1. Cloud Migration Planning

One of the first steps to consider before migrating data to the cloud is to determine the use case that the public cloud will serve. Will it be used for disaster recovery? DevOps? Hosting enterprise workloads by completely shifting to the cloud? Or will a hybrid approach work best for your deployment.

In this stage it is important to assess your environment and determine the factors that will govern the migration, such as critical application data, legacy data, and application interoperability. It is also necessary to determine your reliance on data: do you have data that needs to be resynced regularly, data compliance requirements to meet, or non-critical data that can possibly be migrated during the first few passes of the migration?

Determining these requirements will help you charter a solid plan for the tools you’ll need during migration, identifying which data needs to be migrated and when, if the data needs any scrubbing, the kind of destination volumes to use, and whether you’ll need encryption of the data both at rest and in transit.

2. Migration Business Case

Once you have determined your business requirements, understand the relevant services offered by cloud providers and other partners and their costs. Determine the expected benefits of cloud migration along three dimensions: operational benefits, cost savings, and architectural improvements.

Build a business case for every application you plan to migrate to the cloud, showing an expected total cost of ownership (TCO) on the cloud, compared to current TCO. Use cloud cost calculators to estimate future cloud costs, using realistic assumptions – including the amount and nature of storage used, computing resources, taking into account instance types, operating systems, and specific performance and networking requirements.

Work with cloud providers to understand the options for cost savings, given your proposed cloud deployment. Cloud providers offer multiple pricing models, and provide deep discounts in exchange for long-term commitment to cloud resources (reserved instances) or a commitment to a certain level of cloud spend (savings plans). These discounts must be factored into your business plan, to understand the true long-term cost of your cloud migration.

3. Cloud Data Migration Execution

Once your environment has been assessed and a plan has been mapped out, it’s necessary to execute your migration. The main challenge here is carrying out your migration with minimal disruption to normal operation, at the lowest cost, and over the shortest period of time.

If your data becomes inaccessible to users during a migration, you risk impacting your business operations. The same is true as you continue to sync and update your systems after the initial migration takes place. Every workload element individually migrated should be proven to work in the new environment before migrating another element.

You’ll also need to find a way to synchronize changes that are made to the source data while the migration is ongoing. Both AWS and Azure provide built-in tools that aid in AWS cloud migration and in Azure data migration, and later in this article we’ll see how NetApp users benefit from migrating with services and features that come with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

4. Ongoing Upkeep

Once that data has been migrated to the cloud, it is important to ensure that it is optimized, secure, and easily retrievable moving forward. It also helps to monitor for real-time changes to critical infrastructure and predict workload contentions.

Apart from real-time monitoring, you should also assess the security of the data at rest to ensure that working in your new environment meets regulatory compliance laws such as HIPAA and GDPR.

Another consideration to keep in mind is meeting ongoing performance and availability benchmarks to ensure your RPO and RTO objectives should they change.