On-Premise to Cloud Migration Plan: Checklist 2022

Moving to the cloud? Create a cloud migration plan!

Regardless of whether you’re moving your system to the cloud for security, compliance, or cost reasons, it’s always a good idea to migrate your physical server to the cloud. However, we know it might not seem so straightforward at first glance. A well-developed cloud migration plan  will ensure you aren’t missing anything and will also ensure you’re fully benefiting from the cloud.

You should be looking at moving to a cloud-based server for 4 reasons:

  1. Better security and backups
  2. Higher compliance with industry standards
  3. New business models
  4. Integrated use of cloud-adapted apps

Each of these can bring a massive boom to your business and may even change the way you operate. Additionally, the cloud can make issues like disaster recovery much easier and faster.

Why Businesses Use The Cloud

It’s no secret that the cloud can be extremely beneficial for all businesses. That’s why companies worldwide are switching their on-premise servers to the cloud. Below I look at the 4 main benefits the cloud can offer your business:

1. Security and Backups

Even before cloud computing became lucrative, many companies used the cloud for security and backups. Large cloud providers can offer a service  that isn’t cheap or easy to replicate locally.

The cloud secures and saves your information globally on multiple servers. With the cloud, cyberattacks and other tech disasters are much less likely to disrupt your working day. Even if you lose everything locally, it’ll all still be on the cloud.

Data on the cloud is also safe from any internal mistakes. You’ll only lose the latest updates to your deleted files, provided you catch the errors in time.

2. Industry Compliance

In modern business, legal security is just as important as digital and physical security. You are responsible for making sure your practices are not illegal and good software helps streamline this process. 

For instance, many industries have strict mandates like HIPAA, GDPR, or CCPA. To comply, your company needs to use strict rules to keep data secured. Those rules often change too quickly to keep up with.  However, with a cloud provider you can ensure your data is always compliant with the latest rules. They take on the legal responsibility if something isn’t compliant and youwon’t need to update your system each time a mandate changes.

3. Dispersed Business Models

Before the cloud, single on-premise servers were very restrictive for remote workers. Remote workers  couldn’t access the resources they needed unless they were on-site. Now, though, the cloud lets you leverage the benefits of flexible business models, like remote working. 

Cloud-based solutions also allow you to recruit talent globally. The cloud also helps you offer the same access to company resources to everyone, regardless of location. That significantly reduces the costs of doing business and drastically increases the amount and quality of the talent you can find.

4. Use of Cloud Apps

Cloud apps and programs are relatively new, but they’re still popular. That’s because they all offer many use-cases for many industries.

Take Google Docs, for example. It allows you to write and share documents seemingly instantly across the globe. We can also mention more specialized apps such as SAS or FileMaker. These use the cloud to ensure continuous validation between the files and new inputs.

Next, we’ll go a bit deeper into what cloud migration is. Specifically, we’ll focus on the different types of cloud migration, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Image of large on premise servers.
A cloud migration plan removes the costs of operating on-premise servers!

What Is Cloud Migration?

As the name suggests, cloud migration involves moving data from one location to the cloud.  For example, you could be moving from on-premise servers to the cloud. Alternatively, you could move between two cloud services. 

Cloud migration isn’t just about backing up your files to DropBox. The results may be the same, but cloud migration includes additional steps. Here are 3 things to look out for when migrating to the cloud:

  1. Your system needs to remain operational for the entire move
  2. The new system should reflect the relations in the old one
  3. New files should be accessible to the same people and to the same degree

Clearly, cloud migration is much more intricate than a simple backup. You need to migrate in stages so that the migration itself is barely noticeable. You also don’t want your cloud migration to impact your regular operations. Finally, you need to test all your current apps and ensure they work with your new system.

Because of this, cloud migration involves a lot of back and forth. You’ll need to test and ensure the validity of each new segment andclassify files by their importance. This way, you’ll know when you need to be extra careful.

Before you create your cloud migration plan, you’ll need to  touch upon system topologies. Simply put, your system topology is how you organize your company internally, with departments, managers, and employees.

System Topology and Company Hierarchy

Your network topology is quite important when it comes to your cloud migration plan. Before your cloud migration, you may have created node connections with simple cabling solutions. After your migration, this same solution may need you to integrate it as programmed assigned access. Your topology should account for these changes. This will ensure your network efficiency doesn’t suffer from cloud migration.

The best course of action in this regard is to work counter-intuitively. Transfer data from the top to the bottom. The most essential and delicate information should be migrated first. At that point, the access to cloud resources will be only available to the higher echelons of the company.

Next, the hierarchy will branch out to the people in sector management. The owner and system admin will receive master passwords. Everybody else will have access to their sector and the devices/ resources under it.

