Infrastructure migration to the cloud is no small undertaking. It usually comes when IT stands at a crossroad, amidst a major shift in architecture, operations, or strategy. Pivotal moments such as:
- Inflexible architectures – inability to rapidly respond to business needs
- Infrastructure refresh – of compute, network and storage
- Data center consolidation – from less efficient, smaller operations
Yet, unlike migrating animals, the human species avoids traveling long distances to find new habitats. Contrary to whales, butterflies, and geese, our genus is averse to change.
But, there are circumstances, for those certain ‘explorers,’ when it’s time to make a big move. Traversing the country. Spanning the oceans. Or migrating IT infrastructure to a public cloud like Microsoft Azure.
Thoroughly Documented Strategy
For these big moves away from inflexible architectures, and during infrastructure refresh or data center consolidation, it’s best to have a solid strategy in advance. Not just sketched on a notepad or argued in conversation. For successful game changing migration, it’s critical to thoroughly and thoughtfully craft one.
Especially for transformation of IT infrastructure to the cloud. After curiosity, debates, and white boarding, if migration is still the goal, it’s vital to create a strategy document.
In fact, infrastructure migration to the cloud is so fundamental to business success, its steps must be chronicled in advanced. To do so, the following five considerations should be thoroughly discussed before crafting the new document.
The Five Factors
1. Participation & Personnel – Strategy creation must include business units, IT applications, IT infrastructure, information security, and application build and release (aka DevOps) teams. Furthermore, the strategy must consider IT’s changing role from delivering technology to brokering multiple external and internal services with emphasis on infrastructure integration and alignment.
2. Hybrid Architecture – Strategy need not consider an ‘all-or-none’ approach as some workloads will always be better suited onsite. Nor a ‘single destination’ approach, as open standards enable cloud and data interoperability. Rather, it’s important to set strategy and select an architecture that maintains agility to dip toes into new offerings while keeping one foot squarely on premise. Fortunately, one of Azure’s strengths is hybrid cloud agility.
3. Innovation – With DevOps innovation, the cloud landscape is changing. Thus, when building cloud strategy, align with providers that contribute to and advance technology trends including cloud based social software and DevOps environments such as Azure’s DevTest Labs. And AI and machine learning innovation that provide invaluable insights into customer behavior and drive business success.
4. Security – While data access from applications, warehouses, and endpoints is vital to digitization, customer info protection in the cloud is paramount. Thus, set infrastructure migration strategy that leverages industry best practices to govern data in the cloud. And adapt IT service management processes within an adequately staffed program office to streamline workflows and institutionalize the cloud into business and IT operations.
5. Metrics – Lastly, insert measurable milestones into a cloud strategy and track progress against these goals. Cloud adoption and digital transformation is a journey accomplished best in well-defined, discrete segments.
Also Read: Azure Cloud for Business Modernization
Start Small but Start Now
For that trip across country, fly out early and plant some roots. For the overseas adventure, use the 60-day visa and scope out the new location. And for cloud migration, select an IT and business ‘explorer’ team to get their hands dirty now.
Migration is a journey, not a point-in-time exercise. And large undertakings to consolidate or refresh infrastructure to the cloud are fundamental shifts in architecture, operations, and strategy. Thus, start now and identify opportunities for immediate value. And at the same time, document the longer-term, phased strategy.