If you’re not digital-first now, then you’re already falling behind. At least, that’s the message that CIOs and CTOs are currently faced with, and it’s driving many down the cloud migration track at breakneck speed.
But still, as more and more organizations race to the cloud, there’s a common misconception that these enterprises have made the move entirely overnight (or at least, close to it).
Spoiler alert: That’s not exactly true. The reality is that responsible innovation often takes time, and cloud migration at scale is complex. And because every business is unique, their path to the cloud is, too. That means some cloud migrations can take years—while others take just a few weeks.
Other organizations, like Capital One, openly viewed cloud migration as a journey, which requires a broad effort to be successful at such a scale and for Capital One, this began back in 2013. On this journey, Capital One has reduced the number of datacenters it has from eight in 2014 down to three in 2018.
The difference between their two journeys? Because of their unique IT infrastructures, applications, security, and service requirements, each chose a different migration path that was best suited for their needs.
If you’re just getting started on your own cloud journey, how do you know what path is best for your business? Start by examining the two most common migration paths: Conventional or accelerated.
What is an Accelerated Migration Path?
Accelerated migrations exist to quickly transition a business’ existing application workloads to the cloud, helping them take advantage of the cloud’s benefits faster. The accelerated migration path is oftentimes recommended for mid-sized businesses due to their smaller portfolio of in-house written applications and packages.
This type of migration is focused on achieving a faster time-to-value for your current enterprise applications at a smaller cost. An accelerated migration also only requires moderate assistance: Managed services for migrating your enterprise applications and helping to manage them once they’re in the cloud.
Here are a few things you can expect during an accelerated migration:
- Identifying workloads (like enterprise application systems and major application subsystems) to be migrated as cohesive groups.
- Creating a target cloud platform for receiving the migrated workload groupings. Ideally, this target cloud platform includes security, resiliency, automation, and management tools.
- Migrating individual workload groupings to the target cloud platform with automated testing and comprehensive application monitoring.
- Tuning resource allocation and consumption based on two to three months of production operation to optimize costs.
Accelerated migration paths also typically include managed services to support and manage your cloud-based applications.
This use of managed services yields two significant benefits:
- Your existing staff does not require training on the tools and processes required to manage workloads in your new cloud environment.
- Your existing staff is free to instead focus on the tasks associated with migrating data center workloads.
Examples of traditional IT processes and skills that will change include:
- Systems management: This IT function is significantly reduced since the core infrastructure is being provided by the cloud infrastructure provider. However, the IT organization will still need to handle tasks like OS systems administration work.
- Application management: This IT function will require evolved skills for using new tools and managing applications in the cloud.
- Change management: This IT function must be restructured or reduced in scope since cloud offerings include changes in hardware and software.
- New application development and testing: This IT function must be re-invented in a DevOps model to maximize the cloud’s agile environment.
All told, these changes can mean major changes to your traditional IT department. That’s why, planning for and managing the transition in tools, processes, and staffing isn’t something that should be done alone.
What is a Conventional Migration Path?
Conventional migration paths are typically recommended for larger organizations. This type of migration path can require a significant investment of time and resources. And for many enterprises, it calls for an expert team of skilled consultants who can help identify potential issues and create and execute a sound migration plan.
Here are a few things you can expect during a conventional migration:
- Aligning with stakeholders on what’s expected before and after the migration.
- An analysis of your existing applications (here, your existing applications will be classified by complexity, dependencies, size, and whether they’re production versus non-production).
- Mapping the migration sequence of your applications and data.
- Identifying what’s required to make each application compatible with the cloud.
- Prioritizing each application migration and its timeline (here, you’ll outline each application, what data is being migrated, and when it’s being migrated).
- Testing each migrated application and associated data to validate content and accessibility.
- Testing of each migrated application to validate proper execution and desired performance.
How do you choose the right path for your business?
No two businesses are alike, and their paths to the cloud are no exception. If you’re ready to begin your move to the cloud, start by examining your priorities. How quickly do you want to get to the cloud? Are you interested in migrating your entire enterprise application or individual applications? Do you have in-house skills or will you need the help of a managed cloud services provider? Your answers to all of these questions and more can set you on the right path to a successful migration to the cloud.
Velocity’s preferred approach follows the accelerated path. Velocity leverages extensive experience, automation, and tools to drive successful, accelerated migrations to the cloud. This methodology shortens the time and lowers costs when migrating to multi or hybrid clouds. Our automated agile approach provides flexible end-to-end support for planning and executing successful migrations and modernizing applications to accelerate your business outcomes.