You may also need to compartmentalize several layers. People at the same level can share cloud access, but no one can access higher information tiers. Someone from that tier needs to invite them.

Further, we’ll look at  the types of cloud migration. You need to know the different types of migration because you’ll have to adapt your cloud migration plan based on the approach you choose. After that’s done, we can focus on  the checklist. 

Types of Cloud Migration

Depending on your exact goals, you’ll need different cloud migration types. In general, you don’t need to move everything immediately. It might be good to use this migratory period to implement other changes.

Depending on how much data you’ll transfer at once, you can choose between 3 types of cloud migration:

  1. Shallow Migration
  2. Compliance Migration
  3. Advanced Migration

All three will give you the benefit of security and new business model potential. But they can lack some of the specifics shown in other options. Still, you can mix and match all three types and take the best of each.

Total transfers are rarely worth it. In fact, instant complete migration can be very problematic. First, focus on what you need most. Then, move on to other files..

Type 1 – Shallow Migration

Shallow migration can help reduce on-premise maintenance costs and improve security. This type moves your on-site server to a cloud provider. It creates little to no loss to the structure. You’re simply lifting your apps and placing them in the cloud. 

The cost and time expenditure of this method will depend heavily on your server’s size and demands. For small operations, this is by far the easiest option and you can do it quickly.

For larger companies with complex hierarchies, shallow migration would take much longer. It’d also require additional expertise and precautions. As a result, larger companies don’t often go for  shallow migration because its benefits don’t offset the hassle. 

Type 2 – Compliance Migration

Compliance migration is probably the most common route for most companies. In this case, the cloud service ensures compliance with privacy and security laws. You’ll ensure the data you move still complies with all laws. 

This type is usually very simple and easy to do. The necessary compliance moves are already available. You simply slowly push all your apps and data to the cloud server.

Yet, compliance migration removes some of the benefits of keeping data on the cloud, especially when it comes to disaster recovery. This type doesn’t offer enough redundancy. Even the best local servers with RAID data validity verification and professional security aren’t safe from natural disasters. In that case, your data would simply be lost. 

Type 3 – Advanced Migration

The offer of cloud services increased, and more businesses recognized that some solutions are only available on the cloud. In those cases, businesses tend to want to use the full spectrum of cloud services. They’ll start with the services that bring the most benefits right away.

For instance, a company might move visual resources to the cloud. They’ll share these resources with talent working worldwide, or with influencers in the new market. This way, the company reaches new solutions without adding anything to the HQ. The cloud service helped them reach out to new markets.

This approach gives your company new solutions. It also helps you grow very quickly. Switching can also go at the pace most comfortable for your company. Advanced migration wouldn’t create any issues with normal operations.

Still, type 3 needs more advanced knowledge. You’ll need a complete plan for how you’ll use cloud services. You’ll also need to know where these services will have the biggest impact.

By now, you should be able to select one of the above migration types for your company. Next, let’s focus on the checklist itself. Once you know where you’re going, it’s easy to simply push forward. Then, you’ll recognize that cloud migration isn’t a difficult process.

Image of a lady leaning on a server.
Adopt different approaches for your cloud migration plan.

Cloud Migration Checklist

In total, cloud migration should be a 15-step program. First, you’ll determine what you want. Then, you’ll identify how you aim to get there. Finally, the steps will guide you through your whole cloud migration plan. It’s much easier and cheaper to plan than to execute wrongly. I’ll show you an overview of each step in the table below.

Step NameMain QuestionMigration Stage
1.Business evaluationWhy do you need it?Idea Stage
2.Establishing Goals and KPIWhat’s the goal?Idea Stage
3.Identify stakeholdersWho would be involved/affected?Idea Stage
4.Form a teamWho’s going to execute the migration?Planning Stage
5.Understand users and customersWhat do your customers want?Planning Stage
6.Select migration methodHow will you migrate?Planning Stage
7.Analyze costsHow much will it all cost?Planning Stage
8.Choose a cloud environmentHow much privacy and security do you need?Migration Start
9.Select deployment modelHow many services do you need from the cloud?Migration Start
10.Choose a cloud partnerWhich platform will you use?Migration Start
11.Make a data migration planWhat will go first?Migration Start
12.Finalize data migration planWhat will it look like in the end?Migration Start
13.Test application resourcesIs the software optimized?Post Start
14.Test workload resourcesAre the people optimized?Post Start
15.Adapt and assessWhat can you do better?Post Start
Everything involved in a cloud migration plan!

Prerequisites

Before you begin your cloud migration plan, you need to get a few things out of the way. You first need to know yourself, know the battleground, and finally know your opponent (your customers). When you analyze these three things, you can identify some potential problems. After that, you can change your solution to answer those pre-identified issues.

