The “5 Ws” of Cloud Migration

The beginning of your cloud migration strategy should address "5 Ws" of cloud migration: who, what, where, when, and why. Before you begin your migration, leverage the following "5 Ws" to reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and reap the benefits of a successful move to the cloud.

1. WHY are we moving? - At the core of almost every decision you will make is the reason for your organization’s migration to the cloud. Knowing your primary goal for moving to the cloud-whether it’s for improved cost, better performance, or more agility-is the only way to know if you’re actually making decisions to meet your targets. Just like every other project, setting clear goals and objectives will help you ensure its success.

2. WHO is responsible for our cloud migration? Migrating your infrastructure to the cloud and managing it after your migration is complete requires a different skill set than managing your infrastructure in an on-premises environment. To ensure that you enjoy a painless migration and that your cloud will be well managed once the move is complete, you must make sure that you have team members who are up to the task.

You may want to handle the process internally and train your team on what success looks like in their new cloud role. Alternatively, you may want to hire new talent or partner with consultants who specialize in cloud migration. It’s likely that you’ll require a mix of both in-house and external team members.

3. WHAT do we have? One of the most important steps of a successful cloud migration is conducting a thorough discovery and dependency mapping process to identify all applications and machines in your current environment and how they are all connected. Discovery and dependency mapping is critical to preventing application connection breaks during migration.

This process was critical for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company that used Cloudamize’s automated data analysis to discover 5,400 machines and 1,673 applications across 65 data centers. The analysis enabled the manufacturer to group applications into 74 classes including business intelligence, security, and IT Management so they could more easily identify the workloads matching their phase 1 migration criteria and begin developing their application move groups.

4. WHERE should we move? There are three major cloud service providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Deciding which cloud is the best fit for your workloads is a process that requires careful consideration of your priorities for your move to the cloud (specifically: cost-performance optimization, security, and your business needs). Additionally, many companies that move to the cloud adopt a multi-cloud strategy, which involves migrating some workloads to one cloud and other resources to a different cloud. Multi-cloud strategies are becoming increasingly popular among IT decision-makers, and automated data analysis helps organizations quickly assess the millions of possible cloud configurations to find the exact best fit for each and every workload.

5. WHEN do we move which apps? As you prioritize your applications for migration to the cloud, some apps will be more suited to move in the first phase of your migration while others will be better suited to migration at a later date. Some applications may not be suited for migration to the cloud at all while others will be prime candidates for phase 1 migration.

The applications you should migrate first typically include:
  • Less complex apps
  • Less mission-critical apps like development, staging, and disaster recovery
  • Apps with fewer connections/dependencies
  • Apps that consume less compute, storage, and network resources
  • Apps that are being re-hosted

Applications more suited to migration at a later phase usually include:

  • Mission-critical apps, such as homegrown apps
  • Apps with many dependencies
  • Apps consuming more resources
  • Apps that are being re-factored, revised, or rebuilt

Breaking down the complexity of migrating to the cloud is often a matter of asking the right questions. The stakes are high. If you fail to fully understand the considerations of moving to the cloud, you could make a decision that causes your organization to go over time or budget, make a costly mistake, or get left behind your competitors.

Guide: What To Think About When You're
Thinking About Moving to the Cloud

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