Successful Cloud migration helps companies through their digital transformation journey as it provides adequate services for businesses’ growing needs. Commonly, “cloud migration” describes the move from on-premises or legacy infrastructure to the cloud. The term can also apply when migrating from one cloud to another cloud.
Moving data to the cloud requires preparation and planning in deciding on an approach.
This article talks about building a 10-step checklist to consider and address a successful cloud migration.
Define the migration-architect role:
Before initiating the cloud migration process, you need to establish the migration architect’s role to lead the process. The migration architect is a system architect-level person responsible for planning and completing all aspects of the migration. The core responsibility of a best cloud migration architect include:
- Defining refactoring necessary to make the migration successful,
- Designing strategies for data migration,
- Defining cloud-solution requirements,
- Determining migration priorities and production switchover mechanisms.
The migration architect is responsible for making many decisions and technical plans to ensure the project’s success.
Choose your cloud integration level:
There are two ways to migrate your application from an on-premise data center to the cloud:
- Shallow Cloud Integration
- Deep Cloud Integration
For a shallow cloud integration, the on-premise application is moved to the cloud, and no or little changes are made to the servers you instantiate in the cloud to run the application. The changes are just enough to get the application to run in the new environment.
For a deep cloud integration, the application is modified during the migration process to take advantage of crucial cloud capabilities. This can involve auto-scaling, dynamic load balancing, or utilizing serverless computing capabilities such as AWS Lambda for portions of the application.
Choose a single cloud or multi-cloud:
Before beginning your cloud migration process, you need to determine whether you want to go with a single cloud provider and move your application in a way that it is optimized for that single platform, or do you want your application to run on multiple cheap cloud providers?
Optimizing your application to work with a single cloud provider is quite simple as the team has only one set of cloud APIs to learn. But there is a downside to it as well – vendor lock-in. Working with only one provider makes moving the application to a different provider is challenging.
Having a single cloud provider negatively affects your ability to negotiate SLAs and pricing.
Build your applications to run on multiple cloud providers. With this strategy, you could run your application simultaneously on multiple providers or split your application load across them. This model allows you the ultimate flexibility in vendor negotiations because you can quickly shift loads from one cloud provider to another.
Establish cloud migration KPIs:
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that you observe about your application or service to measure how it is performing against your expectations. The most suitable KPIs for a cloud operations process show how your in-progress migration is doing, highlighting visible or invisible problems that may be lurking within your application.
Some of these notable KPIs include:
- User experience
- Response time
- Session duration
- Application/component performance
- Error rates
- Disk performance
- Memory usage
- Network throughput
- Conversions and conversion percent
- Engagement rates
Establish performance baselines:
Baselining measures your application or service’s current (pre-migration) performance to determine if its future (post-migration) performance is satisfactory. Baselines help you ensure when the migration process is complete and validate the post-migration performance improvements you expect. Baselines also help you diagnose any problems that can arise during successful cloud migration.
Define a baseline metric for every KPI that you’ve decided to measure. Establish how long you will collect data to define the baseline.
Choosing a short baseline period lets you move faster.
But you risk not collecting a representative performance sample. Selecting a more extended period to baseline obviously takes more time but can provide more representative data.
Perform requisite refactoring:
Refactoring involves doing other work on your applications and services before migrating them, so they work as effectively and productively in the cloud as possible. Some examples of this including you refactoring your application to ensure:
- It works efficiently with multiple numbers of running instances to allow dynamic scaling, potentially saving money on costs
- Your resource utilization can better benefit from dynamic-cloud capabilities, such as the ability to allocate and de-allocate resources as required, rather than you statically giving them before time.
Map a data-migration plan:
Migrating data is one of the most challenging parts of a cloud migration process. The location of your data can fundamentally impact your application’s performance and output. Migrating your data to the cloud when the data-access methods are still mainly on-premises can impact performance. The performance is also affected if the data is still on-premise but the service accessing it is in the cloud.
When and how do you switch over the production system from the legacy on-premise solution to the new cloud version? The answer depends on your application’s complexity and architecture, especially the architecture of your data and datastores.
There are two common approaches:
- Do it all in one go. You can wait until you’ve migrated the entire application or service to the cloud and confirmed that it works there, and then change traffic from the on-premise stack to the cloud stack.
- Do it a little bit over time. Move a few customers over, then test that things are still running, and then transfer a few more customers. Resume this process until you’ve moved all your customers to the cloud-based application.
The eight steps in this checklist cover a lot of ground, but you should consider other things during your cloud migration process. Creating a secure cloud environment, for example, is a significant part of any cloud migration services. The major cloud providers offer significant tooling and support to help you build and maintain a secure system.