The next wave of data migrations will involve companies moving applications that literally run their business, not only to enable scalability and business agility, but also remain competitive. A poorly executed migration can lead to outages, data loss, wasted time and money, and even the loss of jobs.
Here are some best practices to help achieve the migration results you want and build a strategic foundation for future migration opportunities.
Current State: Start Here
The first consideration should be a current state assessment of your technology environment. A current state assessment is the most important step of the migration process because it provides critical insight into the IT assets across your entire infrastructure, including the following:
- The hardware currently utilized to support your applications and workloads
- Any obsolete, end-of-life, or legacy applications or devices
- Virtual servers and current and unknown software
- The dependencies for each application and workload, and where they are hosted
- The applications and workloads that are candidates for migration
When successfully migrating to the cloud, a new data center or new infrastructure, it’s important to know how applications function today, in their current state. As you look toward your migration objectives, focus on three important requirements: (1) what is your physical infrastructure (physical inventory), (2) where are your applications/workloads hosted, and (3) are there any network dependencies (logical discovery) and what criticality level is the application (criticality level)?
Gathering these streams of information will provide the answers for what you need to do with your applications when you migrate.
Future State: Create Impact Across the Business
You have established what your current state is; now, it’s time to plan out where you’re going. Carrying over the “why” of your migration, how does your future state strategy solve your current state problems?
Plan out where your applications will reside based on best-fit and project scope. Will you focus on migrating workloads to the cloud? Perhaps a more user-friendly platform? Are you migrating “as-is” or will new servers and infrastructure be deployed? The architecture of your future state will be a critical point of reference in the migration process—it needs to be done right. A poorly-designed or absent future state plan can derail the entire migration or create roadblocks throughout your entire organization. Don’t skip this step. Know where you’re going!
The Plan: Design Your Roadmap
With a solid current state and a defined end state, the next step is to assess readiness and the migration approach. “Readiness” checks assess the current state and whether the application can be easily migrated to end state without remediation. Understanding any technical impediment to migration is critical to understand and mitigate at this stage. The readiness states of your applications and the end state strategy will define the migration approach.
It is time to build your migration plan, confirm your migration tooling and start detailed dependency tracking. This means mapping out your KPI’s, migration waves and resource plan. In addition, you'll need to build the appropriate applications, infrastructure and support requirements needed to move to the target destination, which can be a public and private cloud, colocation or managed service.
Depending on the size and scope of your migration strategy, consider outsourcing or partnering with a Migration expert who will take both your current and future state into consideration and leverage a trusted process.
The Migration: Put the Plan into Action
With everything in place and your plan laid out in front of you, it’s time to commence migrations. In taking the time to plan the process carefully, you have laid the foundation for smoother, lower risk migrations. Depending on the complexities of your organization or business processes—including factors like file path mapping, user credentials and hardware configurations—migrations can involve huge changes and critically specific details, so a thorough approach is the key to success. It’s also essential to test comprehensively before going live.
Migrations can be a complicated operation, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. By breaking down each step, practicing due diligence, and understanding the process, you’ll be on your way to future state in no time.
Partner with Align
Align brings over three decades of experience and a comprehensive approach to migrations, ensuring the very best in current and future state assessment and results-driven migrations to get you where you want to be. If you’re already dreaming about your future state, let’s start a conversation and find the solution that’s best for you.