In the first part of this guide, we covered the planning process before fully implementing cloud migration for your company. We also illustrated the importance of following these guidelines as they will help your company deal with the unexpected without putting a strain on your team and resources. Part one of this guide also elaborated on the importance of proper resource calculations and getting enough workforce dedicated to the migration process so that the company does not abandon or lag behind in its current activities.
Remember, migration comes as a prominent side task that may take years to complete. Therefore, without proper calculations or enough workforce, this may lead to some of the company’s activities being abandoned. The company may also experience major deterioration in productivity as its resources get exhausted and the workforce may run out of steam. That said, in the previous part of our guide, we managed to cover the fundamentals of planning cloud migration in a way that technicians, stakeholders, and employees are prepared mentally and physically and also understand the process and its timeline.
Without wasting much time, let's continue with what everyone should know about cloud migration. We will continue to discuss the development process and will then expand on the principles of maintenance.
The details of the configuration process are somewhat similar to application code, and this is where the strategy of DevOps makes an impact. Tools like AWS Cloud Formation come in handy when planning environments that are provisioned in an automated manner. Such properly planned environments make configuring and provisioning more scalable and repeatable, which leads to an accelerated marketing timeframe.
Jurisdiction Over Cloud Environment
Policies can be a defining point in a project, so your managers should know and use them well. These policies should determine the procedure to be taken by a team when they need new or more resources and who gains access to the production environment. These issues are to be considered in both business and technical realms. Nearly everything can be automated; however, a trusted and competent team is needed for support and reinforcement purposes.
Fundamental Application Development
With the environment plan done and dusted, you should be ready to implement it. Depending on the approach you decide to take, this can be a lift-and-shift type of task or a significant new build.
One major task that often gets neglected is creating the necessary documentation. This is one aspect you shouldn’t forget. Cloud migration includes a lot of operational parts and multiple resources. Since one unit may be taking control over a separate development process, documentation is necessary as it works as a guide for everyone else. Requirements, alterations, key factors, decisions, and goals should be documented and made accessible to everyone relevant to the project. Documentation also works as a point of reference when an issue arises. With proper documentation, it becomes easy to pinpoint what is wrong when there is a problem, thereby solving the problem faster without wasting much time. This will also ensure the problem does not happen again once solved.
It is recommended to have extremely thorough and careful internal quality assurance. The quality assurance team should at least have more than just the members of your development team. Having a business analyst will ensure that not only technical issues are covered by focusing on end-user experience. As they say, a doctor can’t heal themselves, and the same can be said about developers. Regardless of how brilliant one is at developing software, they may miss some, if not most, bugs within their code. Now, with a strong QA team, the application will be checked to ensure that it goes hand in hand with the initial vision of the business outlined in the planning process.
For the best assurance, it is better to dedicate a QA team to composing automated tests aligned with the deployment procedure. This measure will guarantee higher quality.
Regardless of the type and structure of the quality assurance procedure you implement, the next phase involves rolling out a user acceptance test. It is recommended not to make it on an ad-hoc basis but roll it within the business. A business analyst should be responsible for designing this test to ensure that the application works for everyone. With a proper UAT, your company will be able to cover all the concerns and guarantee that the critical features are thoroughly examined. This process also helps in identifying anything that could have been missed during the development process. Once you have received feedback from the power users, their concerns should be taken seriously and addressed before moving forward.
Moving on, deployment is the next phase. It involves rolling out your application together with the updated data. The process might require downtime during the transformation and loading of production data. If not, it might be a matter of implementing a few changes and everything will be fine. Regardless of the complexity level, your team should be prepared. Upon launching the application, your team should be in hyper-care mode, actively monitoring the application for any possible issues and taking note of the user problems and addressing them. We also advise having a dedicated team focusing on patching bugs.
Communication is vital, and any lack of it may lead to the breakdown of the whole system. With poor communication, regardless of how good the deployment is, everything can be derailed easily. Therefore, before the deployment phase, establish proper communication with the users to prep them. Help the users understand how to use the system and what changes to expect. Let the project manager communicate directly with the users to ensure that the information is valid. It is common for users to resist something new if they fail to understand it, find it confusing, or are caught off-guard. Therefore, it is important to win them earlier by making them feel comfortable and prepared for any changes.
Now that you have completed the deployment of your application, you can repeat the same process for your next application. The process should remain the same so that it is easy to refer to your first application deployment if anything doesn’t seem right. The process is Plan > Develop > Test > Deploy > Support.
There is no endgame when it comes to cloud migration as your infrastructure and application need constant oversight. Although most of this can be automated, a dedicated team needs to be on standby, analyzing and reviewing improvement opportunities. With most of the cloud providers implementing new features at a fast pace, there is a need for someone to be on the lookout and determine if there is a need to integrate some of them into the environment and how they will benefit the company.
Although we briefly mentioned how important it is to be ready for the unseen, we would like to emphasize it. Cloud migration can be a benefit due to its flexible options that promote productivity. However, if you’re not ready, it can take you and your business down the drain in the blink of an eye. Therefore, you need to consider the measures that you have taken to back up your data and how quickly you can recover it. Remember, when the competition is tight, the more time you lose trying to recover data, the more clients you lose to competitors. Thus, you should come up with a robust disaster recovery plan. Cloud backups and recovery procedures are quite fast, affordable and easy to manage. Despite that, they do require the same, if not higher, level of planning.
To most companies, the major concern about cloud migration is security since everyone is afraid of losing their precious data through data breaches and hacks. However, to be frank, the cloud can be safer than on-premise infrastructure. Cloud infrastructure is easy to update due to its nature, and its security measures can be easily upgraded. With cloud infrastructure, it is important to consider implementing a network isolation strategy and resilience measures. Your developers should also be skilled enough to continuously look for ways to mend holes that have or have not been exposed. Restrictive permissions in the production environment should also be implemented to enhance security measures. Update your data encryption measures and depending on your budget, try to get the high end of the deal. Train and educate all users of the system on how to mitigate security risks.