In the age of ubiquitous digitalization, businesses must exploit to the full all possible advancements in the IT realm. Being aware of this universal truth, companies having big-time aspirations intensely employ CRM, ERP, and other technologies and tools to streamline their workflow and establish a strong rapport with their target audience. One of the practical measures that can significantly enhance the efficiency of any commercial organization’s performance is moving the entire databank from the on-premise facilities to the cloud, known as migration to cloud.  In this article, you will learn about the most critical steps of any cloud migration project plan.

Being an experienced cloud migrator, DICEUS is aware of the complexity of the task, where success primarily depends on the meticulous and well-weighed cloud migration strategy. We offer a step-by-step cloud migration checklist that will help you map out and see-through data relocation of any scope and kind, be it an on-premise to cloud migration or cloud to cloud migration. 

Data migration project plan template 

As cloud migration experts claim, every third cloud hydration fails because of the poor migration strategy. That is why an elaborate cloud migration project plan containing a sequence of essential steps is a sine qua non for endeavors like that. 

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Step 1. Define reasons for migration 

Cloud migration strategies should start with realizing of why you are doing this. The answer like “everybody migrates, so why shouldn’t we” won’t do. You must envisage specific gains your business is going to achieve by the migration strategy and implementation approach, like cost reduction, utilizing real-time data and analytics, availability of new features, improved scalability, etc. 

The business case for hydrating the cloud shouldn’t be a siloed project developed by the IT department. Since it is going to affect the functioning of the whole company and not just the tech personnel, it should be aligned with the major objectives and policies of the enterprise. Moreover, the goals set will largely condition the later choices related to the provider, platform, resources, apps, and the like. 

Step 2. Collect a migration crew 

Migration is a complex process that presupposes teamwork. Make sure the team includes a project manager, a business analyst, an infrastructure/application specialist, a security expert, and a migration architect. The latter is a key figure on the roster, which is typically an architect of a system-level vested with all powers to plan and complete the project. (S)he is ultimately responsible for determining the scope of refactoring necessary to accomplish the procedure, outlining cloud strategy template, delineating cloud solution requirements, defining migration priorities, and providing switchover mechanisms. 

Step 3. Take stock of your current standing 

Before trying to move anything, you must know what there is to move. You must build a complete inventory of all existing infrastructure, environment, hardware, servers, database, and software. This inventory shouldn’t be a simple list of resources, but rather a dependency map with all interconnections of the elements exposed and integrations explicated. 

Pay special attention to apps. Some of them may not suit the cloud environment. Others extensively draw upon other services to collect information or react to requests. Being this tricky, they can turn out too costly or unwieldy to maintain in the cloud.  

Step 4. Assess your budget 

Cloud migration is a big-ticket venture, so you should make sure your funds will suffice to carry the commitment through. While developing a financial migration plan, you should realize what the expenditure items are going to be. These conventionally include payments for data storage, processing power, security maintenance, testing and monitoring tools, and cloud migrator services. 

Step 5. Choose cloud integration depth for apps 

Application migration to cloud checklist has to include the choice between shallow and deep cloud integration. While opting for the former (aka lift-and-shift approach), you make close to no changes in an application to let them fit into the cloud environment. The deep integration presupposes major alterations to the app structure, enabling them to make the most of cloud capabilities or utilize cloud-specific data.  

Another important item on the application migration checklist is the model for migration. If the legacy app is packaged, you can move it to Software as a Service (SaaS). But if it isn’t, you should consider Platform as a Service (PaaS), Function as a Service (FaaS), Container as a Service (CaaS), or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for migrating the app to the cloud. Or it could be a combination of those models. 

Step 6. Decide on the cloud type 

Basically, you have to determine whether you will want to deal with a single or multi-cloud. A single cloud is simpler in terms of legacy software and data optimization but it will keep your resources chained to one provider only. Besides, you will hardly be able to negotiate terms (most importantly, pricing) with them. And if you decide to change the provider, another migration headache is imminent.  

The multiple-cloud model is more flexible since it allows you to put your eggs into various baskets and adapt the software and apps to work across many environments. Moreover, you can easily migrate from cloud to cloud, searching for the most suitable terms. Yet, this type spells more preliminary adjustment and preparation. 

Step 7. Select a vendor 

This is the key component of a cloud migration project plan that will ultimately condition all further steps. The most popular public cloud hosting platforms are AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. How to choose between them? Consider the parameters they offer, including the scope of services and pricing models. 

Today, more than 80% of companies embrace cooperation with several cloud providers, opting for multi- or hybrid-cloud schemes. But before adopting this approach, your migration architect must carefully inspect the nature of the data and software liable for migration to check whether a multi-cloud model will work for you.  

Step 8. Develop a migration roadmap 

At this stage, your migration crew should list the sequence of items depending on their priority and come up with a timeline for each task. An important component of this roadmap should be the roster of key performance indicators (KPIs) and performance baselines. These metrics will enable you to check whether the performance of the migrated software and apps is up to the mark and meets your expectations. 

Step 9. Back up the data 

Don’t relocate a single piece of data unless you have a copy of it stored in a safe and accessible place. In this way, you will make sure nothing is lost if something goes astray.  

Step 10. Initiate the migration 

The time for real action has come. As a rule, data migration follows the 5R algorithm. To put it simply, your data is extracted from the legacy system, transformed, and loaded to the new environment.  

When apps are concerned, experts recommend starting small and moving a couple of low-requirement applications with a small number of dependencies first. Then check how they run in the cloud. In case any issues arise, make corrections and adjustments not only to the moved item(s) but to other apps waiting to be migrated.  

Next should come a group of apps with strong interdependencies. If they work smoothly, you can proceed to move other components in accordance with your migration project plan. 

Step 11. Test it 

When all your data is loaded to the new environment, you must make sure everything functions a proper way, employing the KPIs determined at the pre-migration stage. To streamline testing, many cloud vendors provide analytics as a part of their service. Naturally, this process is rather time-consuming, but you don’t want to face problems while you eventually switch to production, do you?  

As you see, cloud migration is a complicated process. To accomplish it successfully, you must perform a preliminary analysis as to its cost efficiency and technical feasibility. A detailed cloud migration project plan, stepwise fulfillment, and rigorous monitoring ensure its ultimate triumph. However, such an outcome is guaranteed only if you address a team of competent cloud migration specialists with extensive experience in the domain. 

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