Migration is a priority for data center professionals in 2017, as noted by respondents to our recent survey. However, the survey also highlighted the migration challenges that these respondents face, particularly the problems of downtime and speed of migration.
The question then is, should you tackle data center migration as a DIY operation? If you decide to go ahead, what are the implications? If not, what are the alternatives?
A Change in the Application Landscape
Migration is not a simple, one-step operation. It involves careful planning, requires the right internal skills and consumes time, costs and resources.
As one commentator put it, migration is not an infrastructure refresh; it’s a redesign of the application landscape that changes the way applications interact with each other and are delivered to users.
Essential Skills and Resources
Preparing for a DIY migration is a major exercise in itself. An analyst described the process as setting up a ‘migration factory’ with enterprises hiring cloud consultants, architects and developers, as well as training other staff.
To support their work, the migration teams were developing their own special methodologies, tools, approaches and agile practices to speed migration. That’s a big investment in internal resources, but essential if you want to complete a successful migration quickly and efficiently.
Lengthy Assessment Process
Careful planning lays the essential foundations for a successful migration, but it can be a lengthy process. It starts with a solid business case to ensure that IT and business executives agree on migration goals.
Then it’s on to detailed discovery and assessment. This involves a number of stages:
- Review the existing infrastructure
- Create a complete inventory of applications, databases, workloads and services
- Identify redundant data, and out-of-date applications and services
- Plan current and future capacity requirements
- Map and document application dependencies
- Determine public or private cloud deployment for each application
- Assess the security requirements for public cloud deployments
- Identify tasks that can be carried out concurrently
- Decide which applications and services will be migrated initially
You should also incorporate contingency plans and carry out migration testing to ensure selected applications are suitable for the new environment. This process is essential but can be lengthy, with some organizations reporting a planning period of a year or longer.
At the end of the discovery and assessment phase, you will need to prepare a consolidated report on your existing environment and compare the planned new environment with the industry best practices.
Then it’s time to prepare a project action plan that sets out the essential migration tasks and project management procedures, including notification and reporting. The migration plan should form a workbook that sets out the responsibilities of everyone on the team.
Industry experience indicates that businesses tend to begin migrations with applications that will deliver benefits quickly. They also identify non-critical applications for the initial phase so they may evaluate performance in the new environment.
Even with a phased approach, migration teams will need to focus resources so they can minimize downtime and inconvenience for users. That can distract team members from day-to-day operations or more strategic tasks. The team may also have to carry out user training to ensure a seamless, successful transition to new ways of working.
An Alternative Approach
Faced with the long-term demands on IT staff, many organizations are turning to migration partners that have the experience, resources, skills and automation tools to complete projects quickly and efficiently in line with the industry’s best practices.
If you would like to find out more about our migration services, please check out the articles and white papers on our website.