An unprecedented global pandemic has altered the way we do business, and as a result, organizations are now doubling down on their digital transformation strategies.

Organizations of every size are reducing their on-premise, non-cloud footprints and migrating applications and workloads to the cloud. But moving to the cloud isn’t something to take lightly. Most organizations don’t have the required skill sets or capabilities to accurately plan for a cloud transformation, let alone execute this mind-numbingly complex task.

Today, with cloud being a business priority, it’s critical that organizations have the knowledge and the understanding of how to seamlessly move to the cloud.

Here is a list of best practices to follow when planning a cloud migration.

Create an inventory baseline of applications and interdependencies

In any cloud migration, it’s vital to establish a performance baseline of the current application landscape. This is critical, as it will be difficult for organizations to measure the performance after migration to the cloud. This is even more relevant in hybrid cloud deployments, because when infrastructure is deployed across multiple clouds, organizations find it challenging to take a comprehensive and unified view of application data. With data distributed across multiple clouds, it becomes extremely difficult to find the root cause of any performance issue for a given application, post migration. Using these insights, organizations can create a strategy to migrate each application according to its importance.

Decide your migration strategy

When moving application workloads to cloud-based platforms, organizations must choose to either rehost, rearchitect, rebuild or replace. Rehosting involves a simple rehosting of applications without any modifications or changes. This is the quickest way to move applications to the cloud, and is recommended only when there are no changes required to the infrastructure configuration of the applications. Rearchitecting or refactoring an application for the cloud refers to modifying applications to suit the new cloud environment better, and organizations can even choose to completely discard existing code and decide to completely rebuild or replace existing applications with new ones.

Use Application Performance Management Tools

Application Performance Management (APM) tools can help to establish a baseline application performance scorecard, and help organizations get full visibility into inter-app dependencies. These tools also help in visualizing end-to-end cloud application performance in real time, so organizations can see how infrastructure component is performing. APM tools can also help in every stage of cloud migration. For example, during the pre-migration stage, organizations can use APM tools to decide how migration to the cloud will impact end user performance, and any challenges related to latency, performance and bandwidth. In the actual migration stage, organizations can identify potential issues, and test the key infrastructure components that may potentially affect the performance of the application. Post migration, organizations can use APM tools to gauge if all the application interdependencies and linkages are working perfectly, and also check if performance levels have improved, post migration.

Use the power of automation

Today, automation can make some of the most complex tasks related to migration much smoother. With automation, organizations can accurately assess the time and effort to move an application to the cloud. With insights given by automation-enabled tools, organizations can also guess if it would be appropriate to rebuild an application or simply rehost it. Cloud service providers also offer tools to assess cloud migration readiness across people, business, processes, platforms, operations and security. Automated tools are also available to replicate source machines into a staging area. This ensures that there is no downtime and no loss in performance during the migration.

In addition to these best practices, to get the best out of cloud migration involves incorporating a cloud governance model. This will help organizations with their capacity planning and in identifying opportunities for increasing efficiencies. The cloud governance framework can include a set of policies for compliance, cost optimization or security. The network also has to be optimized in line with performance and security needs. Licensing also needs to be checked, and organizations need to check with software vendors if existing on-premise licenses will extend to the cloud.

Organizations who do not have the required skills or experience to migrate to the cloud, should use managed service providers to ensure a seamless migration.