Moving from On Premise to Cloud is a strategic decision and needs a long-term vision for an organization. It will require a change in mindset of employees of an organization besides putting investment of money. It looks simple in concept but practically it changes day to day working of an organization. Company needs to transition all existing hardware, software, networking and operations into a different environment.

Migration journey often starts with a desire to save cost or to become cloud native to showcase the external world. Migration approach can be divided in 4 phases namely: Consolidation of Details, Migration Planning, Migration Execution and Migration Optimization.

 

Consolidation of Details

First Phase is the Detailing phase. In this phase upcoming cloud partners prepare documents of the entire Data Center footprint by having a discussion with the Organization Data Centre team. This document includes existing details of the data center namely – OS and hardware details, applications installed, various storage Details, network details, day to day operation details, maintenance & patching details, license details, asset details etc. So basically, the objective of this exercise is to obtain a detailed view of all relevant assets of the current Data Centre.
Additionally during this detailing phase, cross functional discussions among all business units should be started. This is required to align and apprise all important stakeholders for upcoming future changes and prepare them accordingly.

 

Migration Planning

All details gathered in the detailing phase are leveraged to create a detailed migration plan. Migration may have multiple waves in itself with each wave migrating some part of it. As a best practice, we should target non-production waves to migrate first. Few important key points worth considering are shown in Diagram below:

- Current Server details like computing, storage, virtualization mapping to cloud. First Phase of Migration can be started keeping all stats the same as in the datacenter. - Multiple waves can be planned as per need. It can be planned by Production / Non production waves. - Sufficient time for testing should be planned post deployment of infrastructure. - The applications with less dependencies should be migrated first as best practice. - As a best practice, organizations should target simple & predictable migrations first to gain confidence.

Organization also needs to plan the future state of the IT organization. It includes providing necessary training to staff so that they can be allocated to work in a cloud environment.

 

Migration Execution

This phase is basically executing the plans prepared in the migration planning phase. During this phase, organizations need to keep track of exact steps and configurations they do. Reason is the same steps will be repeated for production and non-production waves.
In the migration execution phase, organizations create all required infrastructure components as required for applications to run successfully. They need to ensure that all required components are configured similar to the existing datacenter. Execution also includes testing the applications on the infrastructure configurations, ensuring that applications are having required access to databases and other dependent softwares. Apart from proper functioning of the application, the organization also needs to test the performance of the application.

Success of the execution phase depends on aggressive testing, debugging and closure of defects. Multiple iterations should be used to ensure that the application is working properly on new infrastructure.

 

Migration Optimization

The last stage is migration optimization. After application migration, multiple periodic reviews should be done and optimization activities should be planned. Following optimization activities are shown in below Diagram:

 

- Review Computing Power and Storage – To further save costs or performance improvement. - More and more automation activities should be planned to reduce operational overhead.

Post migration and periodic review, one will have better visibility on resource consumption and cost. Over a period of time, better plans can be selected for compute resources, storage and virtual machines as per the need.

 

Conclusion

Performing data center migration is a big task but following the above mentioned strategy, the complete process can be broken down in multiple small phases which makes the overall process simple. Some key takeaways are shown in below Diagram:

 

1. Be more agile in approach: As multiple things move together, keep agility in approach. 2. Take easy part first: Keeping simple things ahead in line will boost the confidence of the team and thus success chances. 3. More Communication: Communication is key for success of any project, same applies here as well. Keeping involved and informing all stakeholders is the most important amongst all. It includes employees, external users, clients, vendors etc. 4. Learning cloud within Team: Establish a process so that employees involved start learning the nitty/ gritty of cloud computing which will help the organization in the long run.