6 Cloud Computing Experts Share Their Best Migration Tips

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As cloud migration increasingly becomes a necessity, six leading cloud computing experts reveal the keys to successful migration in this five-part series.

There’s conflicting sentiment surrounding cloud migration. Despite the fact that 46% of production workloads will likely be located in the public cloud by 2019, there still seems to be C-level resistance in some cases.

As reported by over 270 respondents in our third-annual Cloud Migration Survey Report, concerns about security, performance impact, data loss, and cost are often weighed against the benefits of the cloud, including greater agility, flexibility, and availability.

Download Cloud Migration Report

As such, we’ve turned to six leading cloud experts to provide practical advice on how to balance between these concerns and benefits — and to share their best tips for migration planning and implementation. Each week, we’ll ask the panel a different pressing question about cloud migration.

Part 1: What Is the Best Strategy for On-Premise to Cloud Migration? (see below)

Part 2: What Is Your Best (or Worst) Migration Story?

Part 3: Which Applications Should I Migrate to the Cloud and Which Should I Keep On-Premise?

Part 4: Why Are CEOs and CIOs Still Hesitant About Cloud Migration?

Part 5: How Do I Minimize Downtime During Migration? 

Now for their answers to Part 1: What is the best strategy for on-premise to cloud migration?

Cloud Expert Kevin Jackson

Kevin L. Jackson — Cloud Computing Technical Fellow at Engility Corporation and Founder of Cloud Musings

Transition to the cloud deliberately for a specific business purpose and with specific success metrics. Don’t pick a legacy application to “lift and shift.” Implement a new or improved business process with a cloud native application.


Cloud Expert James Bond

James Bond Cloud Chief Technologist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

Hybrid IT is often the best approach for a cloud transition strategy. While a new business may be able to start their IT strategy leveraging mostly cloud-based services, most established organizations have a significant amount of legacy internal IT.

Therefore, moving everything to the cloud cannot be accomplished overnight. The Hybrid IT approach is based on moving some traditional applications to an internal or external cloud while still maintaining the legacy internal data center environment. This hybrid strategy allows for a careful, phased migration of applications and data to one or more cloud services — migrating workloads to the cloud after assessing each legacy application to determine which cloud model (internal/private or external/public) is the best fit and which app migrations should be prioritized to shift first based on business goals.

“Hybrid IT is often best approach for cloud transition strategy” James Bond Click To Tweet


Cloud Expert Mathieu Pierret

Matheiu Pierret Cloud Enablement Leader at Cloudreach

1. Migrate first, optimize later — While it takes time to refactor applications before moving them to the cloud, we believe the right strategy is to migrate them first, as fast as possible and with as much automation as possible. Once they are migrated, you can use the capabilities of the public cloud to optimize them.

“Migrate First, Optimize Later.” Matheiu Pierret, #CloudMigration Expert Roundup Click To Tweet

There are several reasons to opt for a rapid cloud migration rather than a long-term progressive approach:

  • The project team’s motivation could diminish over time
  • It’s trickier to secure key resources over a long period of time
  • Senior management support doesn’t last forever
  • Rehosting applications as they are reduces the risk of regression because they still run with the same code, on the same OS, and with same middleware
  • The shorter the migration, the sooner the optimization phase can start
  • The longer the migration, the higher the cost — even if spread out over time

2. Identify real drivers early — Every journey to the cloud should start with defining the big picture, including business priorities, IT constraints, and dependencies. Real drivers have to be identified in order to build a relevant business case which will lead to a successful project. A project of this nature requires full C-level support from day one.

3. Rely on a strong methodology — High velocity requires preparation and agility. We rely on two main phases:

  • Preparation Phase: A traditional waterfall project to assess, design, and build the foundation of the migration.
  • Migration Phase: An agile project to move applications progressively and rapidly to the cloud.

4. Brainpower over manpower — Cloud technologies eliminate the need for tedious, manual work and enable a large degree of automation. By automating and taking a software-first approach, you can achieve large outcomes with small, agile teams.

5. Choose an experienced partner — Migrating to the cloud is a large transformation and finding the right skills isn’t always easy. Involving an experienced partner can plug this skills gap and enable you to migrate using their best-practices and cloud tooling.


Cloud Expert Tom Ray

Tom Ray Head of Cloudreach, USA at Cloudreach

I believe in a very structured approach to migration, which covers not only application assessment/categorization, but also the foundational building blocks to ensure success, e.g. high-level design for your landing zone, review of the organization’s potential Cloud Operating Model, TCO (sometimes ROI), and business case.


Cloud Expert Jeffrey Kaplan

Jeffrey Kaplan Cloud Computing Strategy Consultant at THINKstrategies, Inc.

Organizations should adopt a “cloud-first” strategy for migrating as many applications and workloads as possible to cloud-based alternatives. They should prioritize the order of the applications and workload migration process based on cost, skill, and functional considerations.


Cloud Expert Ofer Gadish

Ofer Gadish CEO at CloudEndure

When you’re dealing with a small number of servers, any strategy should work. You simply reinstall or redesign the application or business process to better fit cloud infrastructure.

However, if you have more than a few dozen servers, anything that requires manual architecting or installation is going to drag your project on forever. Involving manual steps or changes to code and scripting opens the door for human error and takes too much time. To avoid hitting a wall, I recommend automating the process.

Network, data, and machine conversion is also important. If you reinstall everything, conversion is built in. But if you don’t want to reinstall everything, you need a streamlined process to replicate data, configure your network, and convert your machines.

This is one of the reasons I founded CloudEndure — to create a better migration solution for large and complex projects, a solution that included automated machine conversion, continuous replication, and orchestration. With traditional manual migration approaches, larger projects result in massive downtime.

To get even more migration advice from these cloud experts, check out the rest of the series:

Part 2: What Is Your Best (or Worst) Migration Story?

Part 3: Which Applications Should I Migrate to the Cloud and Which Should I Keep On-Premise?

Part 4: Why Are CEOs and CIOs Still Hesitant About Cloud Migration?

Part 5: How Do I Minimize Downtime During Migration?

download 2017 cloud migration survey report