Cloud computing has come a long way over the years. Yet, only a few enterprises have managed to master the art of cloud migration. The secret to a successful migration lies in a well-defined, phased and iterative approach that not only streamlines the process but also accelerates the outcome. Here is one road map to assist others in transforming their migration journey:
Phase 1: Plan
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Planning thus becomes the most critical part for a cloud migration program. Key focus areas in this phase include program management setup, portfolio analysis and cloud architecture and operating model layout.
- Program management setup: The program management office (PMO) plays a major role in managing all aspects of the planning phase, from facilitating strategy building to program governance and benefits realization. The PMO ensures strong leadership commitment, sustained change management, program strategy alignment, rigor in project execution and decision-making governance.
- Portfolio analysis: Analyzing the application portfolio helps in providing adequate representation of applications in scope. Application dependency information helps plan the sequence of application migration. It further pushes the business case for enterprise cloud migration.
- Cloud foundation and operating model layout: The cloud foundation is comprised of landing zones. A landing zone is a standard set of secured cloud infrastructure with built-in policies, standards, guidelines and centrally managed services. Creating a strong foundation through landing zones is crucial for a scalable and sustainable enterprise AWS cloud model. As cloud computing becomes the paradigm for delivering business, technology operating models need to evolve and add more cloud-centric capabilities. A cloud operating model is the framework for putting core elements together in a more agile, productive and valuable way.
Phase 2: Assess
During the assessment phase, applications are analyzed in detail for future disposition. A cloud architecture and cloud operating model help lay the foundation for migrations. Consider the following:
- Macroanalysis: Macroanalysis of applications, leveraging a proven cloud readiness and assessment framework based on business value, IT efficiency and cloud suitability ensures a clear migration road map. It also identifies enterprisewide concerns around security, networking, technical, operational, organizational, regulatory and financial.
- Microanalysis: With the macroanalysis already performed, it is time for the deep dive. Microanalysis facilitates the understanding of current state architecture and defines cloud architecture based on patterns developed during macroanalysis. It concludes with the preparation of the detailed migration plan and effort estimates.
- Cloud foundation and operating model design: The design should adhere to enterprise security and networking policies. Account and VPC structure needs to be designed based on cost allocation, resource management and ownership and security and compliance isolation. People, process and technology are the core elements of the cloud operating model. These should evolve to achieve cloud operating model goals, thereby increasing the value for the business and operations. People skills and experience are geared toward becoming more cross-functional, spanning a wider range of service components and use cases. Processes are then realigned around services instead of technologies, while tools and technologies are selected for effective implementation and automation of processes.
Phase 3: Migrate
During this phase, foundation cloud architecture and operating model are implemented, and the first set of applications identified as quick wins are migrated. The set should include a varying complexity of applications across different business units. Also, during this phase, it is important to take a proactive approach to change management. Consider the following:
- Cloud foundation and operating model implementation: This step enables setting up landing zones including accounts, VPC, network connectivity, IAM Roles, policies and deployed workflow. Shared services and tools are also provisioned. In the cloud operating model, key processes are rolled out and teams are mapped to the new cloud-centric roles. This is followed by rolling out of subsequent processes leveraging the key learnings from the existing implementations. This ensures seamless integrations with current systems through the installation of selected tools.
- Initial migration: The first set of applications is migrated as quick wins. The successful migrations help understand the portfolio and add to the confidence of the applications team. Importantly, it also lays down the foundation for repeatable migration patterns.
- Change management: Effective change management is pivotal to the success of a cloud migration program. Change champions are involved to ensure co-creation of the future road maps and smooth cultural shifts. Continuous knowledge sharing and training is performed to evolve skills and include them in the transformation journey.
Phase 4: Scale
After initial application migration, it is time for enhancing scalability and accelerating the cloud migration journey. While shifting the focus to scalability, it becomes important to keep a tab on cost and security. Consider the following:
- Large-scale cloud migration: Harnessing the migration factory model is the best approach to target large-scale migrations. Based on the migration pipeline and supported by best-of-breed tools and specialized core/flex teams, it brings reliability and efficiency to the process.
- Operating model optimization: Costs can escalate quickly. It is therefore essential to keep a check on it and optimize through policies, processes and monitoring. It requires streamlining financial management by ensuring standardized tagging on all cloud resources.
- Hybrid cloud model optimization: During this transition phase, both on-premises and cloud models are managed. The cloud model is further enhanced and optimized based on new services and tools.
DevOps Automation – The Key Ingredient
Cloud migration is a great time for enterprises to rethink their operational processes and improve the efficiency in managing and administering their portfolio. DevOps automation helps address the needs of a successful cloud migration while improving the operational efficiency of the services. This includes both infrastructure and application deployment automation. Additionally, standard templates and scripts significantly accelerate the buildout of future environments. DevOps also brings a number of business benefits including repeatability, auditability, significantly lower deployment risks and faster iteration cycles—all crucial to improved operational excellence, better security posture and improved competitive advantage.
About the Author / Aarti Sahni
Aarti Sahni is a technology leader with a wealth of experience in applying technical and operational expertise to create business value. Aarti’s expertise spans Practice Management, Cloud Computing, Architecture, and Program Management. In her current role at Virtusa, Aarti contributes to business growth by leading a number of pursuits and practice competency development. She also oversees several cloud programs ensuring desired outcomes for clients. Aarti has led a number of large transformations including cloud migrations, DevOps and cloud operating model to drive revenue, reduce costs and increase productivity. Aarti received a Master’s in Computers Application from Delhi University and completed an Emerging Leader Development Program at Columbia Business School in New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.