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What Is Cloud Migration? 

Cloud migration is the process of relocating an organization’s data, applications, and workloads to a cloud infrastructure. Your organization may choose to relocate all of its computing assets to a cloud; however, in most cases, some applications and services still remain on-premise. 

Migration may involve one or more clouds. Some clouds are public, whereby services are delivered over the public internet, and some clouds are private, consisting of secure cloud infrastructure available to only a specific organization. Organizations commonly use several clouds, both public and private, in a hybrid cloud environment that also includes on-premise computing assets. 


The following are a few of the ways your organization can benefit from migrating data and workloads to the cloud: 

  • Scalability: The cloud removes the physical constraints to scalability and reduces the financial limitations of adding servers and the supporting infrastructure to a data center. 
  • Cost-effectiveness: The cloud lets you pay for only the capacity you use. Instead of adding on-premise capacity to anticipate scalability you may or may not need, with cloud, you pay only for the capacity you need now and scale on demand when you need to. 
  • Security: Clouds typically are secure environments that comply with applicable industry standards and government regulations. They are protected through security solutions and tools, best practices, and policies that cloud providers update as needed on a regular basis and at scale. 
  • Accelerated adoption: Migrating applications to the cloud allows your company to adopt new technologies faster, while also enabling affordable, just-in-time technology adoption in response to business opportunities. 

In short, enterprises typically migrate workloads to a cloud to improve operational performance and agility, workload scalability, and security. 

Strategies, Plans, and Checklists 

Cloud Migration Strategy 

A successful cloud migration requires the planning and execution of a comprehensive strategy that sets migration goals, creates a timeline, anticipates challenges, and defines the project’s success. 

Migration strategies take into account which workloads to move to the cloud, which to keep on-premise, and which new capabilities and applications to add once in the cloud. Your migration strategy should cover specific use cases for the workloads to be migrated. This may include mission-critical enterprise applications, data backup and recovery, productivity and collaboration applications, or software development projects. Defining use cases upfront enables you to create a solid strategy and sets the foundation for a properly executed migration process. 

Migration strategies typically cover risk assessments, budgeting, and security, as well as the type of cloud—public or private—that will host each of the workloads being relocated. Increasingly, enterprises are using a multi-cloud approach, creating a hybrid cloud environment that could potentially become quite complex. Migration strategies should address the management of the environment in a consistent and simplified manner. 

Elements of the security plan should include whether to encrypt all or certain types of data, compliance with regulations pertaining to data in motion and at rest, and replication requirements.  

Make sure your migration strategy also includes a communication component to not only keep all stakeholders abreast of the progress of the migration but also define their specific roles and responsibilities in the project 

Cloud Migration Plan 

Once your strategy has been formulated and approved, it’s time to proceed to the planning stages of migration. A migration plan must take into account all the workloads to be transferred to the cloud and the sequence for migrating them. A step-by-step approach can help with the success of migration by giving your team of implementers a chance to learn as they go along. Sometimes implementers choose a single workload to start a migration so they can test the process and assess the outcome. This makes it possible to make adjustments if deemed necessary. 

Migration plans cover roadmaps, scheduling, project metrics, migration tools, and services, and they include a communication plan for organization leaders, implementers, cloud vendors, and—as appropriate—all stakeholders. The latter includes the users who will be affected by the changes resulting from the migration. 

Key Elements Of A Cloud Migration Plan 

To be effective, your migration plan should include the following elements: 

  • Workloads being migrated 
  • Migration priorities and sequence 
  • Timetable 
  • Definition of processes and roles 
  • Performance metrics 
  • Stakeholder communication 

Cloud Migration Checklist 

To ease your transition to the cloud, prepare a checklist that helps keep the project on track by checking off each task as completed. A checklist can be as basic or exhaustive as project managers choose to make it. The following are some items to include: 

  1. Determine which workloads will be relocated to the cloud and classify them by complexity, size, and production/not production. 
  2. Research and select a cloud provider suitable to the workloads being relocated. 
  3. Determine if you will need a multi-cloud approach based on your workloads. 
  4. Perform a cost assessment for the migration. 
  5. Assign a team to execute the migration. 
  6. Communicate the goals of the migration to the team. 
  7. Determine how much of the migration will be handled internally and by the cloud provider. 
  8. Prioritize which workloads to migrate first. 
  9. Prepare a plan outlining the roadmap and schedule for the migration. 
  10. Ascertain whether the organization already uses any cloud-based applications and whether they should remain as they are or be replaced by new cloud-based services. 
  11. Communicate to all stakeholders what to expect during and post-migration. 
  12. Prepare a security plan for migration and post-migration. 
  13. Establish KPIs for the migration. 
  14. Check in with implementers along the way to review progress. 
  15. Test, review, and make adjustments as needed. 

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