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Create a Cloud Strategy Roadmap for Successful Migration

Creating a Solid Cloud Strategy Roadmap: The Key to Successful Cloud Migration Migrating your business to the cloud can be daunting, but with proper planning […]

Creating a Solid Cloud Strategy Roadmap: The Key to Successful Cloud Migration

Migrating your business to the cloud can be daunting, but with proper planning it can also be transformative. Developing a thoughtful cloud strategy roadmap is essential for ensuring a smooth and successful transition. This roadmap acts as your guide, outlining objectives, steps, and timeframes to follow.

In this expanded post, we'll provide a comprehensive look at the key stages every business should incorporate when crafting a cloud migration roadmap. We'll also highlight some of the top applications and workloads that stand to benefit most from a move to the public cloud.

Create a Cloud Strategy Roadmap for Successful Migration

Create a Cloud Strategy Roadmap for Successful Migration

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Defining Your Cloud Migration Goals

The first critical step is getting alignment from all stakeholders on your overarching cloud migration goals. What exactly are you hoping to achieve by moving to the cloud? Increased business agility? Faster time-to-market? Greater data security and compliance? More flexible IT resource scaling? Cost optimization?

It's important to define 2-3 clear, measurable cloud migration goals that tie to concrete business outcomes. For example:

  • Reduce application development cycles by 25% through cloud-native tools
  • Cut overall IT infrastructure costs by 30% through right-sized cloud resources
  • Improve customer experience scores by 15% with faster cloud-hosted web apps

Get buy-in on these targets from both your IT team and executive leadership. Having clearly defined and agreed upon cloud migration goals will streamline decision-making as you map out the rest of your cloud roadmap. It will also help focus priorities and prevent scope creep.

Assessing Your Existing IT Landscape

Next, take a comprehensive inventory of your current on-premises or legacy infrastructure. Document each application, database, server, tool, and other digital assets. Capture details like:

  • Function and business criticality
  • Underlying technology
  • Interdependencies
  • Average usage and traffic
  • Physical location
  • Owners and key users

This inventory provides crucial context as you evaluate migration feasibility and priorities for each workload. You'll need a complete picture of your existing landscape before determining a cloud migration and modernization approach.

It's also helpful to classify workloads by type:

Customer-facing apps and sites: These external-facing systems often benefit greatly from cloud migration. The elasticity and global reach of cloud providers can improve performance, scalability, and uptime.

Internal business systems: ERPs, email, productivity software and other core business systems are prime targets for lift-and-shift migration to SaaS cloud versions (e.g. Office 365).

Data and databases: Centralizing data in cloud data warehouses and lakes makes access and analytics easier. Databases also gain higher availability and built-in backups.

Infrastructure: Migrating servers, storage, networks and other infrastructure to IaaS clouds cuts hardware costs and management overhead.

Development platforms: Cloud-native tooling supercharges developer productivity and collaboration.

IT management tools: Cloud management, monitoring and automation tools simplify IT ops.

Legacy apps: Older apps and workloads will likely require refactoring and cloud optimization to realize cloud benefits.

Analyzing workloads in this way clarifies which are "cloud ready" vs. those needing more migration groundwork.

Choosing Your Cloud Platform(s)

With goals defined and existing systems documented, now you can start evaluating potential cloud platforms and providers. The "big three" leaders are AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. But don't overlook specialized clouds like Salesforce's CRM cloud.

Key considerations when choosing cloud provider(s):

  • Required services: Do they offer all the cloud infrastructure, tools, and services you'll need now and in the future?
  • Global presence: Do they have data centers near your offices and customers to reduce latency?
  • Security and compliance: Do they hold all necessary regulatory and industry certifications?
  • Ecosystem integration: How easily can you connect their cloud to your existing systems?
  • Pricing model: Does their billing model align with your workload needs and budget?
  • Migration support: Do they offer professional services and tools to assist migration?

Take time to thoroughly evaluate each prospective vendor against your requirements. Request demos, quotes and trials. Then negotiate the best deal spanning services, support, and pricing.

A multi-cloud strategy utilizing different providers for specific workloads may offer the ultimate in choice and flexibility. Just be sure to evaluate the complexity trade-offs.

Mapping Out Your Cloud Migration Plan

With provider(s) selected, now detail your systematic plan for migrating applications, data, and infrastructure. Document each system and the general approach:

  • Rehost ("lift-and-shift"): This fastest option lifts an app or database as-is and redeploys it on cloud virtual machines. Little to no code changes are needed.
  • Replatform ("lift-tinker-and-shift"): Here you make a few cloud optimizations for scalability, costs, etc., but the core architecture stays intact. This balances speed and some cloud benefits.
  • Refactor ("re-architect"): You redesign an application specifically to leverage cloud-native features like serverless and microservices. This requires more upfront work but unlocks fuller cloud advantages.
  • Retire: Some legacy apps or redundant systems may be candidates for simply retiring rather than migrating.
  • Retain: Systems with high on-prem dependencies or little to gain may best stay put, at least for now. Revisit later.
  • Replace: In some cases, replacing custom apps with ready-made SaaS alternatives can be faster and more cost-effective.
  • New development: Consider new apps or infrastructure that can take advantage of cloud-native technologies right from the start.

