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How to Plan Your Migration to the Cloud

A detailed plan can save time during your migration to the Cloud and can guarantee its efficiency

Moving the company applications to the cloud is one step that more enterprises are considering and planning to do in 2020.  In the past few years, cloud adoption has increased significantly, as it provides considerable value achieving greater scalability, cost efficiency, and improved performance.

One of the keys to succeed in this topic is to invest a good amount of time in planning and establishing the strategy. The plan should cover the end-cloud environment, training and, most importantly, the readiness of your workloads and applications. This article will cover some basic steps that we recommend you follow to help with the migration process based on the Cloud Migration Essential eBook published by Microsoft.

What to Know Before Migrating?

The process of migration to the cloud can be simple, with a few decision points or more complex. Depending on how many servers and virtual machines are involved. Whether is simple or complex, the model below illustrates a good approach to be taken, once you’ve decided to migrate. 

A further look into the steps:

Rehost: Also known as lift and shift, is the step where your physical servers and virtual machines will be migrated to the cloud. By simply shifting the current server environment straight to IaaS, you will get the benefits of cost savings, security and increased reliability. In this model, the operating systems that you previously managed will be managed by the cloud provider.

Refactor: Also known as repackage, this stage involves using additional cloud provider services to optimise the cost, reliability, and performance by refactoring your applications. In lift and shift, you were only taking advantage of the provider-managed hardware and OS, but in this model, you also take advantage of cloud services to drive down cost.

Rearchitect: This is also known as redesigning an application to modernise it, which means to transform it with a modular architecture. Rearchitecting is modifying or extending an existing application’s codebase to optimise it for a cloud platform and for better scalability. One example of rearchitecting would be decomposing a monolithic application into microservices that work together and readily scale on Azure.

Rebuild: Revise the existing application by aggressively adopting PaaS or even software as a service (SaaS) services and architecture. This process requires major revisions to add new functionality or to rearchitect the application for the cloud. An example of this step would be code redesign to decompose the original application into smaller chunks, and then deployment using modern cloud provider services.

Replace: This refers to moving or discarding an existing application and replacing it with commercial software delivered as a service, or SaaS. SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider. When you choose this option, all underlying infrastructure, middleware, app software, and app data are managed by service providers and located in their datacentres. The service provider manages the hardware and software and, with the appropriate service agreement, will ensure the availability and security of the app – as well as your data.

Three Steps to Migrate to the Cloud

With this straightforward framework, you get a proven approach to migration. This process provides a clear picture of your entire application and workload portfolio, the best way to configure your applications and workloads to achieve migration, convenient tools to ensure low-impact transfer and ongoing performance and cost optimisation.

Before you Migrate

Before starting your migration process, we recommend following the steps below.

Identity: As with your on-premises environment, you need a way for users to be identified and authenticated to ensure secure access to your new cloud resources. In most cases, this means running the Azure Active Directory or a similar solution. You could simply extend your on-premises identity to the cloud to support the migrated workloads. However, many cloud providers have built-in identity solutions provided as a service. These can also integrate with your on-premises identity systems to enable single sign-on for user convenience.

Storage: Storage is essential to your cloud migration. It’s important to have a storage platform that will meet the expected performance needs of your migrated workloads. On-premises, this platform is usually through network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) systems. In the cloud, virtual storage is often through blobs or page blobs, depending on the type of data being stored. You can choose from many storage types to guarantee reliable performance, including performance and access levels, backup, geographical replication, and disaster recovery.

Networking: This is also an essential topic. Networks are the figurative backbone of the datacentre. Moving to the cloud requires a new way of networking, since you’re no longer reliant on physical topology. In fact, you can now overcome the physical boundaries with a single subnet, which simplifies networking communication. When moving applications from on-premises to the cloud, you may want to keep them in the same networking subnets, and even IP address ranges to ensure a seamless migration. Virtual networking can support this and merge with your on-premises physical networking architecture as needed.

Connectivity: During migration, you will move vast amounts of data. However, you’ll still be moving data even after the bulk of your critical workloads are hosted in the cloud. As such, you should consider a more dedicated connectivity option to help with the data transfer and ultimate end-user experience. You may currently have virtual networks set up, possibly using the Internet or site-to-site VPNs to connect to your cloud environment. While this works well for smaller deployments, you’ll need a new approach to run an entire enterprise both during and after migration.

Steps to Migrate

After all checking and planning is finally the moment to approach the migration per se. The previous planning was the moment to identify risks and potential gaps and main points of concern, now it's time to implement, we summarised below the main steps to follow according to the Microsoft eBook, Cloud Migration Essential.

Assess

When you are migrating to the cloud it’s essential to have a better understanding of your applications, how many servers/virtual machines you have plenty of confidence in how you’ll migrate them to the cloud. The assessment should cover on-premises applications and servers, identification of application and server dependencies, configuration analysis, cost planning, and tools for assessment.

Migrate

Once the assessment phase is completed, it’s time to prepare for the next step: cloud migration. To do that you need to guarantee real-time replication, testing, identify the potential advantages for further application innovation, and your tools for migration.
 

Optimise

At this point, your migration process is done, and the focus should be on ensuring that you’re successfully taking advantage of the cloud’s performance, scalability, and cost-saving benefits. Some steps which should keep in mind, Secure cloud resources, protecting data, monitoring cloud health, continual cost efficiency and optimisation.

*To access the full eBook with the above content, click here.

Azure Training

As one of the biggest Microsoft partner worldwide, New Horizons Ireland provides a wide range of Microsoft courses, including Azure. At New Horizons Ireland you can choose the best option for you, online, online live or instructor-led. Microsoft Azure is the technology of the moment and can help you to develop your business and keep your network updated and safe. Check out our courses.


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