The cloud has become an established part of most organisations’ IT strategy. However, the example of early adopters shows that migration is not necessarily smooth – which is hardly a surprise given that the cloud represents a significant change in operating processes.
Here are nine things to consider that will make your transition easier.
1. Not everything belongs in the cloud
Almost all businesses currently operate a hybrid model, with some of their workloads migrated to the cloud and some retained on-premise. Why? Because some workloads are best kept locally.
If your business has decided to adopt a cloud-first strategy you need to be realistic – not everything should be migrated.
2. Audit everything
Before migrating anything, you need to know what you have. Carrying out a full audit of your operating environment and applications is essential. This will allow you to prioritise workloads for migration – and identify the technical challenges involved in ‘cloudifying’ them.
Top tip – your cloud provider may have tools to make the auditing process easier.
3. Use technology wisely
Most businesses understand the power of disaster recovery tools and how they can be used to failover to a secondary location. But this also makes DR tools an excellent aid for cloud migration – even though the final transition is intended to be permanent.
Take a look at your current DR capabilities and check to see whether they could assist with your cloud migration project.
4. Leverage VMware portability
VMware virtual servers are intended to be portable by design. But the VMware suite of tools includes functionality designed to help transition to the cloud. Take VMware vCloud Extender which creates a Layer 2 VPN between your on-premise data centre and the cloud, allowing you to migrate workloads natively at your own pace – and to avoid downtime.
Alternatively, you can build new VMs or take advantage of export/import functionality offered by your service provider if preferred.
5. Plan for physical workloads
Perhaps the biggest challenge you face is migrating physical workloads. Remember, not all workloads belong in the cloud, so it may be that you decide to retain at least some physical servers locally.
For others, cloud migration offers an opportunity to virtualise servers and realise all the benefits of the technology across the rest of your estate.
6. How to transfer data sets?
Data storage is a constant headache, which is why the challenge of moving datasets to the cloud is one of the first challenges you will encounter. Seeding – shipping physical disks containing a point-in-time backup – is an obvious solution, but it tends to be costly, inefficient and not entirely free from error.
In some cases, a combination of seeding and DR provisioning may offer a better solution for getting your data into the cloud and reducing errors during the transfer.
7. Calculate your bandwidth requirements
In most cases, your current bandwidth will be sufficient for day-to-day cloud operations. But it never hurts to check whether you have enough speed and availability to make the most of the new operating model.
8. Consider ongoing management needs
Once your workloads are in the cloud, how will you manage them? What tools are supplied by your vendor? What else would help? Do your team need additional training before go-live?
Make sure you know how you will measure and report on your KPIs – and control cloud spending. And don’t forget to examine the support options available from potential cloud suppliers – you will undoubtedly require their help at some point in the future.
9. Build a partnership
Cloud migration is often a step into the unknown – so it makes sense to get help to avoid common mistakes. Work with potential cloud providers to understand your needs and how they can help. Building a strong relationship early in the project will open new opportunities to improve your cloud operations once the move has been completed.
Ready to learn more?
To discover more about smooth cloud migrations and how your business can avoid costly pitfalls, please give the WTL team a call today.