Map out timeframes, milestones, and dependencies across all cloud migration workstreams. Aim for "quick wins" where possible to build momentum. Having this detailed implementation plan will be essential once you start your migration project execution. It's also wise to build in contingencies for potential roadblocks and delays.

Migrating Your First Workloads

Once infrastructure is set up with your cloud provider, it's time to start migrating applications and data! Most experts recommend beginning with non-critical pilot workloads to test processes and configurations.

Good candidates for initial migration include:

  • Development and test environments
  • Internal business applications
  • Older apps slated for retirement
  • Smaller databases

For each pilot workload:

  • Set up necessary cloud infrastructure - VMs, storage, networking.
  • Migrate code, data, configurations to the new environment.
  • Integrate with adjacent systems.
  • Thoroughly test functionality, performance and security.
  • Optimize configurations based on learnings.

These initial cloud migrations serve as your "proof of concept." Evaluate pilots against your defined goals:

  • Did performance improve as expected?
  • How much faster can developers release code?
  • Have administration costs decreased?

Refine migration processes based on any hiccups before tackling business-critical systems. With successful pilots under your belt, you'll have increased confidence to migrate core applications and infrastructure at broader scale.

Ensuring Robust Governance and Security

While the cloud offers many advantages, it also requires updated governance and security measures. Outline and implement cloud policies for:

Identity and access management (IAM): Properly configure IAM with role-based access controls, multi-factor authentication, and minimum required permissions. Conduct audits to identify any unsafe access.

Resource monitoring: Closely monitor cloud resource usage, performance metrics, and billing to avoid surprises. Receive alerts on anomalies.

Business continuity: Architect multi-region redundancy for high availability. Ensure backup systems are in place and tested.

Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data in transit and at rest per regulations. Carefully manage keys.

Patching: Maintain current patches on all cloud resources to reduce vulnerabilities.

DevOps security: Embed security practices like secret management and infrastructure-as-code into CI/CD pipelines.

Cloud security best practices: Follow all of your chosen cloud vendor's security guidelines and checklist recommendations.

Robust cloud governance ensures you can fully leverage benefits while minimizing risk. Partner with your cloud provider(s) to implement the above safeguards.

Optimizing Costs and Performance

The beauty of the cloud is flexibility. Once settled into steady-state operations, continuously evaluate usage and spending. Here are some best practices for ongoing cloud optimization:

  • Right-size resources: Monitor utilization and resize instances, storage and services to align with actual needs. This avoids over-provisioning costs.
  • Leverage autoscaling: For spiky workloads like web apps, implement auto-scaling to dynamically grow and shrink capacity based on demand.
  • Choose savings plans: Commit to 1-3 year plans with reserved instances to gain significant discounts over on-demand pricing.
  • Utilize spot/preemptible instances: These discounted short-term instances work nicely for batch jobs or fault-tolerant processes.
  • Eliminate waste: Prune unused storage, identify idle resources not tagged for auto-shutdown, and decommission unneeded services.
  • Purchase reservations: Upfront commitments can lower overall cloud costs for predictable projected usage.
  • Right-price licensing: Optimize Bring-Your-Own-License costs for moved enterprise software.
  • Leverage cloud-native services: Serverless, queues, containers and other managed services optimize efficiency.
  • Refactor apps: Continuously modernize apps to take advantage of new cloud innovations and pricing models.

With ongoing tuning and adoption of emerging best practices, you can maximize cloud ROI over time.

Executing Your Cloud Migration - Steps to Success

We've covered a lot of ground detailing key elements of a cloud migration roadmap. Here's a recap of the end-to-end process:

  1. Set goals: Define clear, measurable targets for cloud migration tied to business outcomes.
  2. Inventory systems: Document all existing infrastructure, apps, data and tools.
  3. Classify workloads: Map systems to migration categories like rehost, replatform, refactor.
  4. Choose cloud provider(s): Select vendor(s) that best meet your needs.
  5. Plan timeline: Outline phases, milestones and dependencies for migration execution.
  6. Set up cloud environments: Create new architecture, infrastructure, and services on chosen cloud(s).
  7. Migrate pilot workloads: First migrate non-critical systems to test processes.
  8. Execute broader migration: With successful pilots, roll out migration at full scale per your plan.
  9. Refine processes: Continuously improve processes based on lessons learned.
  10. Optimize: Monitor usage and spending to tune environment and maximize value.

With this phased approach, you can successfully unlock the many benefits of cloud migration - from increased agility and innovation to improved resilience and lower costs. A trusted cloud migration partner will provide invaluable expertise to streamline your transition and avoid pitfalls.

At LK Technologies, our skilled cloud consultants have enabled seamless migrations for organizations of all sizes. We offer complete solutions spanning migration roadmapping, workload analysis, cloud-native development, and ongoing management. Contact us today for a consultation, or check out our migration services at www.lk technologies.com. Our team is ready to help accelerate your cloud transformation.


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