cloud migrations.jpgNote: This is a guest blog post by Kurt Schaldenbrand, Online Tech’s Product Design Manager.

You’ve made the choice to modernize your IT infrastructure and migrate from your legacy systems to a new, more optimal environment. Now what? How do you move your mission-critical applications without losing information or disrupting day-to-day operations while the process completes? Who will create and manage the overall migration plan? Who will monitor the migration and respond to issues as they come up? When it’s time to make the final cutover, how will that be accomplished, and who will be available to correct any last-minute issues that crop up? Migrations can be complex and time consuming. Without good planning and professional management, you risk losing hours, days or weeks of work.

Migrations can be complex

Getting started with your migration involves identifying all the elements that go into your current IT infrastructure: physical servers, virtual servers, storage, networking components, security devices, etc. You then need to understand their dependencies on each other and how the infrastructure all fits together.

You also need to examine your applications and how they are supported by your infrastructure. After all, in the end, it’s the applications that are moving, so understanding how the new environment might affect them is critical. Will a new storage device or system require some change in the application? Are you migrating to a highly-available infrastructure, and if so, does your application know how to behave in that structure?

Once the applications and systems being migrated are identified, an actual migration plan needs to be developed with clear milestones to track progress against. Having a professional project manager develop and manage this will ensure the process is fully thought out and the timeline is maintained and communicated to all involved parties.

Finally, you need to plan the actual cutover. How long will that take? Who needs to be involved? When is the best time to switch environments? With good planning, this critical final step will go much smoother than it might otherwise!

Use the right tools

There are several options available for migrating data from one environment to another. You can simply sync data across the internet from the legacy systems to the new infrastructure. But obviously, this could take a considerable amount of time for larger migrations. Instead, you might choose to dump data to locally attached storage devices and then ship those to the data center hosting the new infrastructure to pre-seed the new systems. This can dramatically shorten the time it takes to do a final sync of the data.

The sync process itself can happen through a variety of different software tools. Each has its own learning curve, licensing cost and vendor support plans that need to be considered in the overall cost of the project. The time and staffing effort to install and configure the sync tools also needs to be considered as part of the planning and budget process.

Monitoring the migration process

Once the migration begins, it could take days or even weeks to complete. Operations staff will need to be assigned to monitor the process and respond and mitigate any issues that come up along the way. The project manager also stays involved, checking on milestones and deliverables, and updating the team as changes in timeline come up.

Making the final cutover

Once the new infrastructure is up and running and all data between the old and new environment is synced, having a well-executed cutover is the final piece of the project. Make sure you have the right team scheduled to be onsite or on call in case issues come up. You certainly need system admins to take care of any issues on the new servers as they come online. You’ll also want networking specialists available to switch connectivity and fix any problems in the new environment. Finally, your application experts should fully test and confirm everything is up and working as expected in the new environment.

A large migration can be a daunting endeavor. But with good planning, professional project management and technical execution your data and applications can be moved to a modern infrastructure with minimal disruption to ongoing business activities. Just as important, a full understanding of the costs involved can keep the entire migration on budget.

Online Tech offers the tools, people and processes needed for a successful cloud migration. Our dedicated project managers will help you track key milestones, and we’ll help you create a customized migration plan that fits your timeline and budget. Contact us to see how we can help you get started.