Executing a Successful Cloud Migration Strategy [+ Checklist] | Lucidchart Blog
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Organizations large and small are increasingly turning to cloud-based solutions for their computing needs. One study by LogicMonitor predicts that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. 

If your business is preparing to make the move, use our checklist to keep your cloud migration strategy on track. 

The rise of cloud migration

When the name of the game is to disrupt or be disrupted, organizations are focused on the future, with digital transformation at the top of their priority list. And for many organizations, migrating their on-premise computing infrastructure to the cloud is at the center of their digital transformation strategy.

According to the RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report, 94% of enterprises are now using the cloud in some capacity.

Businesses are migrating some (or all) of their business processes, applications, and data (or using the cloud to build and later adopt new infrastructure) to adapt to this new digital landscape.   

Benefits of migrating to the cloud

The ultimate goal of any cloud migration is to host applications and data in the most effective way, based on cost, performance, and security. 

The cloud offers a number of advantages and solutions for digitally-minded organizations including:

  • Greater flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Elasticity
  • Tighter security
  • Reduced costs

Increased cloud usage ultimately helps companies push their technology and businesses forward faster, ensuring companies stay competitive and relevant. 

Moving to the cloud: A checklist

Moving to the cloud isn’t a simple process. Businesses have to consider a number of factors, including security, costs, adoption, and even type of migration. Between public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud options, navigating the challenges of a cloud migration of any size can be a daunting task. 

Cloud Migration Strategies (Click on image to modify online)

Use the following cloud migration checklist to create a cloud migration project plan and successfully move your operations to the cloud.

1. Prepare for migration 

A successful migration relies on solid preparation. Check off the following to-dos to ensure you have a strong foundation. 

Get buy-in

As with any enterprise initiative, you need buy-in from the top down to ensure your migration is effective. Cloud migration is not solely the responsibility of your IT department, but entails both technological transformation and cultural changes. Leadership and senior and executive staff need to provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Moving to the cloud can change the functional roles and operations of your business. Employees may need to be trained, reskilled, or reassigned to new roles to meet the needs of your evolving business. 

To mitigate these growing pains, senior leadership should show public support and encourage buy-in at every level. To do this, leaders must communicate the benefits of the migration for employees and customers, address concerns, and support training programs.   

Secure funding

Migrating to the cloud is, undeniably, a big financial commitment. Make sure you secure proper funding ahead of time. You don’t want to find out midway through your migration that you’ve run out of funds, potentially leaving your network vulnerable to security lapses or failure. 

Factors that affect cost include:

  • Data storage
  • Tools for testing and monitoring
  • Processing power
  • Security services
  • Employee training and recruitment

CFOs, CIOs, CTOs, and other executives should work together to create a financial plan for the migration, signing off on funding.

Assign a cloud architect

With executives on board and money in the bank, start digging into the nuts and bolts of your migration. First, you will need a cloud architect. Your cloud architect is your migration leader and essentially, your cloud migration project manager: they are responsible for planning and executing each stage of the migration. 

Their role includes:

  • Defining the refactoring required for a successful migration
  • Designing the strategies for the migration
  • Defining the cloud requirements
  • Determining migration priorities 

There are many moving parts to cloud migration. A good cloud architect will keep the migration on track from start to finish.

Map out your existing infrastructure

The next step of the preparation process is to understand your existing infrastructure. You have to know where you’re starting to get to where you want to go.

One of the best ways to do this is to visualize your network infrastructure.   

Lucidchart can help you map out your current state and plan your future state. Easily document business processes, visualize your systems, and share insights directly with your organization. 

Company High Level Systems Overview
Company High Level Systems Overview Template (Click on image to modify online)

Lucidchart’s extensive shape library makes it easy to accurately build out your on-premise network. You can even create your own shapes in a custom library so you have exactly what you need to communicate your plans clearly with your team. 

Visualizing your data and processes makes it easy for both IT and non-technical team members to understand business operations and transition to new systems and processes seamlessly.

