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12 Keys to Successful Private Cloud Migrations

After you answer the “why private cloud?” question, it’s time to look at how you get there.

Cloud migrations are fraught with points of frustration that, according to a Gartner piece by Thomas Bittman, result in the failure of 95% of private cloud projects.

The root of this frustration, and ultimately project failure, is simplicity. When looking at any migration, the first and most important question to ask is:

“What are we looking at?”

When assessing a private cloud migration, it’s important to forget about the technology for a minute. The keys to your project's success lie in the operational details.

12 Steps to A Private Cloud Migration

Having managed and supported more cloud migrations than we can remember, we've distilled 12 critical success factors for these projects.

  1. Which applications will be moving to the cloud?
  2. Which servers are running these applications?
  3. What are the server’s CPU utilization rates?
  4. Which groups, departments, individuals use these applications?
  5. How critical are these applications to the organization?
  6. Who manages these applications?
  7. What is the impact to the organization if these applications are unavailable for an hour? For a day? For a week?
  8. Are these applications architected for high-availability and/or redundancy?
  9. Are there legal/compliance requirements for RTO and RPOs?
  10. What are the relationships between these applications?
  11. What are the security requirements for these applications?
  12. What are the data protection and retention requirements for these applications?

Are the answers to these questions the same for each application that is being migrated?

If not, what are the key differences?

When a project to "migrate everything to the cloud" needs to start yesterday, this is the perfect time to stop and make sure you have answers to these questions. In our experience, these questions often aren't asked, let alone answered. The result? Dissatisfaction, as there are no clear goals or an understanding of the migration implications.

All too often, organizations believe the cloud automatically makes applications highly-available and redundant, that a cloud-based infrastructure will be cheaper. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

The most successful cloud migrations we’ve been a part of begin with detailed planning. In the largest of these migrations, we spent almost a year working with a customer auditing equipment, applications, access, relationships, business requirements and SLAs, talking to app users and owners to develop a clear and complete picture of the migration. Yes—almost a year.

Once this planning was complete, the actual migration time to cloud/virtual took approximately 6 months.

This detailed planning and preparation resulted in a migration with minimal issues and documented real savings (hard dollars) of millions of dollars per year.

Where did the savings come from?

A significant component of the savings was the result of the audit which showed that less than 25% of the compute capacity across the organization was in use. This meant a 1:1 relationship on compute capacity wasn’t required for the migration.

There's a lot of planning to be done to set yourself up for success.

Summary?

Once you’ve answered “Why private cloud?” and defined your end-goals (cost savings? agility? get out of the IT business?)—the more attention you pay to the details up front, the more likely your migration to cloud will be met with success.

Topics: High Availability Products and Services