Hybrid Cloud Migration Best Practices
By embracing a “factory approach" to hybrid cloud migration, IT organizations can more easily deliver enhanced operational agility and cost efficiencies, while widening the scope for business innovation. These are the best practices that have helped our clients apply this approach.
Enterprises considering a cloud migration must choose among multiple service and deployment models, decide which workloads are best suited to the cloud, and assure that their chosen cloud model provides enterprise-level connectivity, security, compliance and service-level agreements. Below are some of the best practices that have made the migration successful for our clients:
- Accelerate automated provisioning with a catalog of operationalized cloud design patterns (configurations of resources such as servers or databases). These are customized to support various business services. Don’t go overboard with hundreds of patterns that will create a management headache. Instead, create several variants (such as for workloads with low, medium and high levels of complexity) for each IT resource. After your organization has gained experience with patterns describing individual IT elements, it can create patterns that describe the entire infrastructure needed to support each business service.
- Coordinate with your operational, support and change teams. Doing so will ensure that the migration of applications or servers to the cloud won’t interfere with their existing projects, release, enhancement or patching schedules. Your IT leadership doesn’t want to surprise users with unnecessary downtime or outages for server patching while it is migrating application services to the cloud.
- Map existing management and maintenance processes to the cloud. Your IT staff won’t need to spend time and effort learning new processes to manage the cloud or, even worse, refusing to learn them. IT leadership should also carefully consider how current workloads will be affected by the cloud migration to determine if additional staff is required to manage both environments. They also may need to increase information security staffing to prevent security-related bottlenecks from clogging the Agile migration factory.
- Engage early with all stakeholders, clearly describing the benefits of the cloud migration to get their financial and political support. Include everyone from business operations, business relationship managers and the security and network teams to avoid unpleasant surprises such as unexpected system downtime or compliance issues. Be sure to include any third-party service providers and outside users (such as business partners) so they can provide any help you need.
- Learn how the move to the cloud will affect the cost of licenses for applications and underlying platforms such as databases. You may not be able to transfer all your on-premise licenses to the cloud, and pricing for some of them may change in a virtualized, cloud environment. For example, if the vendor’s licensing is calculated based on all available resources in an environment even if your organization is not using them, its licensing costs could rise in a public cloud.
- Define upfront what kind of cloud migration approach you need – infrastructure based, platform based, or service based. For a recent media client, for example, an infrastructure-based migration was best because upgrading and patching its numerous operating systems and bringing databases to the latest levels were most important rather than application modernization. It is also key that the relevant data migration approach (for SQL, Oracle or any other database technology) underpins the overall service migration. Ensure the supporting infrastructure enabling migration is in place, including dedicated networks, firewalls, load balancers, etc., well in advance of the actual migration.
- Cover what levels of security controls, privacy and availability that are required in the new environment (including new requirements such as GDPR) and how it will find and fix vulnerabilities before moving to the cloud. IT leadership should also consider which design patterns are defined and how many operations must be automated (see the first bullet, above). All of these will have major implications for your choice of cloud provider, and what elements are needed in your organization’s migration factory.
Achieving a factory approach requires IT not to focus merely on the specific hardware or software components, but on the business services they support. We're happy to help if you need any input as you proceed forward on your own journey.