Honesty is an important part of the process. So is open communication inside the company. Honestly communicate your needs and ideas. This will save you a lot of trouble. You’ll also potentially miss some pitfalls of changing systems.

Patience is another key requirement. Although the timeframe for your cloud migration plan will vary, it’ll always be longer than you imagined. It’s better to be patient. Otherwise, you’ll be hasty and annoyed that the process is taking so long. 

Let’s start from the top and go through each of the steps.

Sector 1 – Idea Phase

Once you’re armed with patience and good company communication, you can start with phase one of your cloud migration plan. In this phase, you’ll determine what you want to do and how you’ll accomplish it.

Primarily, you’ll evaluate your business. Determine how it’ll work when your cloud migration plan is final. You’ll also need to identify the key players and those who will be affected by the change.

1. Evaluate the Business Purpose for Migrating to the Cloud

The type of migration you’ve opted for can mostly dictate your purpose. You should also have an even higher reason to change your current operations mode. Migrate with a plan, not just because it sounds nice.

If you know why you’re migrating, you’ll discern what you really need and what will be just for show. Otherwise, you may go for flashy features and neglect what might actually help your company.

Innovation and modernization can be as good of a purpose as any. However, you should note that the innovation process won’t show direct benefits. In that case, you’ll need to take things slow. Take on as little risk with the migration as possible.

Another reason could be to harness the benefits of cloud-based solutions. If that’s why you want to migrate, identify the specifics of the goals you have. Then, see how migrating to the cloud can help you reach your objective.

Finally, you may notice your competitors are already reaping the benefits of cloud services. You could develop a fear of missing out (FOMO), and decide that you also want to do the same. But beware. Acting rashly due to FOMO can lead to hasty mistakes. Instead, see how the cloud’s advantages apply to your company in particular.

Pro Tip

Make a pilot project within your company before you migrate to the cloud. It should be something where you can objectively measure KPIs without mistakes that could endanger the rest of the company.

2. Set Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Cloud Migration

This will easily instruct your direction going forward. Generally, your goals will be divided into operational benefits and cost benefits, depending on the route you take.

For operational benefits, you want to see a better user experience and business engagement. At first, this might not reduce your time and amortization costs. Yet, you’ll notice your company is easily accomplishing goals and getting an influx of new business. This, in and of itself, is a benefit for your business.

Your goals could also be focused on cutting costs with reduced infrastructure and amortization costs. You should aim to make fewer errors and mistakes. This route will keep your performance at the same level while lowering the number of resources spent on it.

Ideally, your goals should include both operational and cost benefits. Include KPIs from both categories. You should know where your business stands with these parameters now. Identify what you would consider a success.

When you start your cloud migration plan, you’ll see if your company has improved in some areas. You’ll also know if you made mistakes in the past as well. By defining goals for post-migration, you’ll realize those for pre-migration as well. 

Finally, make sure to identify the factors that might influence performance indicators. These may not be related to your cloud migration. Your internet connection, market movements, and public relations can all impact the performance.

Pro Tip

Focus on optimization before growth. It’ll be much easier to notice the benefits. Your business will be much more agile to take on future challenges if it’s leaner and has less overhead.

3. Identify Stakeholders

Before starting your cloud migration plan, identify who will be involved/affected in each step. This way, you’ll avoid unintentionally keeping someone outside of the loop. You also won’t fail your KPIs because of that mistake.

The stakeholders, in this case, can be divided into internal, external, and indirect. Each of these will handle the migration differently. You must approach them separately.

Types of Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are company owners, management, and employees. You need to tell these people what are the benefits of your cloud migration plan. This way, no one can accuse you of not taking their opinion into account.

Management and employees will provide key feedback on what they’re expecting. Additionally, they’ll know what training will be necessary to bring everyone up to speed. 

We can also mention external stakeholders. These will be your clients, customers, and suppliers. If some are connected to your databases, you need to notify them. This way, they’ll be expecting the changes when they happen.

Finally, indirect stakeholders don’t cooperate with your company, but your cloud migration plan will affect them. This mostly relates to market entities, like potential investors or competitors. While you don’t need to contact them directly, you’ll need to know they might react.

It’s important to identify your stakeholders and reach them properly. By doing so, you’ll see two benefits. Firstly, everyone will be at ease with the changes. Secondly, everyone knows what you’re expecting from them in all situations. 

Pro Tip

Approach your stakeholders wisely. Shift everything from tech speak to marketing speak. Presenting the change in a positive light will make it go much smoother.

Sector 2 – Planning Phase

This is where actual migration moves are starting. Now, you’ll need experts and dedicated personnel. During this phase, your cloud migration plan may change its parameters and direction. The main idea here is to show your plan’s real results.

Your experts also need to know who they’re working with. Then, they can determine users’ and customers’ needs. Your experts will give you the projected cost for your cloud migration plan, and you’ll see how you can reduce it.

