud vendor after considering your business, cost, and other factors, let's start putting the strategy in place. Gartner pointed out one mistake that many organizations make is to confuse cloud strategy with a cloud implementation plan. So what does cloud migration strategy entail?

  • Prioritize the application that needs to be migrated
  • Identify the right service provider 
  • Decide on the Timelines

Formulating the strategy with a service provider or partner can accelerate the migration process and align you with a plan to enhance your business benefits. 

When it comes to strategy development, you will also need to choose between Public, Private, Hybrid, or Multi-Cloud. 

Know the Difference : Multi vs Hybrid vs Hybrid Multi-Cloud vs. Private Cloud 

Step 7 - Select the right solution partner 

Most of the time, organizations find it difficult or overwhelming to manage migration internally; choosing the right partner can ease the journey. This collaboration allows service providers to be responsible for structuring an end-to-end cloud migration journey, i.e., assisting you with an assessment to complete execution and support. Some factors that you should consider inevitably are: 

  • Business Objectives and Requirements
  • Provider's Experience and Expertise 
  • Provision of clear and responsive SLAs
  • Adherence to the responsibility of security and integrity
  • Pricing Structure and details 
  • Level of availability and support 

Step 8 - Prepare for the Move 

Your strategy is in place! But the big question is whether your team is ready to use the technology? Do they need any training? The focus should be on the change management required for your employees, like reskilling or upskilling. Next would be to put together an adequately trained team in the cloud environment, revisit their responsibilities, and enable seamless Cloud transition. 

Step 9 - Establish KPIs for the Cloud

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators used to gather metrics about your applications to help you measure the performance of your applications as per your expectations.

  • Analyze the existing KPIs of your applications and services, and identify if they are still suitable once your applications are migrated to the cloud
  • Define the best possible KPIs for your cloud migration project and gain detailed insights into your migration process and the problems that might be lurking during the process.

Cloud Migration KPIs help you determine the completion and success of your migration. 

Step 10 - Production SwitchOver

Once you are ready with everything in place, follow one of the below listed approaches and switch from your legacy on-premises application version to the brand new cloud version:

  • Move the entire application and tech stack to the cloud, validate the working and switch the existing traffic from your on-premises environment to the cloud.
  • Move your customers gradually and test the working at every move. And continue the process till all your customers have been successfully moved to the cloud-based applications.

The choice of your approach entirely depends upon the architecture and complexity of the applications and services. 

Step 11 - On-demand Scalability and Cost Optimizations

Once you are on with your migration process, you can focus on potential savings with your selected cloud vendor's most cost-effective offers. Just migrate all your workloads confidently with the recommended best practices, guidelines, and tools available for cost optimization. Experience the increase in agility by taking the most out of the cloud capabilities and scaling your workloads on-demand as per your business requirements. 

What's Next?

After carefully following all the steps mentioned above, final execution would be relatively easy. Your migration process will ultimately depend on your applications, data architecture, and complexity. You can move your entire application, test its working, and then switch entirely to the cloud, or choose to move your customers gradually, validate your migration, and continue the process till every customer has been moved onto the cloud. 


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