Cloud migration is a critical step towards business digital transformation. It refers to the process of moving mission-critical operations from on-premises or legacy infrastructure to a virtual data center of a cloud provider or moving from one cloud to another. Additional scope items involve migrating your data, applications, databases, and IT processes to remote data centers.
Public cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and GCS are continuing to dominate the market. With the widespread adoption of mobile devices and flexible working practices, organizations are increasingly turning to the cloud seeking greater IT agility, scalability and business continuity.
The benefits of cloud-based IT are multiple, but the process of migrating a company’s IT systems to the cloud – while simultaneously ensuring ‘business as usual’ for staff, customers and the supply chain – is not without its challenges. Many organizations plan or have started to migrate workloads to the cloud, but underestimate how hard it can be to complete an infrastructure migration to the cloud without raising costs or degrading performance.
Microsoft Azure cloud migration can be a radical organizational change as it could impact many processes and employees. That’s why detailed preparation and a guide are so important. The first and the main thing you must do is develop your Azure cloud migration strategy. Here are some of the steps to follow when you have chosen the migration strategy.
Step One: Careful Planning Before Implementation
Understanding the scope of your migration is the first step of preparation. Moving all your IT systems to the cloud instantly may have strong appeal, but can be unrealistic. Not everything can or should be moved, and you will also need to consider the order of migration and impact on business and staff.
This is what the first step should look like – to synchronize and agree on where the company is now, where it should be going, and what steps it should take to get there. As a result, a list of strategic goals for moving to the cloud should be elaborated. Considering the unique needs of your organization IT will be critical to develop a plan that unlocks the benefits of the cloud without compromising security, daily business activities, existing legacy systems or wasting budget.
Step Two: Assess the Existing Components
Once you have compiled a catalog of products and features that will migrate to the cloud, you should evaluate them and see to what degree they are ready for the transition. Many applications and services are still not optimized for virtual environments, let alone the cloud. Utilizing an assessment service, such as Crossvale’s Azure Cloud Migration – Readiness Assessment to help build your transformation strategy will improve your plan and execution.
When determining the scale of your migration, it is helpful to categorize and prioritize your assets. You can then apply these categories to plan a timeline for movement. If possible, try to break your assets down into the following three categories:
(a) easy to move – includes newer applications, unregulated data, and self-contained backups or archives. These assets should not have many dependencies or licensing restrictions and should be able to move to the cloud as-is. These migrations are referred to as “Lift and Shift” and are the easiest to transfer to the cloud.
(b) requires work – includes legacy applications that need to be refactored, data which needs to be reformatted, and regulated data which must exist in specific geographic locations. This may also cover applications with heavy I/O direct data access, which may not be good candidates for migration.
(c) stays on premise – includes data under strict regulation or privacy concerns, legacy applications that you want to retire or re-architect, and mission-critical workloads that require on-premises accessibility.
Step Three: The Need for Short- and Long-Term Strategy
Mapping a cloud migration strategy against long, mid and short-term goals can be helpful. The long-term plan may be to move 80 percent of your applications and data storage to the cloud. However, in the short term you will need to consider how you will maintain accessibility and security of existing data, hardware, and applications while cloud migration takes place.
Third party suppliers can help maintain legacy systems and hardware during the transition to ease disruption and ensure business continuity.
Step Four: Establish Security Measures
As part of your migration to the cloud strategy, you need a security first posture to ensure your applications are only available and accessible to the desired audiences. Azure and other cloud providers have security and attack prevention mechanisms built into many components. These support your needs, but selecting and applying the correct policies and controls can be challenging. Before you push data and machines to production, you need to make sure that you have appropriate security measures in place. All access should be locked down to appropriate users through access, authentication, and permissions policies.
Additionally, encryption should be enabled for all systems and data, both at-rest and in-transit. This helps ensure that even if security measures are overlooked, your data remains protected. Azure Migrate allows you to perform test migrations while you are migrating applications to Azure. It simulates the migration by creating an Azure Virtual Machine using replicated data by migrating to a non-production Virtual Network (VNet) in your Azure subscription. You can use the replicated test Azure VM to validate the migration, perform app testing, and address any issues before full migration.
Microsoft has built a cloud ecosystem, which includes many free tools and services, to facilitate Azure cloud migration and management, with Azure Migrate being one of the most prominent and complete.
Choose the right cloud migration strategy that meets all your company’s needs and migrate to highly performed storage to modernize IT infrastructure with minimal effort.
Whether you are looking to maximize your cloud investment or are just starting to transform your business, Crossvale’s vast knowledge and passion for Cloud, Hybrid Infrastructure and Integration can power up your modernization journey.