Organizations considering migrating workloads to the cloud need to answer a lot of important questions. Decisions have to be made concerning what systems to move, how they should be migrated, and the appropriate cloud model to implement.

Companies that attempt to move to the cloud without performing the necessary planning will often encounter issues during the process that could have easily been avoided. Trying to migrate to the cloud in an ad-hoc manner is likely to fail or at best provide less than optimal results.

The Benefits of Cloud Discovery and Assessment

Performing a thorough cloud discovery and assessment provides an organization with much of the information it needs to answer its migration questions. There are three main objectives in performing a cloud discovery and assessment process.

Inventorying the environment – The first step in preparing for cloud migration is to inventory an organization’s current IT assets. All hardware and software items need to be included. Shadow IT resources that have not been approved by management may be discovered during this inventory. This information is important to an organization even if they decide a cloud migration is not appropriate at this time.

Analyzing the environment – After the assets have been inventoried, a deep analysis of their performance, dependencies, and cloud readiness needs to be performed. It may turn out that what appeared to be an easy target for migration has complex dependencies that impact the viability of the move. Cost analysis comparing the price of running systems using prospective cloud models versus the existing environment can help determine what assets make the most sense to migrate.

Determining the appropriate cloud model – Once the target workloads for migration have been identified, it’s time to select the most suitable cloud model and provider. Ideally, you will select a CSP with extensive SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS offerings that mesh with your migration plans.

What Comes After Discovery and Assessment?

The information gathered by the discovery and assessment process should be seen as providing foundational data for successful cloud migration. The next steps in cloud migration are equally important and should be addressed methodically using the collected data as a guide.

  • Planning – Detailed planning should be performed that identifies the correct cloud architecture and addresses capacity and compliance requirements.
  • Migration – Once the plans are solidified, the physical migration will occur as workloads move to the cloud. The migrations should be realistically scheduled to allow workloads to be verified after they are moved and before the next target is migrated.
  • Optimization – Cloud resources need to be optimized to avoid excessive costs. It’s easy to inadvertently over-provision resources when working with a traditional data center mindset. Automated tools to assist with optimization can save an organization a substantial amount of money.

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