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How to Take Your Legacy System to the Cloud

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When your organization makes the decision to migrate your legacy systems to the cloud, completing the move in itself isn’t the goal. Instead, the end goal is for your organization to reach a more reliable, responsive, and flexible state through the IT backbone that enables your business.

Although the move to the cloud can seem straightforward, for many businesses, it isn’t. Thanks to the integration of applications, years of legacy data, unique hardware configurations, and other dependencies such as vendor agreements and compliance standards, what seemed like a simple decision can quickly turn into a mess of conflicting expectations, miscommunications, and missed deadlines.

In other words, a poorly planned and managed cloud migration can create more problems than the effort initially set out to solve. So how can your organization set the proper foundation for a successful cloud migration? Here are a few steps your business should follow to meet its end goal.

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Set the Project Scope

Any journey to the cloud begins with all of the stakeholders having the right understanding of how the migration can impact the organization’s mission, capabilities, and business. Therefore, at this initial stage of the project, it is important for the leadership team to fully back the outcomes that can be achieved and to establish a consistent communication mechanism.

At this stage, leadership should create and agree upon an initial documentation of the systems, applications, services, and databases that are to be involved. Similarly, the resources, staff, and timeline for the project should be locked in and communicated so business units are able to make any necessary adjustments to help make the migration a success.

Define the Current State and Future State Requirements

Once expectations for the road ahead are documented and communicated, the next step is to capture, in detail, the components of your current infrastructure that will be migrated. All of the applications, custom scripts, databases, networks, platforms, instances (test, production, development, and so on), and processes in your environment need to be inventoried.

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Finally, specific compliance and regulatory requirements should be documented, as should security policies and rules that need to be migrated or reevaluated in the future environment.

Identify Your Cloud Provider

With expectations set and requirements captured, it’s time to define which cloud model fits your needs (i.e., public, private, or hybrid) and which vendor best meets your requirements. In addition to conducting research and contacting peers for their feedback, cloud providers should be able to demonstrate how their staff, infrastructure, services, and operations meet your business needs.

This is also the time to fully capture the potential up-front and ongoing costs of the cloud services your organization can be utilizing as well as the potential ROI of the migration.

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Develop the Migration Plan and Initiate Migration

This is where the rubber really hits the road when it comes to cloud migration. Developing a project plan is never a one-size-fits-all endeavour, but leveraging best practices and the experience of your partner can help to define the migration approach that meets your business needs.

Whether it is a “big bang” migration with a full cut-over of all systems, a “waterfall” or phased migration, or a migration with a pilot, all involved parties must agree on a realistic expectation of the time needed to prepare systems and data, perform the migration, test, and train.

Once the project is underway, communication with stakeholders, leadership, and end users remains essential, especially as issues arise that may require additional resources.

Establish Your New Normal

The technical piece is just part of what makes a successful migration. Performance metrics about reliability, uptime, latency, and throughput help, but it is important to also track help desk metrics, end user issues, and requests for support or training. As these metrics are captured, they can be used to optimize your cloud configuration as well as the resources available to help your end users take full advantage of the new resources available to them.

How the Right Partner Can Help

Regardless of the size and scope of your migration, having a partner who understands the big picture of your business, its goals, and its IT environment can help to prepare not only your applications but your entire organization for the move. A partner like FNTS has the experience and the tools to bypass common pitfalls and help make the migration a successful one.

To find out more about how your organization can draw on the wealth of experience and knowledge FNTS can deliver to your legacy system migration, reach out to the team here.

Overcoming the Challenges of your Legacy Systems