Cloud migration
Iryna Kravchenko Iryna KravchenkoChief Editor

Project plan for cloud migration: Key steps on the road to success

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 the cloud.  In this article, you will learn about the essence of cloud migration, understand the boons of hydrating the cloud, and discover the benefits and critical steps needed for creating a migration roadmap. But first, let’s get down to the basics. 

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What is cloud migration?

A cloud migration process involves transferring data, software, IT workloads, infrastructure, and other digital assets in separate phases from on-premises data centers and physical hardware to the virtual facilities offered by various cloud providers. Typically, such initiatives come as the core of a company’s cloud transformation strategy, which aims to move its business operations to the cloud environment.  

If an organization already relies on the cloud infrastructure in its pipeline routine, cloud migration means complete or partial software and data transfer from one cloud platform to another. In very rare cases, data migration can be the opposite procedure when online data is moved from its current environment in the cloud back to local servers. 

As a rule, this complex process involves not just simple relocation of virtual objects but also significant optimization and modernization of legacy systems, application architecture, and other IT elements to make them function efficiently in the new environment and address the organization’s business needs. When properly implemented, a successful cloud migration promises multiple benefits to companies that resort to it. 

Advantages of cloud migration

Organizations that have harnessed cloud computing report the following improvements in their shop floor activities.  

benefits of cloud transformation and migration

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benefits of cloud transformation and migration

To enjoy the impressive upsides of cloud computing, you should ensure a smooth and successful migration. And this is possible only if you choose the right cloud migration strategy based on your business objectives, with a comprehensive migration plan as a centerpiece. 

Benefits of creating a cloud migration plan

A well-thought-out cloud migration plan can guarantee a smooth transition from an on-premise ecosystem to the cloud because: 

You see that a robust roadmap for cloud migration is mission-critical. However, the question is how to create a successful cloud migration plan for enterprises across different industries.  

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.  

How to create a cloud migration plan

In its recent report, Gartner forecasts that by 2026, public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending. spending and infrastructure leaders will face challenges with public cloud cost overruns. That will negatively affect their on-premises expenditures. According to the report, one of the mistakes causing overruns is the wrong 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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11 steps on the road to success

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11 steps on the road to success

Step 1. Define reasons for migration

Cloud migration strategies should start with realizing 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 that 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, environments, hardware, servers, databases, 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. 

Read a related article: Cloud-based application development: Step-by-step guide

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 into 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 into the new environment, you must make sure everything functions in 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 when 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. 

DICEUS offers an entire scope of migration services (including database migration service, server migration service, application migration service, and more) that will allow your company to hydrate the cloud on a large scale and transfer the few apps and legacy systems you still keep on-premises to a modern, robust environment. Contact us to let your organization enjoy the power of the cloud. 


Why is it important to clearly define reasons for cloud migration? 

Although cloud computing is a game-changer in any contemporary IT-driven industry, you should realize what business goals you pursue by hydrating the cloud. By pinpointing specific reasons for migration (cost reduction, workflow optimization, enhancing customer experience, accessing real-time data analytics, etc.), you can streamline the choice of cloud provider, the selection of migration strategy, the allocation of resources, the establishment of deliverables, and make other mission-critical decisions related to the procedure. 

What skills and expertise are essential for a successful cloud migration team? 

The migration team should possess in-depth expertise and hands-on skills in such fields as cloud infrastructure, cloud security, cloud networking, data engineering, Agile development, and DevOps practices. Linux expertise is not a must but a welcome bonus. And, like any assignment in the IT realm, cloud migration can’t be successfully planned and implemented without the high-end analytical and project management skills of the personnel that handle it. 

How to conduct a thorough assessment of current IT infrastructure? 

While evaluating the current state of your IT ecosystem, you should determine your technical needs, collect relevant documentation, make a list of your IT assets, pinpoint infrastructure gaps, identify underperforming elements, figure out security vulnerabilities and compliance issues, outline analysis results, and offer recommendations as to possible improvements and amendments.  

What factors should be considered when planning a cloud migration budget? 

Factors that condition the size of the budget for cloud migration include data volume to be transferred, the cloud service provider, model, and list of services you are going to opt for, migration team fees, the cost of creating new infrastructure, and the necessity to re-write apps earmarked for cloud migration. Besides, you should make an allowance for post-migration costs that cover support and maintenance. 

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