This phase will give you a clear route on how the migration will happen. It’ll also build your confidence to execute it.

4. Assemble Your Migration Team

Knowing who will fulfill the migration process will prevent the whole plan from coming apart. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily need to look for help externally. You can resolve most issues inside the company.

Depending on the size of your company, your migration team can be a whole department. But it could also be just a few people. Regardless, it’ll always need these 4 aspects:

  1. Oversight
  2. Technical solution
  3. Training
  4. Explanation

Migration Team Members

For oversight, you’ll need someone from upper management. They typically have a better view of the bigger picture. This will be a person or a group that knows the KPIs and how the company works. They’ll be able to oversee the process and know if everything is on track.

Technical solutions help you with the data transfer itself. To this end, you need someone with practical expertise. They’ll know how to operate the cloud server and your on-premise server. This will usually be the system administrator or the crew they select.

Training should be done by middle management. You should inform them of the new system requirement. Tell them about new applications and policies. Then, middle management will transfer this information to the employees. For smaller companies, this will usually be the team leader. It could also be a dedicated person who has good relations with the rest of the workers.

Finally, the explanation includes the PR section. Those in charge of the explanation will inform any relevant stakeholders about what’s going on and what will happen in the future. Sometimes, the overseer can handle this task. But it’s even more beneficial if you get someone with interpersonal experience.

Pro Tip

Prioritize competency and adaptability. Your team members don’t need to be the most important people in their departments. They should simply be the best for the job.

5. Understand the Users

Before you start executing your cloud migration plan, you should know who uses your system and how. Otherwise, you’d focus on modernity and aesthetics instead of final utility. And that’s where most mistakes happen.

Primarily, you should consider your employees. After all, they’ll be using the resources on the server constantly. You should also note that not all applications on a cloud-based server will be the same. Some of them may be crucial for your operations, so you shouldn’t remove them carelessly.

Create the APIs before you make the change. This will reduce the impact and learning curve necessary for smooth operations. You need to ensure that everyone has access to the same resources they have now.

If you’re completely changing the backend, start with training sessions before the migration. In that case, employees should learn by proxy with colleagues who have passed the training. Then, they can teach the ones who still need to learn.

Customers and Clients

On top of that, consider your customers or clients. In many cases, switching from your current model to the cloud will change your service approach. Ideally, you only want to improve this service approach, not change it completely. Yet, sometimes, you need a complete change. In those cases, focus on creating a new solution that’s intuitive for both recurring and new customers.

In some cases, you may need a whole overhaul, especially if you haven’t updated in a while. If that’s your situation, consider keeping both systems in place for some time. Once your users get used to the new system, you can let go of the old one.

You should strive to make the new system more intuitive and easier to use for users. After all, you need to create better things for your users. You don’t want to change things for the sake of changing.

Pro Tip

Have a sandbox server. This way, you test all the changes you’re planning both internally and externally. You should also do the ‘grandma test on each new feature. Make sure all functionality is intuitive to all your users.
Image of an older lady smiling behind a laptop.
Your customers don’t have your information. Include them in your cloud migration plan!

6. Determine Migration Method

By now, you should know why you’re moving to the cloud and who will take care of the process. Next, you should see how you want to migrate. At the moment, companies can choose between 5 migration methods:

  1. Re-host
  2. Refactor
  3. Revise
  4. Rebuild
  5. Replace

All of these will have a similar result in the end, but with a significantly different dynamic. These approaches are nothing alike, even though they all start with the same letter. Some methods will be fairly simple yet limit your options, while others will be harder but allow for more room for change. Let’s see each of these.

Re-Host

This is a very simple option. Re-hosting will more or less move your system to a cloud-based host. First, you’ll make a backup with an identical topology. Then, you’ll slowly start to move systems from one to the other. In this case, both servers keep running until the cloud is fully functional.

The benefit here is familiarity. The company won’t need to adapt much, but it may make some crucial apps inaccessible. As a result, re-hosting isn’t a viable option for many companies. 

Refactor

Refactoring refers to a completely new system you’ll be creating on the cloud. You do this while your current system is operational. Usually, your systems will be fully built before the first groups migrate.

Refactoring can give you all the benefits that come from migrating your server to the cloud: cost reduction, simplification, and the newest innovations provided by AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

On the other hand, this method requires significant skills. You might want to include migration services for assistance here. It also comes with additional costs in labor and implementation. Finally, you risk getting it completely wrong and making the new system objectively worse than the old one.

Revise

This option is somewhere between the former two. You’ll model your cloud server based on how your current server operates. Then, you’ll revise and change things that need improvement or that would be unavailable with the new system.

In most cases, a revision will only need you to adapt to the fact that some familiar apps wouldn’t be available. A revision is also a great way to solve any major flaws in your current systems.

