Migrating to the cloud


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How to prepare your organization for a move to the cloud

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Migrating to the cloud

  1. 1. Migrating to the Cloud: How to prepare your organization for a move to the cloud By Richard Iwasa
  2. 2. 2 Table of Contents - Executive Summary - Introduction - Prepare - Identify - Assess - Plan & Execute Executive Summary When making the transition onto the cloud, companies are faced with many decisions. Among these decisions is determining what applications to move to the cloud and what to leave as is. It may be tempting to move everything to the cloud, but outdated or irrelevant applications may take up valuable space. If only select items get moved over, employees may find it frustrating trying to find applications scattered over the cloud and other locations. This whitepaper will go through four steps to help you determine what should be moved to the cloud. The steps are: Prepare: Familiarize yourself with cloud concepts and capabilities, while gathering information about your corporate business and technology landscape. Identify: Take an inventory of applications and see how core businesses and technological characteristics match with your corporate landscape. Filter your move-to-cloud inventory to a shortlist. Assess: Analyze business and technical issues, develop high-level architecture mapping and determine total cost of ownership. This brings you to your final list of candidates to be moved. Plan & Execute: Effort and timeline are determined, architecture designs are completed and migration begins.
  3. 3. 3 Introduction When first considering a move to the cloud, one decision you need to make is whether to use it for new projects or existing ones. In the latter case, it can be difficult determining which existing applications or systems are suitable candidates for migration. Having a structured evaluation process can help clarify the situation and provide input to business cases to justify the move. At a high level, there are four main phases in any evaluation: In the Prepare phase, you want to become familiar with cloud concepts and capabilities, and gather information about your corporate business and technology landscape. This includes both constraints and objectives. In the Identify phase, you take an inventory of applications and for each, see how the core business and technological characteristics match up against the corporate landscape. You use this information to filter the inventory down to a shortlist of candidates. In the Assess phase, business and technical issues are analyzed, a high-level architecture mapping is done, and total cost of ownership is examined to arrive at a final list of candidates. In the Plan & Execute phase, effort and timeline are determined, detailed architecture designs are drawn up, and the applications are migrated.
  4. 4. 4 Prepare If we take a closer look at the Prepare phase, the first thing to do is make sure you have a solid understanding of cloud computing concepts and knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of whatever cloud platforms you are considering. You also want to know all the business constraints you might have in your company, such as budget, resources, business cycles (e.g. business peaks during the holiday season) and legal/regulatory/compliance requirements. Knowing the business objectives is also important. This includes objectives such as cost reduction, better resource utilization, improving customer service or service delivery and better integration with partners. Finally, you should have an idea of the IT strategy and landscape, including preferred technologies, architecture principles and integration points. All of the above information helps to define risks and critical success factors and help you to assess the business value of an application and its migration. This enables you to focus on those that will have the highest value and/or biggest impact on the organization.
  5. 5. 5 Identify In the Identify phase, you want to start by creating an inventory of applications that should be considered for migration. Then for each, determine the core business attributes such as the value or impact (e.g. mission-critical, departmental) and the functions performed (e.g. HR, finance, inventory). Also gather the technical attributes for each system, such as the components used (e.g. web sites, web services, databases, file shares), technologies (e.g. Windows, Java, .NET), and interfaces (e.g. HRIS, ERP, EDI). After you have assessed each system, determine how well each aligns to the business and technical constraints and objectives from the previous phase. For example, you may have a legal requirement that data must be stored locally, but customer service can be improved through the ability of the cloud to scale. By now, you should be able to reduce the inventory of applications by eliminating systems with business constraints or objectives that can not be met, or technical issues that can not be overcome. This leads you to a shortlist of candidates. Tools such as decision matrixes or scoring systems can be used to help quantify decisions.
  6. 6. 6 Assess In the Assess phase, examine each shortlisted candidate in greater detail. Look at each business and technical issue that has been identified, and determine if the issue can be resolved. For example, if data can not legally be stored in the cloud (i.e. data-at-rest), can it be retrieved from a local store and displayed in the cloud as long as it is not persisted there (i.e. data-in-transit)? If there is an intractable issue, you can eliminate the system from further consideration. For any applications that remain, come up with a high-level architecture plan for each. Consider if you want to move the entire application into the cloud (all-in) or leave some components on-premise (hybrid). For those components that will move, determine if you will minimize changes (lift-and-shift) or if you will make modifications to try to take advantage of all the capabilities the cloud platform has (lift-and-refit). Performing a high-level total cost-of-ownership study can be beneficial at this point. TCO might help make a business case for a migration, indicate that some components need to be re-architected to lower costs or might disqualify the system from further consideration.
  7. 7. 7 Plan & Execute Create a detailed migration plan for the remaining applications. To help in determining effort and timeline, look for case studies that might provide insight on the experience of other cloud customers in migration. Many have migrated in a matter of days or weeks, while others have chosen to re-architect some or all of their applications which takes far longer. Consider whether to do a big-bang approach to migrate everything at once, or perform a more gradual process where individual components or subsystems are migrated one-at-a-time to help isolate potential issues or incompatibilities. Both have strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered. Often times, planning for technical spikes or proofs-of-concept can be valuable in working out very specific technical issues and gaining a deeper understanding of the cloud platform.
  8. 8. 8 About Ideaca Ideaca is a Canadian based consulting firm helping customers from strategy to solution through a portfolio of management consulting, implementation and support services. With more than 10 years of experience and over 350 satisfied customers, Ideaca’s 280+ employees across the country deliver innovative solutions around Enterprise Resource Planning, Business Intelligence, Portals and Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Custom Development and Integration, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Application Infrastructure, and Support Services. For Further Information For more information about this white paper or if you have general or sales inquiries, please visit www.ideaca.com or email ideacainfo@ideaca.com Resources To learn more about Ideaca's Cloud Computing practice, please visit our Cloud Computing page. Follow Us: