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The cloud migration process: a step-by-step guide.

The cloud has become an essential tool that helps companies modernize their IT, giving you the power to work and collaborate on projects from anywhere on any device. With it, you can also avoid the cost of building your own in-house infrastructure. But most importantly, the cloud allows you to lower your risk of data loss. 

Before you can enjoy any of these benefits, however, you first have to move to the cloud. The cloud migration process can be complicated and risky if not done carefully. That’s why many organizations choose to partner with a managed service provider (MSP) that can make the procedure simpler and safer. In addition, you can also make your cloud migration smoother by familiarizing yourself with the process.

The Cloud Migration Process

There are many reasons a company may choose to migrate to the cloud, one of the biggest being the ability to access virtually unlimited computing resources. As you begin the migration, your data, applications, and other business elements are going to be temporarily vulnerable. That’s where the challenges of moving to the cloud come in. 

A single mistake can lead to devastating consequences. If there’s an error, a large amount of your data could be lost. And if the migration is unsuccessful, you won’t be able to get the full benefits the cloud has to offer.

To minimize the risks of moving your data center to the cloud, migration consultants recommend preparing for the process. The best way to prepare is by creating a strategy that protects your infrastructure in case there’s a hitch.

Preparing for Cloud Migration

Like with any other business venture, the last thing you want to do is go in unprepared. A thorough plan can help you identify your priorities and objectives to ensure migration is successful. 

A good way to prepare is to consider these three fundamental factors:

  • Why: You and the rest of your company’s leadership needs to know specifically why you want to migrate.
  • What: Depending on your IT and the cloud migration architecture you choose, some assets may be ready for migration while others may need some reworking. It’s necessary to identify the applications that need adjusting.
  • How: There are different types of cloud infrastructure and a few ways to transfer your information to the cloud. It’s up to you and your MSP to discover the best cloud migration process.

Cloud Migration Checklist

A key part of cloud migration is coming up with a cloud migration checklist. This checklist gives you the opportunity to outline particular hurdles your organization could face as you transition to the cloud. 

Here is what should be included in your checklist:

An Inventory of Your IT

It’s important to have a clear understanding of all the applications your organization uses to achieve cloud migration success. If you’re not 100% sure, then you may want to perform an audit on your digital assets. During this audit, it’s beneficial to:

  • List what software you’re using
  • Identify apps that no longer provide value
  • Identify apps that could benefit from cloud integration

As you take inventory of your IT, don’t forget to look into dependencies between software. If one app is dependent on another and one isn’t brought over to the cloud, it could affect how the apps operate.

A Definition of Success

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a quantifiable measurement that indicates progress toward a certain result. You probably use KPIs for a variety of things, like measuring the performance of your company website. They should also be used to measure the success of your cloud migration.

Some common migration KPIs include:

  • Maintenance Costs: Is cloud migration going to lower your IT costs?
  • Availability: Can the cloud reduce downtime?
  • Scalability: Does the cloud improve your ability to scale your business?
  • Access Speed: Can you access your system faster?

An Identified Cloud Provider

From Microsoft Azure to Amazon Web Services (AWS), there’s no shortage of providers out there. Take a moment to review what’s available on the market. Looking at all the features offered will help you make the right choice. Don’t forget that an MSP like 42, Inc. can make finding the best cloud environment for your business easy.

An Automation Tool

Migrating with the help of an MSP is the easiest way to transition to the cloud. If you’ve already partnered with an MSP, you can skip ahead to the next checklist item. If you want to do the cloud migration process on your own, then you’re going to want an automation tool.

These tools are designed to make relocating to the cloud more straightforward. This is especially helpful for companies with hundreds of components that need to be migrated, and there are plenty of versatile tools to choose from.

A Migration Plan

There are six commonly used migration strategies. These plans are also known as the six Rs:

  • Rehost: This is the process of cloning your servers to move them to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider of your choosing. This is a bare-minimum process in which small changes are made. Essentially, applications and their data are lifted and moved to a cloud infrastructure.
  • Replatform: This makes a few updates to your assets without throwing the whole system out. As a result, you modernize your environment by moving your apps to the cloud.
  • Repurchase: This involves transferring a perpetual license to a software as a service (SaaS) vendor.
  • Retire: The process of turning off or deleting apps you no longer need.
  • Retain: This is when you keep apps where they are because they can’t be migrated for one reason or another.
  • Refactor: This involves making changes to the app code so it can benefit from the cloud. This is the slowest and most complex migration method. In short, it rebuilds your infrastructure from scratch to run natively on the cloud.

A Backup Plan

A successful migration isn’t always a guarantee. As mentioned earlier, the cloud migration process comes with risks. You need a backup plan to protect your information in case you run into an issue. Once you have a solution, you should:

  • Train Your Staff: Teach your staff how to work with cloud applications to prevent accidental data losses.
  • Automate Backups: Make sure your information is backed up automatically. Most MSPs can do this for you.
  • Perform a Test: Test your backup solution to see how well it performs in an emergency. This should be done on an ongoing basis.

Cloud Migration Considerations

After you finish your checklist, the next step in the cloud migration process is picking the right cloud environment for your operations. You can choose from four different cloud models, including:

  • Public Cloud: A public cloud is a platform that’s owned by a third-party vendor and publicly available. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are two popular examples of public clouds. These services are often free or pay-per-use. This is the least secure cloud solution, but it offers a high level of scalability.
  • Private Cloud: This type of platform belongs exclusively to your organization. For businesses that are interested in full control and customization for their cloud environment, this is an ideal model. While it is the most secure solution you can have, it lacks the scalability of other solutions.
  • Hybrid Cloud: By combining elements of public and private environments, you can create what’s known as a hybrid cloud. When resources are shared between your public cloud and private cloud, you can keep sensitive data in your private cloud and apps and non-sensitive information in your public cloud.
  • Multicloud: This involves using multiple cloud services in one environment. A hybrid cloud is an example of a multicloud solution. It can also include using several public cloud platforms.

Transferring Your Data

Last but not least comes the transfer of your data. After a plan is in place, your MSP begins managing the migration of your data to a remote server. Depending on what the MSP offers, this process can be done all at once or staged over time.

Make the Cloud Migration Process Simple With 42, Inc.

The team at 42, Inc. is dedicated to helping businesses in the Berkeley, California, area overcome their IT challenges. If you’re ready to migrate to the cloud, our consultants are prepared to guide you through the process. We handle everything so you can stay focused on growing your business.

Contact us today to learn more.