Ultimate Cloud Migration Project Plan for SMBs

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Cloud migration is a top priority for companies today as they aim to take advantage of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Data by Logic Monitor shows that 83% of enterprise workloads will be on the cloud by 2020.

The benefits of migration to the cloud are far-reaching, but the process is often complicated and challenging. In this post, we’ll discuss a cloud migration project plan and its considerations for small and medium-sized businesses.

The Ultimate Cloud Migration Project Plan For SMB’s

For many organizations, the main reason for cloud migration is that the legacy applications they work on are a poor fit with today’s modernized business environment. Consequently, a bigger percentage of organizations’ IT budgets are going towards a move to the cloud. 

The benefits of cloud migration include but are not limited to:

Scalability: With cloud computing, you have the agility to scale your IT infrastructure up or down based on your business’ growth.  You get to pay as you grow, saving your small business the cost of underutilized IT assets. 

Reduced costs: With a cloud environment, you only pay for the resources that you use. Your secure cloud provider will be responsible for IT asset maintenance and upgrades, which would be different if you were managing an on-prem server. Cloud migration is a solid plan for reducing capital and operating expenses in a small business.

Limitless storage: Cloud migration enables the expansion of your data storage capacity in line with your business needs. Cloud providers often offer storage as a service, or as part of the whole cloud migration services package.

Flexibility: On the cloud, you can test and deploy your apps with ease. The hosting is more reliable than what you get with a regular data center, and since you only pay for what you use, it’s far more flexible too. 

Better mobility: Users can access their files wherever they are and on all devices. For that reason, cloud computing can enable flexible working hours in your organization. Employees can meet deadlines even when they are out of office.

Read more about cloud computing:

The hype about cloud computing

Wary of moving to cloud storage?

Reasons to move to the cloud with Office365

Cloud Migration Project Plan Example

Migrating workloads and applications to the cloud is an intricate process. A well-structured approach is needed for an effective and safe migration. There are often endless business and technical factors to consider, such as the type of cloud to opt for. 

These should be reflected in your strategy, as shown below in the cloud migration template.

Step 1: Plan

This stage of the cloud migration plan is where you think about your existing data and determine the kind of migration tools you will need. Therefore, it is critical to start by identifying the performance metrics of your existing IT infrastructure and its constraint on your business. It’s important to consider how you will migrate data to the cloud. 

You should also assess your existing IT environment to find out which applications can be moved as they are and which ones need redesigning. The critical consideration in this assessment includes hardware, network and application complexity, costs, and security architecture. 

The next step is finding the right cloud provider. That entails choosing between different public cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, and Google Cloud Platform.

You can also go with a multi-cloud strategy where you work with two or all of these cloud platforms, depending on the network capabilities, performance, security, support, and regulatory compliance that each provides.

Step 2: Migration

The migration stage is the most complicated on the list. Before you go live, applications selected for migration should be tested with similar procedures for the Development Life Cycle (SDLC).  Software tools with machine learning capabilities can help to visualize the entire system end to end. They can help with performance monitoring, stress testing, and root cause analysis for a smoother deployment.

You similarly need to prepare and train your entire organization, especially if the migration is large scale or involves sensitive data. Your employees need to know how processes will run on the cloud and what the application architecture might look like.

It is critical to carry out a stepwise migration to minimize downtime in your business. The best practice is to migrate the least complex apps first and leave the mission-critical applications for last. Some organizations prefer a parallel operation model (using cloud-based and on-premise applications) first before fully transferring to the ported applications.

Step 3: Monitor  

High-Level monitoring and support are necessary post-migration to resolve any unforeseen challenges. Regardless of how smooth the migration was, testing is needed on many dimensions, including application performance, integration, and security.

Performance testing helps to ensure that applications have multi-user functionality on the cloud and that they work as expected on all devices. Security testing establishes the degree of encryption, access authorization, and the data integrity of all ported apps. On the other hand, functional testing helps to identify app speed and run-time errors, browser and device compatibility, and integration glitches. 

In a nutshell, before the cloud migration process, you need to carry out a cost-benefit analysis and lay down the end goals for the move. You then need a technical feasibility analysis to identify the right migration method. The migration needs to be stepwise to minimize downtime. Rigorous testing and monitoring are then done after the move to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

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