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    3 Best Practices For Migrating To a New Cloud Platform

    March 1, 2021

    The dreaded “end of life” (EOL) scenario. It’s not exactly music to one’s ears. It’s the flashing neon light that essentially reads, “It’s time to make a change.”

    Change can be scary. Yet, it can also be an opportunity, especially when changing cloud platforms. That’s the case whether you’re interested in a platform that gives you more options, more control, or more availability.

    To help you make this as seamless as possible, here are three best practices for efficiently migrating your data and workloads to a new cloud platform.

    1. Perform a full discovery on your existing environment

    Undergo a full discovery on your existing environment.

    Identify the workloads you’re running, how they’re running and how they’re interacting with each other. Pinpoint all your application interdependencies and your networking requirements. Build a complete assessment of what your environment looks like today.

    Once you have that assessment, perform an analysis to see if all your applications can be migrated to the new platform as they are, or if you need to clean them up first. For example, maybe you’ve been running in your current environment for years and you have thousands of firewall rules that no longer apply. It’s important that you update this.

    Before doing anything, you must first determine if your applications are running on supported software versions or operating systems (OS), or if they must be updated to successfully migrate to the new platform. It’s important to remember that migration tools often do not support outdated software nor will migration services vendors accept the risk of migrating outdated applications.

    1. Identify your target environment

    You can’t migrate to a new cloud platform before you identify what that platform is. This may seem like a simple undertaking, but you’d be surprised.

    To determine the best platform for you, you must evaluate things like your hardware stacks and interoperability. Think about your target environment – what you want it to look like and what you need in a new platform – and identify the business outcomes you’re hoping to accomplish. In addition, be sure you fully understand your budget, timeline, applications, developer requirements and the internal resources being supported by the environment.

    Once you’ve created a clear picture of what you need from your future environment, then it’s time to do some analysis.

    1. Identify your migration waves and tools

    With a clear understanding of your current environment, your targeted new environment as well as the business’ expectations for your end state, determine what you plan to migrate and how you plan to do it. These are your migration waves.

    For instance, does a particular application have to be migrated before another? Can they all be migrated together, or does the process require a specific order? Do any of your applications have hard-coded IP addresses? 

    Furthermore, make sure you know if you’ll be able to perform a “lift and shift” migration or if you’ll need a more transformative migration where application and OS versions will require updating.

    After your migration plan has been plotted out and vetted, identify what tools you’ll need for the migration, and then test your migration in a network bubble. This ensures your plan will work before the ‘live’ migration.

    Don’t make things harder on yourself

    Change isn’t always bad. Oftentimes, it can even be good for you. But shifting cloud platforms – especially when one platform is being retired – can be especially difficult if you haven’t been keeping up with your environment lifecycle maintenance.

    Maybe you designed your environment years ago and haven’t been taking advantage of the cloud’s benefits. Maybe you’re over-utilizing resources or using outdated technology. Maybe you don’t have the personnel with the required skillsets to upgrade or adapt your environment to meet your business needs.

    Whatever the situation is, don’t wait until your back is up against the wall. By performing a complete discovery on your current state, identifying your target environment, and identifying your migration waves, you’ll be well-positioned to successfully migrate cloud platforms should the situation call for it.

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