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How to Prioritize Your Enterprise Applications for Migration

Not sure which of your applications should be migrated first? You’re not alone. Knowing what parts of your IT infrastructure to migrate can be one of the biggest challenges for decision-makers.

That’s why many companies adopt a hybrid cloud migration approach, where only specific elements of a large application are migrated to the cloud while others continue to run on-premise, or bring on an application managed services partner to help with the strategy. 

In your preparation, you’ll want to propose which applications you want to migrate, and what benefit it will have on the business. Here are a few ways to prioritize your current on-premises workloads:  

1. Prioritize your tier one workload categories (workloads that aren’t mission critical).

Which applications can you move with the least amount of risk to your entire business? Workloads that fall within this category are good candidates for “first movers” to the cloud, because they’ll disrupt your business the least. 

Characteristics to look for when identifying a tier one workload: 

  • Applications that don’t merit a disaster recovery strategy
  • Applications that are seasonal and would thrive in a consumption-based cloud model
  • Development or other transient environments such as sales demos and training labs
  • Workloads that do not have a 24/7 execution pattern or are not considered mission critical 

2. Define your tier 2 workload categories (workloads that share a low level of risk)

Once you’ve identified workloads that aren’t mission critical, you’ll be ready to determine which applications that have higher importance to your business but still present a pretty low risk during the migration.

Here are a few characteristics to look for when identifying a tier one workload: 

  • Steady-state workloads that potentially execute 24/7 but are deemed non-mission critical.
  • Workloads that have varying seasonality and are deemed business important (but not in need of a disaster recovery strategy).
  • Workloads that have a defined Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), even if they may be low tier. 

3. Identify your tier 3 workload categories (workloads that are mission critical)

Steady-state or variable mission-critical workloads, which typically are protected on-premises at the highest disaster recovery tier workload possible, should be migrated towards the end of the cloud migration process.

These include:

  • Applications that are critical to daily business operations.
  • Applications that may present long-term catastrophic risks (applications that store human health data is a great example).
  • Applications that are intertwined with your total application landscape. 
  • Applications that your organization lacks the technical expertise to migrate successfully.

By breaking applications up into stages, you can essentially follow a crawl-walk-run approach to cloud migration. This means learning what works and what doesn’t, as well as what might need to be refactored for the cloud, before you commit to migrating workloads. 

Are You Ready To Take The Next Step?

Companies can’t simply decide on a whim to move to the cloud. Rather, they need to forge comprehensive cloud migration strategies, detailing exactly which functions will be best suited for the cloud; what they plan to accomplish with the technology; and what kinds of return on investment they intend to realize. Speak to an enterprise cloud services expert to start planning your migration.


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