Rebuild

If you operate with custom or proprietary software, revisions might not be possible. In those cases, you’ll need to build entirely new software. This software should also work with the cloud-based server.

In these cases, you’ll be building a new application on a Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructure. A cloud partner will provide this PaaS.

This option lets you build something better than what you already have. You’ll also have extensive support from the cloud operator. They may share some pre-made solutions that you might adapt to your code.

Yet, rebuilding an essential app will always take a lot of time. More often than not, this will come at a considerable price.

Replace

This method removes many of the costs of new development or testing. Smaller companies completely switched to third-party applications and Software as a Service (SaaS).

In this case, you’ll change all the on-premise apps to the new ones. These will be available with the cloud service. The new apps will also integrate to resemble the old hierarchy but with new components.

This option is significantly cheaper than the others. It’ll still give you all the advantages of a developed cloud-based operation. Yet, it won’t need any of the additional coding and testing.

However, replacing might require quite a bit of employee training. New SaaS apps might also not look like what you’re used to. Some SaaS solutions even also have higher overhead costs than your native system.

Pro Tip

Pick your system by your competitive advantage. A small and agile company will have an easier time adapting, while a larger business will do better with SaaS solutions.

7. Analyze Cloud Cost

Your cloud migration plan should aim to improve your company’s bottom line, regardless of your other reasons. This improvement can happen virtually immediately or over time, but your return on investment (ROI) should be apparent in both cases.

To do so, you’ll need to analyze and determine the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the cloud services you’ll be taking. You’ll also do the same for the system you have now. You’ll need to compare the amortization and maintenance cost of the on-premise option with hosting and availability costs. (Cloud platforms and SaaS often cover these availability costs). 

Generally, cloud servers are considerably cheaper to use for many industries, but you can still find exceptions. For instance, videographers with a small studio will find cloud costs exorbitant compared to simple cloud backup storage. They won’t notice the many benefits that come with cloud servers. Videographers in particular have high storage demands and specific software demands. Comparatively, they have low operational requirements.

If your company consists of a few people who cooperate well and have good communication, you won’t need a server. Don’t rush into getting a server because you think it’s necessary, really consider how you’ll use it and if it’ll improve your bottom line.

Any comparable industry might find itself in the same situation. Other options might prove to be better. Ultimately, select the best option for your business.

Pro Tip

Visualize your calculations. Make two tables that cite direct and indirect costs in time, labor, investment, and cost for both on-premise and cloud services. Add the most conservative added business income to the cloud side. This is your calculation.
Image of the Amazon app on a Samsung phone.
Amazon is one of the biggest cloud service providers on the planet.

Sector 3 – Migration Phase

Steps 9 to 12 are where the migration actually happens. This process generally takes the longest. You may also need to jump between steps in different sectors. Yet, this is the last time you’ll need to make a choice before execution. Your cloud migration plan is now in motion.

When you’re ready to start this phase, ensure your company’s focus is at its peak. Everyone involved should already be well aware of the process.

8. Choose a Cloud Environment

Your cloud environment will depend on the type of company you run. It also pertains to the data you’ll be keeping in the cloud. Counter-intuitively, the more important your information is, the less a migration will cost. That’s because you’d go with a single private cloud server.

But this will also tie you down to a specific cloud service. If you want to change the provider, you’ll need to repeat the whole cloud migration plan.

Generally, cloud environments come in 4 types:

  1. Public cloud 
  2. Private cloud
  3. Hybrid cloud
  4. Multi-cloud

Not All Clouds Are Equal

A public cloud will be the cheapest. It’s a server you share with other companies. As a result, you won’t have any maintenance costs. A public cloud is also very agile and flexible and doesn’t have any predetermined rules.

Private clouds are servers dedicated to your business and your business alone. They’re extremely secure and regulation compliant. This server reduces legal liability for your company by ensuring non-compliant content isn’t present on the server.

Hybrid clouds are much less complex than they sound. Some of your data will be on public servers and other (likely more sensitive) information will securely be on dedicated servers. For most companies, especially larger ones, this will be the best option.

Many companies also use more cloud services at the same time. This is often called a multi-cloud environment. This is where the same app will be simultaneously connected to something like Microsoft Azure and AWS. Let’s consider the pros and cons of each model.

