14 Important Cloud Migration Steps that Ensure Success

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The pressing challenges that organizations face today with outdated on-premises data centers, rising costs, and the constant need for scalability have ignited a rush to adopt the cloud.

The headache of maintaining old systems, coupled with the fear of lagging behind competitors, has highlighted the need for cloud migration.

Research shows that around 33.4% of organizations plan to transition from legacy enterprise software to cloud-based tools, while 32.8% aim to migrate their on-premises workloads to the cloud.

“The cloud isn’t about servers or storage; it’s about sustaining leadership in a digital-first world,” says Jason Cary, VP of Sales at FTI Services

However, the journey towards a seamless cloud migration process is not without its pitfalls. It’s crucial to understand the roadmap to ensure a smooth transition. Here’s a detailed guide to mastering the cloud migration process in 12 definitive steps.


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Key Cloud Migration Steps for Businesses

Crafting the right cloud migration strategy is crucial for businesses eyeing a smooth transition. As more enterprises move to the cloud, understanding these pivotal steps becomes essential for harnessing cloud benefits.


1. Migration Planning

Initiating the cloud migration process demands a comprehensive cloud migration plan. Beyond merely selecting which applications or datasets to migrate, it’s paramount to comprehend the overall business impact.

This involves understanding the interdependencies between applications, determining the best sequence for migration, and getting alignment from various stakeholders—ranging from IT professionals to business leaders.

Cloud Migration Process

Source: Microsoft Azure Cloud Migration and Modernisation Trends for 2023


2. Choose Your Cloud Environment

The decision to opt for public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, or multi-cloud is not one-size-fits-all. It necessitates a thorough evaluation of an organization’s current infrastructure, future scalability needs, data sensitivity, and compliance requirements.

For instance, while public clouds offer scalability and cost-effectiveness, private clouds provide more control and security. Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, meanwhile, offer the flexibility of leveraging the best of multiple cloud environments, depending on the specific application or data needs.


3. Choose a Deployment Model

Before diving into the migration, selecting the right deployment model, whether Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS), is important.

The choice directly impacts cost, control, and the complexity of the migration. It’s vital to match the model with your organization’s technical expertise and control needs.


4. Pick a Cloud Partner

This is one of the pivotal steps for cloud migration. Whether it’s giants like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud or niche players tailored to specific industries, the choice of partner can profoundly impact the migration’s success.

Consider factors like cost, support services, compliance standards, and integration capabilities when making your selection.


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5. Assessment and Inventory

Thoroughly evaluating the existing infrastructure is essential. Recognizing critical dependencies, potential migration hiccups, and aligning application migration to cloud steps becomes clearer.

This phase also calls for a comprehensive cataloging of software licenses and resources, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.


6. Select a Migration Strategy

Strategies like lift and shift versus cloud-native considerations each present their own sets of challenges and merits. The decision hinges on the application’s architecture, compatibility with cloud solutions, desired outcomes, and budget.

Certainly! Given the topic of cloud migration, a comparison table between various migration strategies could be insightful for readers. Here’s a simple table comparing three popular migration strategies:


Quick Comparison of Cloud Migration Strategies

Strategy Description Best For Considerations
Lift and Shift Directly move applications to the cloud without modification. Organizations looking for a quick migration. May not fully utilize cloud-native features.
Replatforming Minor up-versions for applications before moving them to the cloud. Those needing slight changes for compatibility or performance enhancement. Requires some modifications but not a full re-architecture.
Refactoring/Re-architecting Rework the application to be cloud-native, leveraging cloud functionalities fully. Organizations aiming for optimal cloud performance and scalability. It is time-consuming and can be costlier but yields better long-term benefits.


7. Cost Evaluation

The allure of potential savings with cloud adoption can sometimes overshadow the actual cloud costs involved. It’s pivotal to meticulously map out all potential costs, including those for data transfer, storage, migration services, and any required software modifications.

A comprehensive cost analysis not only circumvents unexpected financial pitfalls but also fortifies the foundation for a truly successful cloud migration.


8. Security Measures

66% of IT professionals consider security to be a major challenge to cloud adoption. The evolving threat landscape makes robust security protocols indispensable. Tailoring security measures to safeguard data and applications, particularly in a public cloud or hybrid cloud setting, is essential.

This involves ensuring data encryption, setting up firewalls, and continually monitoring for potential vulnerabilities.


9. Data Migration

The crux of the steps in cloud migration revolves around data. The transfer should be meticulously orchestrated to prevent data loss or corruption.

This means establishing clear backup protocols, validating data integrity post-transfer, and ensuring seamless data accessibility once it’s in the cloud.

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10. Application Migration

Post-assessment: it’s time to actualize the application migration to cloud steps identified earlier.

Whether utilizing the lift and shift methodology or re-architecting the application to be cloud-native, this step demands rigorous testing and validation to ascertain optimal performance in the new environment.

Cloud Migration Steps

Source: Microsoft Azure Cloud Migration and Modernisation Trends for 2023


11. Testing

Once migrated, the real litmus test begins. Rigorous functional, performance and security testing ensures that applications operate flawlessly in their new cloud abode. This phase often requires multiple iterations, fine-tuning, and adjustments to achieve the desired outcomes.


12. Training and Support

Change, although beneficial, can be daunting. Offering robust training programs empowers teams to navigate the new cloud ecosystem confidently.

Furthermore, establishing a support mechanism, be it in-house or through external migration services, ensures that any hiccups are swiftly addressed.


13. Optimization

The cloud migration process doesn’t culminate with the migration itself. The post-migration phase is an ongoing journey of optimization.

Constantly monitoring performance metrics, tweaking configurations, and analyzing costs ensures that the cloud infrastructure consistently delivers value.


14. Review and Audit

Periodic reviews and audits are the final cog in the cloud migration wheel. By routinely checking that cloud services align with evolving business goals, companies can maintain agility, staying ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Whether it’s security, compliance, or performance benchmarks, regular checks ensure that the organization’s cloud strategy remains on point.


Navigate Your Cloud Journey with FTI Services

The path to cloud migration is both promising and challenging. While businesses aim to harness the cloud’s potential, it’s important to approach this journey with precision.

FTI Services, a premier Managed IT services company, simplifies this transition. Prioritizing cybersecurity and aligning IT with your business outcomes, we ensure your move to the cloud is both secure and strategically sound.

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For businesses aiming for growth without IT hiccups, FTI Services is your trusted partner.