Moving IT to a Public Cloud? Follow These 10 Best Practices

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2015-05-07
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - Moving IT to a Public Cloud? Follow These 10 Best Practices
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    Moving IT to a Public Cloud? Follow These 10 Best Practices

    by Chris Preimesberger
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    2 - Careful Cloud Migration Planning Will Pay Dividends
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    Careful Cloud Migration Planning Will Pay Dividends

    Consider the type of workloads that you ultimately want to run in the cloud and whether each will be a permanent move or occasional usage. As with most IT projects, your pilot should start with a simple application stack, not the most complex and mission-critical application you have.
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    3 - Take a Test-Drive of Your New Public Cloud
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    Take a Test-Drive of Your New Public Cloud

    It may sound obvious and almost unnecessary, but watch the "Getting Started" tutorial videos for your target provider, and start by building a new workload in the cloud. Once you have mastered this, try out a few free migration or import tools for moving existing workloads.
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    4 - Get to Know the Support Team at Your Cloud Provider
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    Get to Know the Support Team at Your Cloud Provider

    Eventually, you are going to be relying on your cloud provider to provide the support you need for operating some number of workloads off-premises. Test out the support team well in advance of your final vendor selection to avoid surprises after a cutover.
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    5 - Workload Profiling Is a Must for Migration
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    Workload Profiling Is a Must for Migration

    Early on, focus on use cases that are not highly complex or mission-critical. A great choice is to start with disaster recovery of workloads that are currently only protected with backup. You will gain public cloud experience while providing tangible benefits out of the gate.
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    6 - Migrate in Small Batches, Not as a Big Bang
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    Migrate in Small Batches, Not as a Big Bang

    Don't ignore that physics will limit your ability to rapidly upload workloads into the public cloud. Logically group a small set of virtual machines (VMs), import them and test thoroughly. Then, repeat the cycle with the next application stack. Start small and then advance as your skills do.
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    7 - Evaluate Options for Automated VM Conversion
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    Evaluate Options for Automated VM Conversion

    Virtually all public cloud providers provide import tools. However, many are quite limited. For example, many do not support multiple disks or have VM size limitations. Check third-party options if the limitations are problematic for you.
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    8 - Calculate Your Bandwidth Requirements
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    Calculate Your Bandwidth Requirements

    Surprisingly, this is often ignored early in the process to the detriment of the project. Size your application stacks together with your upstream bandwidth. For many companies, large workloads can take days to upload. Plan in advance, so you aren't caught off guard.
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    9 - Set Reasonable Expectations With Users
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    Set Reasonable Expectations With Users

    When you kick off your public cloud initiative, be sure to find some friendly and patient users for your alpha and beta testing. No doubt, your initial plan will have some wrinkles, and the last thing you need is angry constituents. Once a few simple migrations are accomplished, you can confidently engage more critical users.
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    10 - Develop a Comprehensive Test Plan
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    Develop a Comprehensive Test Plan

    You successfully migrated your first VM to the new cloud provider, and it powers on. Nice, but be sure to have real users test the instance. An instance is just part of a stack, so you might have missing configuration or other broken dependencies. Only someone familiar with the application will detect this.
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    11 - Grow Usage Once You Have Small Success in Hand
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    Grow Usage Once You Have Small Success in Hand

    As with any IT project, public cloud migrations can involve many unknowns. So it's important to get started with simple, non-critical workloads while you develop your cloud-based skills. Once you have experience, ramp up usage slowly to include more sophisticated applications. If you can engage experienced partners or colleagues to assist and demystify this cloudy domain, your path will surely be smoother.
 

You, as chief enterprise IT decision-maker, have finally decided that the time is right for your team to mothball most (or all) of its aging hardware and move as many operations as possible to new deployments on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Rackspace or some other public cloud provider. There are few more critically important decisions to make in this business right now. "Daunting" would an apt description, especially when resources are often thin and so many other projects need to be done. But the plan is in place, and it's time to get moving. Where is the best starting point? Who would be the best provider for my requirements? What are some of the pitfalls of which to be aware? How will security play into the overall move? In this slide show, developed using eWEEK reporting along with industry information and advice from Lynn LeBlanc, CEO of IT integrator Hotlink, we offer a practical menu of items that you should consider before making the leap to a whole new IT infrastructure.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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