Pros and Cons of Different Cloud Environments

ProsCons
Public cloudNo maintenance costs
High scalability and flexibility
Reduced complexity
Flexible pricing
Agile and effective
Potentially high total cost
Decreased security
Minimal server control
Private cloudDedicated
Secure
Regulation compliant
Customizable
High scalability
Efficient
High costs
Minimal remote access
Limiting infrastructure
Hybrid cloudHigh scalability
High Flexibility
Minimal security risks
Workload diversity
High reliability
Improved security
Potentially high hidden costs
Disputable compatibility
Limited integrations
Complex
Multi-cloudNo vendor lock-in
High innovation
Faster speeds
Difficult monitoring
Increased security risks
Hard-to-find talent
Which is best for your cloud migration plan?
Pro Tip

Know what goes where. Daily data is stored on devices, while operational data is stored on public cloud servers. Critical and company data is stored on private servers, and crucial, secret information is stored on thumb drives. Choose your environment based on the data you have.

9. Select a Deployment Model

Your deployment model dictates how many of your services will be managed by your cloud service provider. You should know the deployment model can also affect how you’ll go about your cloud migration plan. You can choose one of 3 deployment models:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) 
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS) 

Your choice will depend mostly on the size and nature of your company. The bigger your business is, the less you’ll need from the platform. 

In general, the biggest companies will usually go just for IaaS, especially if they’re tech companies. They’ll get the whole infrastructure and develop what they need in-house. The IaaS provider will give you the actual servers and their constant availability, as well as storage and compatible connection/communication routes. Your company will take care of everything else internally.

Mid-range companies will need the PaaS to reduce costs. If you opt for PaaS, the provider will give you more services. That usually means some native apps, as well as compatibility with management, APIs, and oversight that would be given by the cloud service provider.

Smaller companies and those that have nothing to do with tech will go with SaaS. The provider will handle everything for them. If you choose the SaaS option, the platform will provide everything. This means the provider you choose will host, provide, and make your storage, data, apps, and reporting.

The last method brings the least control and, in most cases, it won’t be as optimized as custom software would. But, it’ll be the simplest one to use.

Pro Tip

Use what’s the most convenient for your company at the moment. You don’t need to overreach. You can always change your approach later.

10. Choose a Cloud Partner

At this point, you already know what your cloud server will look like once you make it. You should also already know your company’s requirements. Once that’s settled, it’s time to choose a cloud service operator.

Only international corporations can offer high-quality, secured cloud services. So your options are limited to these 3 global tech giants:

  1.  Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  2. Google Cloud
  3. Microsoft Azure

Regretfully, I can’t say which one of these is the best. All of these options are similar on most levels. AWS and Azure are fighting for first place with their features, yet Google Cloud is somewhat more affordable, albeit lacking in features currently..

However, all three are rapidly expanding their offerings. The best course of action at this point is to call an agent from all three services. Lay out your requirements, ask them if they can fulfill them, and find out at what price. Then, choose the partner with the best offering.

Pro Tip

Don’t second guess your choice. While ‘’the best’’ might change all the time, all of these services are good. Once you select one, stick to it unless you need a feature they don’t provide.

11. Create Your Data Migration Plan

First, you want to create your data migration plan. The partners above will all give you many options to execute your cloud migration plan. Before you select one, consider your customers. This may dictate the dynamics you choose for your cloud migration plan.

These dynamics dictate how your data will move to the cloud. At the moment, migration dynamics come in 3 major options:

  1. Bi-directional sync
  2. Upward sync
  3. SaaS sync

None of these are bad options for any business, yet some may be lengthier and require more expertise. Others will cost more upfront but be faster and easier to implement. The best for your company will completely depend on what you’re comfortable with. Let’s dissect each one.

Bi-Directional Sync

Your on-premise server and the cloud server will merge. Namely, they’ll operate as a single location where the customers will be able to connect to either one. The servers will also update each other.

Once all data and hierarchy move to the cloud, the on-premise server will be empty. Then, you can remove it.

Bi-directional sync is the fastest and easiest, but it also poses some dangers to your data. For instance, a cascade failure will erase your information from both servers. Because of this, you should always back up your servers, just in case.

Upward Sync

Upward sync is the traditional way of migrating servers. Everything will be on the on-premise server. All communication from customers will be through it. Then, the server will slowly clone itself to the cloud server. Once everything is up, you could switch servers.

Upward sync needs to test every segment without organic input. This means it’s rather slow and expensive. However, it’s still quite safe; few things may ever go wrong with it.

SaaS Sync

Finally, we have the SaaS option, also known as migration services. A platform will handle migration and integration. For instance, AWS has many options that would make this whole process significantly faster. This option is also more secure than bi-directional synchronization.

Pro Tip

Take things slowly. It’s always better to be slow and attentive than to solve mistakes. Prevention is always better than cure.

12. Finalize Your Cloud Migration Plan

At this point, you should have an outline of your cloud migration plan. After that, you want to make sure that you’re aware of the whole process before you even start.

