If you are part of today’s business world, then by now at least one of your workloads would be running in the cloud. Lurked by the reliability, scalability and high availability characteristics the Dive to cloud is almost instantaneous. However, the drive on the transformation road can turn into a bumpy ride very easily if adequate circumspection is not done in time.
Having worked on multiple engagements and successfully completing the migration journey for various customers with a high customer satisfaction index, I have also seen cases where inadequate due diligence led to a fragmented migration with millions unaccounted for. Thoughtful planning and having best practices in place would benefit not only in saved time and costs but would ensure that the desired ROI is also achieved.
The overall transformation journey can be broadly divided into three phases: Pre-migration, migration, and post-migration. Certain best practices given due consideration in each phase would help in a faster, hassle-free and smoother implementation:
- Perform due diligence: by identifying current challenges, ROI, assets, performance expectations for on-prem infrastructure by conducting a portfolio assessment exercise to come up with cloud strategy and roadmap. Unless this is done correctly the first time, nothing would fall in place ahead.
- Outline and strategize the Cloud Operating Model: Identifying the migration strategy, governance, roles and responsibilities, processes, and reference architecture by setting up a Central cloud COE.
- Develop an Agile way of working: Reduce time to market and bring in more agility within the overall process from start till production. Implementation design for Agile and DevOps for Continuous Integration and Deployment should be strategized.
- Team Technical expertise: Assessing the technical expertise of the team to be on-boarded. Upskilling and training the team on the decided cloud platform.
- Understand the licensing and migration cost: Evaluate the existing licenses in use for cost. Check with cloud vendor for their BYOL policies, the total cost of consumption for target infrastructure to be calculated and taken into account.
- Check all pre-requisites: Check for cloud subscriptions, IAM roles, access, and direct connection. Target landing zone design should be in place.
- Adherence to Organizational security requirements: Any data compliance standards like GDPR, HIPPA, PCI-DSS to be followed to ensure data is handled according to the standards, laws, and regulations defined by the organization’s industry, geographical location, business processes and/or the nature of the data itself.
- Assess the applications for interdependency: A detailed level assessment for the interdependency of application and databases should be carried out so that dependent apps/DBs can be planned to be migrated together.
- Start simple and small: A big bang migration approach with all streams starting in parallel may lead to quick bottlenecks. Instead, perform a Proof of concept (POC) for simple and less complex low hanging fruits (apps) first.
- Validate the network design: The target landing zone should adhere to customer requirements for scaling, availability, and performance.
- Check for integration failures: Inadequate information on the integration of applications, Complexity, and criticality is not defined for the applications to be integrated will lead to issues at the time of application integrations. Ensure the appropriate test strategy is in place.
- Automate where possible: To achieve cloud agility, use automation tools and scripts for repetitive tasks and resources by revisiting existing processes and establishing new ones through automation. The creation of blueprints or golden images would also help significantly.
- Test apps after migration: Validate the application in the Cloud environment after they are migrated from on-prem setup to Cloud.
- Adequate Regression Testing: Regression test scenarios to be identified appropriately while applications should be taken through a proper regression of approved test scenarios
- Rollback strategy in place: In case of unidentified app dependencies like orphan users or performance issues migration can be rolled back, thus complete migration rollback strategy should be in place.
- Monitor the applications: Post-migration monitors the applications for performance and benchmarking.
- Monitor the cloud consumption cost: Monitor cloud usage to keep cloud costs within budget. Setting up a centralized dashboard that identifies running instances across different cloud services would give a consolidated view to business.
- Decommission old infrastructure: Sunset the infrastructure which is out of support. After the resources are migrated from on-prem to Cloud environment, the connection to components should be stopped and old infrastructures like servers should be decommissioned
- Monitor the network for any unauthorized usage or security breach: Monitoring for compliance and security by collecting logs from apps, systems, databases, and network touchpoints to ensure information security requirements are being met.
- Validate all data is successfully migrated from on-prem to the cloud: No loss of data during compression or migration. DBAs to perform DB monitoring and publish reports
Don’t Worry, you made the right choice !!
Cloud migrations can be a long and tedious journey unless its planned, managed and executed judiciously. Industry accepted tools can accelerate the assessment, analysis and migration process, but what to use, when to use and how to use comes only from experience of an expert cloud migration engineer. Tools clubbed with proficient SMEs with their knowledge collected by tried and tested methods and best practices, together will only yield fruitful results.