1Moving IT to a Public Cloud? Follow These 10 Best Practices
by Chris Preimesberger
2Careful 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.
3Take 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.
4Get 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.
5Workload 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.
6Migrate 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.
7Evaluate 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.
8Calculate 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.
9Set 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.
10Develop 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.
11Grow 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.