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Moving to the Cloud has a lot of benefits. It enhances reliability, scalability, and security while also significantly reducing costs. It’s easy to get drawn into the Cloud computing phenomenon just by virtue of its many benefits. However, it’s the execution that really matters.

It’s one crucial aspect of Cloud migration that should be discussed far more than it normally is. Yes, your organization stands to gain immensely from a shift to the Cloud. That’s predicated on the assumption that the entire move will go without a hitch.

Many different problems can emerge at various stages of Cloud migration. They may include service disruptions, data loss, and cost escalations, to name a few. It may have you wondering why you bothered to make the switch in the first place.

We’ve previously discussed why having a landing zone is so important for a successful Cloud migration. Landing zone refers to the infrastructure that needs to be put in place before shifting to the Cloud.

With that in place, it’s always prudent to be cognizant of and follow the best practices for Cloud migrations to eliminate the risk of significant issues arising down the line.

What does AWS Migration involve?

What you’re essentially doing in an AWS Migration is moving workloads from an existing solution to AWS. The workload could be moving to AWS either from another Cloud service provider, a hosting facility, or on-premises environments.

The workloads being migrated may involve apps, websites, servers, databases, and even complete data centers. The workload can be anything that takes advantage of the over 100 Cloud computing services that AWS provides. They include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud 2, Amazon Connect, Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon Lightsail, and many more.

AWS Migration Best Practices

1.    Don’t forget the pre-migration stage

Hammering out the specifics in the pre-migration stage is a very important step. This is the part where you develop a vision for Cloud migration and how the shift would inform business decisions going forward.

A clear Cloud governance model must be set at this part of the process. It ensures that all members of the team understand their roles and responsibilities. It’s imperative to train staff as early as possible to ensure a smooth transition. This may reveal skill gaps that need to be addressed, either through training or by bringing new resources on board.

2.    Create an economic model

There should be a complete understanding of the Cloud costs involved and the savings that this shift will deliver. Most organizations tend to jump into the process without establishing KPIs for cost. Without them, it’s difficult to perform a cost-benefit analysis on the migration.

Having KPIs for cost is imperative also due to the dynamic nature of Cloud costs. They can increase significantly if new services are utilized or scaled up. By creating an economic model, the organization can always have a top-level view of their financial outlay and quickly take steps to ensure that their Cloud costs don’t spiral out of control.

3.    Sort out access management

Any confusion about access shouldn’t come up when you’re in the thick of it. There should be absolute clarity as to the number of AWS accounts required, the kind of access each team member will get, and how that access would be granted.

There should ideally be a plan in place to ensure that teams have the appropriate and minimal access and privileges that they require to perform their functions. Access governance policies should dictate who is eligible for access so as to prevent mishaps.

4.    Start small

It can be very enticing to do everything all at once. That’s actually not considered one of the AWS migrations best practices to follow. To achieve success for the entire job, it’s always better to start small. Focus on bagging some quick wins.

Choose a small application, create its migration plan and execute it. Not only will it help the team figure out any potential problems but it will also provide them with the confidence that they need to pursue the bigger tasks.

5.    Rely on automation

The teams will have to perform many repetitive tasks throughout the course of the migration. This is where the power of Cloud automation should be harnessed. Utilize it to build infrastructure as code and automatically deploy applications without any downtime.

By relying on automation, it becomes possible to reduce migration time and increase consistency for the job. The Cloud’s real agility can only be realized through automation. There may be some aspects that can’t be automated. The teams should determine very carefully which ones can be and execute accordingly.

6.    Create a comprehensive monitoring strategy

Careful monitoring of the environment is essential during and after migration. It often happens that an application may not behave in the same manner that it did previously. This is because architecture components can change.

With a comprehensive monitoring strategy, these changes can be spotted quickly and the required adjustments can be made without fail. AWS has exceptional monitoring features that provide system, network, app, and audit logs in addition to a monitoring dashboard.

What could go wrong during AWS Migrations

If teams are under pressure to complete the Cloud migration by utilizing the “lift and shift” strategy this could end up significantly increasing Cloud costs. What generally happens is that a sub-optimal architecture is chosen for the workload. The best way to mitigate this risk is to first measure and model the workload to choose an appropriate architecture.

The organization’s technical debt can also cause problems. It’s entirely possible that an organization that’s just now making a shift to the Cloud may have no Cloud-based apps at all. Or they could have a combination of Cloud and non-Cloud technologies. This would require a thorough audit of the software and related processes. This exercise would reveal any potential pain points, feature overlaps and enable the teams to analyze the efficacy of the migration.

When things go wrong during Cloud migration, downtime is the most common outcome, and often the best-case scenario. It’s only through continuous testing can the team has confidence that once user traffic switches, there may not be any downtime.

Curious how a shift to the Cloud can prove to be beneficial for your business? Worried about potential cost overruns? At CloudView Partners, we are experts in AWS migrations and can assist you through all of the stages. Get in touch with us today and we’ll work with you to achieve a seamless migration.

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