Cloud Adoption—How to Migrate Your IT Services to the Cloud Without Creating a Hot Mess

Michelle DeFiore

With more businesses moving IT services into the cloud every day, few organizations still view local and on-premises IT infrastructure and apps as a complete solution for service delivery. There’s an issue here though—many IT professionals have said they don’t have the right skills and knowledge to create and manage IT cloud services effectively.

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With 40% of businesses saying they have at least a quarter of their IT service provisioned in the cloud, and with many more planning to migrate, a significant business risk is potentially being created. If you want to avoid downtime, deliver effective IT services, and enable your business during and after IT cloud adoption, you need a strong, solid approach.

Here’s an overview of what you need to do to minimize the risks when you migrate IT services to the cloud, and how ScienceLogic helps you make the most of your cloud investment.

Understand & Map Your Current IT Infrastructure

Before you think about migrating, you need to understand the current state of your IT infrastructure. You need to completely identify your locally installed IT services, applications, and infrastructure, and thoroughly review every aspect of your existing IT ecosystem.
In addition to updating your CMDB with asset details, you also need to understand all the interdependencies between your assets, applications, and IT services. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use automated, intelligent discovery to query your assets. That way you can find out how applications and assets are linked and plan migrations accordingly.

Involve Stakeholders from Across the Business & Get Application Owners in Place

A good migration plan is as much about the people as the process or the technology. Make sure you have a strong cross-functional migration team in place that includes IT service delivery, application owners, and business owners (i.e. the people in charge of the business areas that use the services you’re migrating). It’s vital to have proper accountability in place for planning, migration, testing, and monitoring.

Understand the Cloud-Based Architecture & Services You Will Need for a Flawless Migration

Now that you understand your existing IT infrastructure, you need to ensure the public or private IT cloud you choose has the capabilities to support your migration, and identify which assets and services are the best candidates for migration. Review the various services offered by the cloud provider and start your migration mapping—understand exactly where, when, and how you’re going to migrate each individual asset, service, and application to the cloud and how it will function once there. Carefully consider the costs associated with each cloud offering.

Create a Detailed Change & Release Management Plan, Considering Interdependencies

Naturally you will need disciplined, rigorous change and release management plans for your IT cloud migration. Ensure that every member of the migration team and your wider IT service organization understands their responsibilities. In particular, change and release management should:

  • Have a complete understanding of interdependencies between migrating services
  • Have robust rollback, redundancy, and failover plans
  • Ensure that all change and release plans are fully signed off and supported
  • Carry out low-impact test migrations to ensure the end-to-end migration process runs as planned

Migrate Services One at a Time, When they Won’t Impact the Business

You want to minimize business disruption as much as possible. Migrate services when failure will have minimal impact on the business. For employee-only systems, you might carry out migrations after hours. For customer-facing systems, complete migrations when concurrent user counts are at their lowest.

Get Effective Mapping & Monitoring in Place for Your Cloud IT Services

As soon as you’ve migrated services or applications to the cloud, it’s essential to add service assurance monitoring and reporting. ScienceLogic works across private, public, and hybrid clouds to continually monitor and alert you of any potential issues. Wherever possible, integrate your IT monitoring with your IT service management tools to enhance service delivery and assurance.

Thoroughly Test Services Post-Migration

Following a successful migration, it’s vital to test every aspect of your new IT cloud infrastructure. Get your application owners, business users, and other stakeholders to complete rigorous testing. Ensure that availability, responsiveness, and all other aspects of the services are working as intended.

Learn from the Migration

After migration, complete a debrief and postmortem process. Document what went well, what could be improved, and any key insights. Ensure this document helps to drive other migrations in future.

Cloud adoption doesn’t have to be chaotic and messy. With the right approach, engaged team members, an accurate understanding of current and future needs, powerful monitoring, and proper IT service assurance, your migration can be flawless.

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