Why we love our cloud migration approach - and why you should too!

Published: January 30, 2018

Cloud computing has come a long way over the years. Yet, only few enterprises have mastered the art of cloud migration. The secret to a successful migration lies in a well-defined, phased, and iterative approach that not only streamlines the process but also accelerates the outcome. I have helped many clients adopt a roadmap that transforms their migration journey. I am sharing one such approach in this blog:

Roadmap for a successful cloud journey

Phase 1: Plan

Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail". Planning thus becomes the most critical part for a cloud migration program. Key focus areas in this phase are program management setup, portfolio analysis, and cloud architecture and operating model layout.

  • Program management setup: The program management office (PMO) plays a major role in managing all aspects of the planning phase: from facilitating strategy building to program governance and benefits realization. The PMO ensures strong leadership commitment, sustained change management, program strategy alignment, rigor in project execution, and decision-making governance.
  • Portfolio analysis: Analyzing the application portfolio helps in providing adequate representation of applications in scope. Application dependency information helps plan the sequence of application migration. It further pushes the business case for enterprise cloud migration.
  • Cloud foundation and operating model layout: The Cloud foundation comprise of Landing Zones. Landing Zone is a standard set of secured cloud infrastructure with built-in policies, standards, guidelines, and centrally managed services. Creating a strong foundation through Landing Zones is crucial for a scalable and sustainable enterprise AWS cloud model. As cloud computing becomes the paradigm for delivering business, technology operating models need to evolve and add more cloud-centric capabilities. Cloud operating model is the framework for putting the core elements together in a more agile, productive, and valuable way.

Phase 2: Assess

During the Assess phase, applications are analyzed in detail for future disposition. Cloud architecture and cloud operating model help lay the foundation for migrations.

  • Macro-analysis: Macro-analysis of applications, leveraging a proven cloud readiness and assessment framework based on business value, IT efficiency, and cloud suitability ensures a clear migration roadmap. It also identifies enterprise-wide concerns around security, networking, technical, operational, organizational, regulatory, and financial.
  • Microanalysis: With the macro-analysis performed, it is time for the deep dive. Microanalysis facilitates the understanding of current state architecture and defines cloud architecture based on patterns developed during macro-analysis. It concludes with the preparation of the detailed migration plan and effort estimates.
  • Cloud foundation and operating model design: The design should adhere to Enterprise Security and Networking policies. Account and VPC structure needs to be designed based on cost allocation, resource management and ownership, and security and compliance isolation. People, process, and technology are the core elements of cloud operating model. These should evolve to achieve cloud operating model goals, thereby increasing the value for the business and operations. People skills and experience are geared towards becoming more cross-functional, spanning a wider range of service components and use cases. Processes are realigned around services instead of technologies. Tools and technologies are selected for effective implementation and automation of processes.

Phase 3: Migrate

During this phase, foundation cloud architecture and operating model are implemented and the first set of applications identified as quick wins are migrated. The set should include a varying complexity of applications across different business units. Furthermore, during this phase, it is important to take a proactive approach to change management.

  • Cloud foundation and operating model implementation: This step enables the setting up of Landing Zones including accounts, VPC, network connectivity, IAM Roles, policies, and deployed workflow. Shared services and tools are also provisioned. In the cloud operating model, key processes are rolled out and teams are mapped to the new cloud-centric roles. This is followed by rolling out of subsequent processes leveraging the key learnings from the existing implementations. This ensures seamless integrations with current systems through the installation of selected tools.
  • Initial migration: The first set of applications is migrated as quick wins. The successful migrations help understand the portfolio and add to the confidence of the applications team. Importantly, it also lays down the foundation for repeatable migration patterns.
  • Change management: Effective change management is pivotal to the success of a cloud migration program. Change champions are involved to ensure co-creation of the future roadmaps and smooth cultural shifts. Continuous knowledge sharing and training is performed to evolve skills and include them in the transformation journey.

Phase 4:Scale

After initial application migration, it is time for enhancing scalability and accelerating the cloud migration journey. While shifting the focus to scalability, it becomes important to keep a tab on cost and security.

  • Large-scale cloud migration: Harnessing the migration factory model is the best approach to target large-scale migrations. Based on the migration pipeline, supported by best of breed tools, and specialized core/flex teams it brings in reliability and efficiency in the process.
  • Operating model optimization: Costs can escalate quickly. It is thus essential to keep a check on it and optimize through policies, processes, and monitoring. It requires streamlining financial management by ensuring standardized tagging on all cloud resources.
  • Hybrid cloud model optimization: During this transition phase, both on-premises and cloud models are managed. The cloud model is further enhanced and optimized based on new services and tools.

DevOps Automation- the key ingredient

Cloud migration is a great time for enterprises to rethink their operational processes and improve the efficiency in managing and administering their portfolio. DevOps automation helps address the needs of a successful cloud migration while improving the operational efficiency of the services. This includes both infrastructure and application deployment automation. Additionally, standard templates and scripts significantly accelerate the build-out of future environments. DevOps also brings a number of business benefits including repeatability, auditability, significantly lower deployment risks, and faster iteration cycles - all crucial to improved operational excellence, better security posture, and improved competitive advantage.

Being a change champion and not just a cloud migration partner

Over the years, Virtusa has helped multinational mass media corporations successfully migrate to the cloud. Based on our experiences, we have discovered that overcoming the associated challenges with migration also becomes an important part of the journey. Our learnings have helped migrate existing mission-critical applications with zero risk. Lastly, our goal has been to accelerate time to market while reducing the TCO- something that we have consistently been able to deliver

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