To finalize your cloud migration plan, you should know which dynamic you’ll opt for. Then, ensure that all the stakeholders, employees, and migration teams, are aware of the predicted, optimal, and maximum time frames for the process.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a presentation for all relevant stakeholders in the process. This way, you can see if everyone is on the same page and knows what will happen. Explain the risks and possible problems that might happen. Then, establish protocols to solve issues efficiently.

Finally, set up some pilot projects for the migration. Test some of the ideas you have before the whole company commits to the migration. This will ensure that the data you were working with was correct and that the benefits are real.

Pro Tip

Take your time and test often. Server migration can take up to a year, depending on the work you need to do with your apps. Be methodical and patient.

Sector 4 – Post-Migration Phase

The final three steps happen when you’ve already started your cloud migration plan. In post-migration, you check if everything is working correctly. 

Here, you’ll be focusing on what can be better. You’ll see if you’ve missed anything. Finally, you want to check for any strains on the system that might become an issue in the future. This will include hardware, software, and workload strains.

13. Review Application Resource Allocation

You could  review resource allocation with the above pilot projects. You could even do it if you jumped into the migration with both feet. You’ll quickly notice that many apps won’t be used as expected.

This can be due to a minor miscalculation in resource allocation. It could also be due to something severely detrimental in the future. This is why you need to monitor resource allocation closely and make amendments when needed. Generally, you need to monitor 3 types of resources:

  1. Data bandwidth costs
  2. Time/labor costs
  3. Customer experience losses

Each of these issues can be hard to detect. In many cases, the creep of increased losses might not be instantly visible. The benefits may also be overshadowing losses.

Still, you should test if your users are having an easy time adjusting. You also want to know if the new apps are as efficient as the old ones. If you’re on a restrictive cloud plan, this also applies to bandwidth.

Finally, listen to feedback from customers. To this end, implement adequate reporting from your customer service department. Some back-end issues may also reflect on the front-end, like broken pages, website timeouts, or similar issues that can reduce sales without your knowledge. 

Pro Tip

Approach your services on both sides as a test. Especially if you have remote operations, you can have someone dedicated to using your services frequently. This way, they check if everything is working smoothly.
Image of a man being annoyed behind a laptop.
Your cloud migration plan should simplify your life, not make it harder!

14. Test Your Workload and Application Functionality 

Although they’re similar, testing functionality isn’t the same as testing resource allocation. Resource allocation testing shows you your losses. Conversely, workload and functionality testing helps you see if you’re gaining anything.

You’ll want to know if the new program is showing the benefits it was supposed to show. You also want to ensure the program is reaching the KPIs. Testing the workload functionality will also show if your employee training is showing results.

Testing the new app itself will be important. You want more features that are more intuitive. If your users are using fewer features, the app program or design may be flawed.

Pro Tip

Run stress-test drills for both the apps and the people using them. Devise situations where apps will be pushed to the brink of their capabilities. Then, run those tests in sandbox mode.

15. Monitor and Improve

Constant, truthful, and effective monitoring is essential in any business process. Your cloud migration plan isn’t any different.

Thankfully, the process is separated into categories. That means you’ll be able to monitor each point on the checklist separately. The migration team leader should report on what’s happening. You should also have independent supervision to give fresh perspectives.

If you notice something wrong, communication will be the key to solving any potential problems. This way, you’ll improve the system where possible or even bring in new features.

Effective monitoring involves knowing when to remove things that aren’t necessary. If you feel some features are useless, you should cut them out. This will prevent so-called feature creep and somewhat reduce costs. In the end, it’ll also make your business more agile.

To do this, you can revise all of the features you wish to implement. Then, cut down anything you find that isn’t necessary at the moment. You can also use services such as a GFI Cloud Cost Optimizer to manage this automatically. Additionally, bring in a third-party consultancy to give you a fresh view.

Pro Tip

Monitor and report from multiple venue points. You should have a person tasked with reporting for each level and each department. This information won’t be reviewed by people’s direct supervisors.

And there you have it, a 15-step cloud migration plan! If you want to follow this checklist, I’ll show you some cloud migration services you could recruit to help you with the process.

Top 3 Cloud Migration Services

On-premise to cloud migration can get quite complex. That’s why many services now offer to take some of the load off your company. These tools also bring in some much-needed experience.

Cloud migration services can also bring you something different. It’s up to you to decide where you need the most help. You should also know what you want the final product to look like. After that, you can contact one of these services to assist you with your cloud migration plan.

When you do that, the vendors will be able to match your wishes. Otherwise, they’ll develop options that might not suit your company. This would waste time and cost more, which is something everyone wants to avoid.

These platforms also offer flexible approaches. They’ll provide the infrastructure for the migration while you will move the system yourself. For bigger companies, this is a great option.

For startups and small companies, especially those with a lot of complexity and even more data, letting the professionals do most of the work will be faster and more reliable. It might also be cheaper.