2. Plan your migration strategy  

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful migration, start planning your migration strategy. 

Choose your level of migration

Determine what level of migration you will be implementing. Not all organizations commit to a full migration—in fact, the majority don’t (and many can’t). 

Shallow vs. deep integration

Cloud migration can be shallow or deep. 

A shallow integration (also called lift-and-shift) involves moving your application(s) to the cloud as-is, with little to no changes to the applications except what is required to run them successfully in the new environment. 

During a deep cloud integration applications are modified so you can take advantage of cloud capabilities like auto-scaling, dynamic load balancing, and serverless computing.

Single cloud vs. multi-cloud

Organizations can migrate to a single cloud or multiple cloud providers. 

A single cloud approach is typically simpler to implement but limits your service-level agreement terms and options. In other words, a single cloud is a one-size-fits-all approach. If your needs are simple or align with one vendor’s services, a single cloud integration may work just fine.  

On the other hand, a multi-cloud approach, though more complex to integrate, offers businesses greater flexibility to create the environment they need. 

A multi-cloud solution gives organizations the flexibility to pick and choose providers based on each vendor’s unique strengths and advantages. For example, you may rely on one provider to handle your data storage needs and another for serving applications in production.  

3. Planning your cloud infrastructure 

With your strategy in place, you can then plan out your cloud infrastructure (all the hardware and software components.

Map out your future state plans

With a clear picture of your current state, the next step is to map out your future state plans. What will your future processes, cloud infrastructure, and environment look like? How will your new cloud infrastructure solve the problems of your current environment?

Categorize your workloads and desired outcomes so you can evaluate which cloud provider(s) best meets your requirements. This step is crucial for scoping out a migration that anticipates and mitigates challenges and roadblocks during the migration process. 

Use Lucidchart to visualize your infrastructure and create a clear map of your plans in one shareable location. Use layers to quickly toggle between the current and future state maps, so it’s easy to see what changes are needed to bridge the gap and achieve your future state.

Cloud Migration Future Current State Template
Cloud Migration Future and Current State Template (Click on image to modify online)

Plus, features like an extensive shape library and Visio stencil import for Cisco, AWS, GCP, and Azure networks give you the tools you need to plan and orchestrate a seamless migration. 

Assess readiness

After you’ve defined your future state, compare it against your current state to determine whether your applications can be migrated easily or if they will need remediation. 

This readiness assessment provides a gap analysis of your organization and helps you identify which applications are ready for migration. 

Establish your KPIs and performance baselines

Cloud migration is a big undertaking. How will you know if it was successful? 

Establish your current performance baselines and define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so you can accurately measure your cloud performance. Your KPIs might include the following metrics to evaluate categories like user experience, infrastructure, and business engagement:

  • Page load time
  • Lag
  • CPU usage percent
  • Conversions

When you understand your baseline performance (i.e., current performance benchmarks), you can validate post-migration performance and even diagnose problems that arise during migration.

Features like data linking help you monitor your progress and ongoing performance right from Lucidchart. Simply link your metrics to your migration plans so you always have your finger on the pulse.

Consider data security

Migrating to the cloud introduces unique security risks and challenges. As you plan your migration, there are a few key ways to ensure a secure transition:

  • Encrypt sensitive data.
  • Prioritize compliance.
  • Create a data loss prevention plan.
  • Conduct due diligence when researching service provider options.

You may also consider conducting a phased migration. Instead of migrating your workloads all at once, you can do so in batches to ensure every piece is fully secured and manageable.

4. Make the transition

The last step is to dive in and make the transition to the cloud.

Though cloud migrations can be complicated, a well-laid plan can prepare you for a successful and manageable transition. Confidently start your transition with up-to-date diagrams and visual cloud migration project plans that are accessible to everyone involved. 

Visualizing your migration at each step of the transition lets you rely on a single source of truth when questions arise, ensuring everyone has the context they need to build a secure, compliant, and stable infrastructure. 

See how technical professionals can gain visibility into their existing tech and create a vision for future innovation within Lucidchart.

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