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Many benefits can be obtained when companies take advantage of cloud computing. Among the most attractive are the scalability and cost-effectiveness available by engaging public cloud providers. The flexibility afforded by using cloud resources enables an enterprise to pay for what they need and easily add or remove capacity as required. Another reason for using the cloud is to leverage services or capabilities that cannot be replicated on-premises due to a lack of technical or physical resources.

When an organization decides to move some or all of its present computing environment to the cloud, there are many ways to move forward. It is essential to have a well-defined plan for what will be migrated, where it will be hosted, and how the move will be executed. Without proper preparation and planning, the probability of a successful move is dramatically reduced.

A Checklist for Cloud Migration

Employing a methodical approach offers the greatest chance for a smooth migration to the cloud. The following basic checklist provides a solid foundation when considering a move to the cloud.

  • Determine the cloud strategy and goal of the migration. An essential component of this step is to gather baseline metrics regarding your current environment. This enables the creation of key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used during the migration and can help identify if the move is successful. Metrics such as availability, response time, and CPU usage will allow you to gauge how well applications are performing after the move. 
  • Evaluate the applications that will be migrated to determine an order in which to move them. Some systems may need to be redesigned while others can be moved as-is. Security concerns might come into play and identify applications that are best left in-house. 
  • Create a data migration plan that takes into account the ability to maintain data integrity and operational efficiency during the move. 
  • Choose the cloud provider based on their offerings and the requirements discovered during the planning process. Factors such as support during the migration, its level of experience in the type of application you are moving, and tools to assist in the move should all be considered when selecting a vendor.

Online Versus Offline Migration

Another factor that can influence the success of cloud migration is whether it is performed using online or offline methods. Offline migration is done by copying the data that will be reposted in the cloud to portable storage media which is then physically delivered to the cloud provider. Online migrations use the network connections between the on-premises systems and the cloud provider to perform the data transfer. 

The choice of which method to adopt should be determined by the amount of data being transferred to the cloud providers and the network bandwidth available for the migration. Moving a large amount of data quickly often necessitates an offline approach as networks cannot handle the volume of information in a timely manner. Mistakenly taking the online path may slow down the migration and negatively affect the overall timeframe of the cloud initiative. 

A cloud migration is a big step that an enterprise should not take without performing the proper planning. Spending the time for productive planning will ensure that the goals of the migration are achieved and that no impediments spring up unexpectedly.

Last modified on Monday, 11 November 2019
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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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