Take a look at the top 3 choices on the market:

1. Navisite Services

Image of the Navisite logo.
Navisite gives you the tools for your cloud migration plan.

Navisite offers both advisory and functional roles for your on-premise to cloud migration. They have experience with a lot of industries and focus on flexibility, innovation, and cybersecurity.

The main benefit of Navisite is that it can guide a company from the first step. This service also provides insight into the best solutions currently available on the market. This might also include their own solutions that have been applied in other industries. 

The biggest downside is that Navisite makes you do the actual migration work. It doesn’t offer assistance with third parties such as AWS. They’ll give you the tools, but you’ll need to use them.

2. Accenture

Image of the accenture logo.
Execute your cloud migration plan with Accenture!

Accenture does the job for you. While they don’t offer as many innovations right off the bat, they’ll be able to assist with almost all items on the checklist.

In total, they offer:

  • Cloud migration discovery and analysis
  • Cloud migration strategy and planning
  • Sovereign cloud services
  • Cloud migration execution

If you want, this service will guide you through the whole process. It’ll even find the optimal options when it comes to the total cost of the migration and future total operating costs (TOC).

The downside here is that you’ll need to rely on your strengths to determine what you want. Accenture will only help you execute your own innovation.

3. NetApp

Image of the NetApp Logo.
Integrate customization in your cloud migration plan!

NetApp focuses primarily on customized solutions for your business, including cloud migration. While their service is fairly standard, it’ll be more than enough for most businesses.

They use tried and tested apps to organize and migrate your data. This makes the whole process relatively painless for your business. It doesn’t depend on the experience and expertise of the people working with you.

However, NetApp’s approach has a downside. You’ll need to know what moves don’t apply to your situation in particular. You might need to make custom solutions.

NetApp will assist in this case to a point, but some issues may be out-of-scope for them. You may have more luck elsewhere.

Final Words

On-premise to cloud migration is a long and arduous task. Essentially, you’re moving your entire system from terrestrial operations to the cloud. That said, cloud migration brings with it a lot of benefits and can even push your business to new heights. To fully harness these advantages, organize yourself with an inclusive cloud migration plan.

Depending on the size and requirements of your company, you’ll need to choose from the three cloud migration types I highlighted in this article. Then, you need to go through the checklist and ensure that you’ve done each step to the best of your company’s abilities.

Thankfully, assistance is available, and you should use some of the cloud migration services if you’re in doubt. In the end, this is a business decision, and you should focus on doing everything that will help you reduce costs, increase efficiency and stay digitally, physically, and legally safe.

Do you have questions about optimizing your cloud migration plan? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!

FAQ

What is AWS migration?

AWS or Amazon Web Services is one of the biggest platforms for cloud services in the world, next to Microsoft Azure and Google. AWS migration refers to using Amazon’s tools to move your business operations to cloud services operated by the tech giant.

Why do cloud migrations fail?

While the process itself isn’t that difficult, your cloud migration journey will take time. Becoming hasty and reckless in any step of the way can make the whole procedure fail. It’ll also push you several steps back. Your cloud migration plan should take into account any setbacks, but you also need to be patient.

What is Azure cloud migration?

Azure cloud migration refers to migrating your business operations to Microsoft Azure. After that, you’ll use this tech giant’s services to do that. Azure has many features and introduces new ones all the time, so it’s a very popular choice. If you ever follow a cloud migration plan, you’ll need to choose between Azure and its competitors, AWS and Google Cloud.

Why is cloud migration important?

Migrating to the cloud opens a company to a whole range of SaaS and PaaS solutions. It’s also one of the best solutions for easy disaster recovery. Finally, it also helps a company quickly adapt to remote work operations. Consider creating a cloud migration plan for your business.

What are the challenges with cloud migration?

Patience and adaptation are the greatest challenges when it comes to cloud migration. Because the process lasts so long, many companies falter and experience issues such as feature creep during the process. It’s always better to create a cloud migration plan and stick to it no matter what.

Resources

TechGenix: Part 1 Azure DevOps: Setting up a Repo and Creating a build Pipeline Article

Check out the first article in this three-part series on getting started in Azure DevOps.

TechGenix: Part 2 Azure DevOps: How to Create a Release Pipeline

Learn how to create a release pipeline in Azure DevOps in the second part of the series.

TechGenix: Part 3 Azure DevOps: How to Set up a Testing Plan

Learn how to set up a testing plan in Azure DevOps in the third part of the series.

TechGenix: Article on Azure Blueprints

Learn more about using automation to improve your deployments on Azure.

TechGenix: Article on Cloud Technology Benefits for Your Business

Learn all the ways how cloud technology can benefit your business.

TechGenix: Guide to Install Terraform on AWS EC2

Learn how to install the Terraform IaaC platform in AWS EC32.

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