Data Center Migration Planning: Here's What You Should Know

Cloud migration is best described as moving your data, applications, and other business elements to a cloud computing environment. Think of cloud migration as a physical move. It involves moving your data, applications, and IT processes from one data center to another.

A common cloud migration model transfers data and applications from an on-site data center to the public cloud. An additional model is a migration from one cloud platform or provider to another. It’s what is known as cloud-to-cloud migration.

A few benefits make the cloud an attractive proposition for data centers.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

For starters, cloud migration affords the data centers scalability and elasticity. By design, cloud infrastructure scales with demand. As your infrastructure requirements grow or shrink, the cloud can be adjusted to match the requirements.

Moreover, a cloud migration, for instance, migrating SaaS applications to Azure, can significantly reduce your IT costs. Unlike with a local on-premises data center, cloud platform operations are subject to on-demand pricing. This means that you pay for the resources you ultimately consume. Further, data center migration means lower staffing requirements and reduced real estate spending and capital expenses. It includes the ability to leverage economies of scale by sharing physical hardware.

An additional benefit is the reduced infrastructure management burden. Leveraging cloud infrastructure means that you do not have to incur the cost or deal with the headache of managing data centers, servers, or networks. You can redirect the resources to manage applications and services that support your operations while leveraging your cloud vendor’s greater resources, expertise, and experience.

Ultimately, migrating your data center to the cloud reduces your capital expenditure and decreases management costs. It improves scalability and elasticity, aids digital transformation, and improves security and compliance.

To ensure a seamless and successful migration to the business, you need to develop a data center migration plan. The latter includes the following launch points.

Assessing Your Data Center for Cloud Migration

You want to start your data center migration planning by assessing your data center. Specifically, you want to define the scope of your migration which involves identifying which applications and workloads are suitable for the cloud. As you conduct said scope, you should define your desired outcome and focus on the entire migration. This makes for a great guiding light. The second step is to determine the right cloud provider and services that you’ll need. If you are new to the cloud, partnering with a dedicated team of cloud specialists is best. Often, the latter will have the expertise to help you along with connecting your company with the right cloud solutions.

Finally, you need to estimate the cost and resources required for the migration. The latter should help you avoid budget overruns, poor service quality, interruptions, and slow onboarding. The good news is that there are simulations that you can leverage to estimate the costs of migrating workloads quickly and accurately. These ensure that you can align your resources.

Preparing for the Cloud Migration

While preparing for the cloud migration, start by creating a migration plan and timeline. This step aims to plan your migration in phases according to the timelines. The phases you go with will depend on the size and complexity of the resources you are migrating, among other factors.

A smart way to ensure that you are well prepared for cloud migration is to train your staff on cloud technologies and best practices. Start with clear, precise communication, as this minimizes confusion down the road. Further, invest in cloud-centric skills for the team, as this will help prevent downtime down the line. If, after fully training your employees, you find that there are still some gaps in the knowledge base, consider bringing on specialized employees, like cloud architects and cloud engineers.

The final step when preparing for the cloud migration is ensuring data security and compliance during the migration process. For starters, data at rest and in transit should always be encrypted. Further, ensure that you use a secure transport protocol during the migration, as this would go a long way in securing your data.

A businesswoman uses her laptop to manage hybrid clouds using Microsoft Azure

Executing the Migration Process

Having assessed your current environment and made the right preparations for the cloud migration, it is time to dive in and execute it.

This step’s most critical element is migrating applications and workloads to the cloud. For applications, you’ll need to assess their cloud readiness. From the said assessment, you might refactor the cloud application, lift and shift it directly to the cloud, or modernize it with containers. Remember that not all applications or workloads are suited for leaving the enterprise data center to be migrated to the cloud.

Once you’ve done the actual migration of applications and workloads, it’s time to test and verify the functionality of migrated systems. Here, you’ll be verifying both the existing and the new or modified functionalities. Success means that there’s minimal or no downtime, no loss of data, or compromise to data integrity.

Finally, you’ve got to manage and optimize your cloud resources to ensure maximum efficiency. The idea is to have the workload performance, cost, and compliance all be perfect and well-balanced with the best infrastructure and in real-time.

Post-Migration Considerations

Once you successfully migrate to Azure, there are a few post-migration considerations to remember. The first is that you have to constantly monitor and maintain the migrated systems. Here, the goal is to ensure that user experience is not compromised and that the said experience is retained at the pre-established baseline.

Further, you’ve got to ensure continued compliance and security in your cloud and container environment. You’ll want to create a unified front that combines the efforts of concerned people, processes, and tools.

Finally, consider providing centralized visibility and real-time evaluation of the cloud environment, as this will aid in leveraging any opportunities that arise for optimizing and expanding the use of cloud technology in your data center.

The endgame with data center migration is business transformation. Said data center migration is a serious undertaking for any organization, which requires effective planning and developing a timeline.

Agile IT has performed thousands of data center and cloud migrations to Azure. Request a free consultation today to find out how we can help you avoid downtime and accelerate your journey to the cloud.

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