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The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration – Part 3

By Simon Mohr, CEO at SEM Solutions

This is the ultimate part during a three part series, taken from ‘The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration’ by Simon Mohr and Databarracks. Did you miss Part One or Part Two? Alternatively you'll download the complete whitepaper here.

What attractiveness like

Migration may be a complicated process, but it’s no dark art, and overcoming a number of the foremost common (and most severe) pain points is usually just a case of getting prepared sufficiently. And yet there’s often a reticence within the mid-market to take migration because the critical process it's , and thus little to no concept of best practice.

This reticence isn't present at the very top end of the market. The regional nuances and idiosyncrasies (from both a technical and process standpoint) make migration a dizzyingly complex exercise for global companies with disparate workforces and IT environments.

Consequently, larger organisations or heavily regulated industries often have very fixed ideas about how migrations should be conducted, and plan for them accordingly. Processes must be bulletproof, with clear, accountable owners assigned to each aspect. Migration at this level is necessarily laborious, and therefore the organisations carrying them out simply can’t afford the catastrophic disruption that failure would cause.

This diligence may be a matter necessarily , and is additionally reflected within the accompanying documentation. one among the most migration guides employed by large organisations is almost 600 pages long and distils hugely complex moves, like consolidating servers from multiple geographical data centres, into standardised processes.

These rigours permeate the whole migration strategy – it’s not unprecedented for companies to spend upwards of 200 man days on the info gathering process alone, and this type of attention to detail is reflective of what's needed at the lower end of the market, although at the instant it’s completely absent.

It’s rare for smaller companies to even anticipate migration projects, including have a firm grasp of best practice. Obviously smaller companies don’t merit many man hours of designing – but efforts must be scaled down during a relative fashion instead of ranging from scratch and meeting needs as they arise.

SMEs would be advised to follow the lead of larger organisations and establish some standardised processes relevant to their size and complexity. Doing so not only saves money on initial discovery and scoping exercises with migration consultants, but aligns the result of the migration itself to more future business need.


Migration doesn’t just happen overnight. Not without planning a minimum of .cloud computing technology

 In fact, Bloor Research’s ‘Data Migration within the Global 2000′ survey found that in migration projects, insufficient scope definition caused:

Over 50% of respondents to run over budget

Over two-thirds to run over timescale

A failure to plan sufficiently isn’t necessarily indicative of technical difficulty. Quite the other in fact: the most important migration challenges are usually an issue of perception.

Many of the purchasers I work with are regularly surprised when the migration process is painless; there’s frequently an expectation that it'll be disruptive and dear and take too long. This attitude nearly always stems from some common misconceptions which will cumulatively have a substantial impact on the success of a migration project:

We don’t need no administration’

Value your system administrators. Whilst it’s true that a lot of organisations are reducing their internal IT function in favour of cloud-provider SLAs, maintaining a transparent view of your IT systems and data can pay for itself once it’s time to migrate

‘Migration may be a purely technical challenge’

Leave the technical hurdles to the migration partners – that’s their speciality. Migration is primarily a business challenge and therefore the surest indicator of success is obvious process and open communication. Establish some best practice; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, much less industry-standard methodology.

Downtime is a chance for change’

Don’t combine upgrade programmes or big systems changes with migration projects. There’s a reason scheduled downtime is ‘scheduled’ – it’s time put aside for intensive work with known entities. Limit the variables you’re working with the maximum amount as possible.

Our service provider will complete the migration for us’

This obviously depends on what's being migrated, but many organisations are still surprised when cloud providers don't offer migration services. because it has become more complex, dedicated migration partners are frequently required.

Ultimately though, the simplest piece of migration advice for anyone who owns a digital environment is to not let the necessity arise unexpectedly. call center technology Position it as an expected event under the entire cost of ownership. You’ll sidestep the financial and operational shock of discovering it as an urgent need and encourage better day-to-day data management policies.

This attitude is steadily improving. Organisations are becoming smarter about migration, and lots of are now choosing to figure with experienced migration partners after recognising it because the self-contained process it's . Doing so nearly always makes the movement of knowledge , applications and infrastructure a non-disruptive process.

The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration – Part 2

By Simon Mohr, CEO at SEM Solutions

This is the second part during a three part series, taken from ‘The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration’ by Simon Mohr and Databarracks. Did you miss Part One? otherwise you can download the complete whitepaper here.

A to B in Six Easy Steps

1. Planning

Planning for a migration isn't significantly different than planning for the other major IT project, particularly if it’s already inbuilt to the entire cost of ownership. Companies will start with an initial need then outline a roadmap towards the answer , generally composed of:

Starting conditions

Desired end results

Processes of change

Testing (of both functionality and performance)

Reporting to live success

However, given the intensive (and intrusive) nature of migrations, migration partners also require a degree of transparency and disclosure not usually needed in other projects – of both the explanations for the migration and of the initial shape of the IT environment itself.

For instance, certain initial conditions, like ageing pieces of infrastructure, a scarcity of disc space or recurring downtime must be factored in to the migration strategy. These sorts of issues can often be planned around, but failing to spotlight them at an early stage could unexpectedly impact the image quality or the power to finish synchronisations successfully.

2. Getting Access

Actually getting access to the companies’ systems are often quite complicated counting on the day-to-day hygiene of the client’s IT environment. It relies on strong password management policies and a solid understanding of access criteria to routers and servers. Essentially, they have a bunch of keys handy over and that they got to know what each key does. this is often usually an honest indicator of how well the business knows their own systems and may foreshadow potential problem areas later within the migration.

Once those keys are handed over the migration specialist will then got to perform a niche analysis to live up how closely the customer’s idea of their IT estate aligns with reality. as an example , it’s fairly common for a corporation to use variety of various developers over the lifetime of one server. During that period, each of the developers could are building scripts and uploading backups independently of 1 another, without ever informing the broader business.

So, out of a hypothetical terabyte of storage, ¾ of it might be haunted with archived zip files just because there was nowhere better to copy that data at the time.

This is a reasonably common situation, and it’s not in the least unusual for companies to possess a really poor understanding of their own environment – particularly given the shrinking numbers of technical and system administration jobs in modern IT departments.

3. Proof of Concept

Essentially, the proof of concept stage may be a rehearsal of the migration model itself, executed on a sample set of knowledge , without hitting the ‘Go Live’ button at the top . this will be configured around one transaction or event just to demonstrate the functionality of the migration path, or be more complex counting on the amount and sort of systems being moved.

If the move isn’t complicated, this will be a really fast piece of due diligence. Alternatively, the proof of concept stage are often an honest point at which to align expectations with what's possible given the timeframe, budget and resources allowed. It can become a stage at which the migration partner says ‘We’re not getting to plan to complete this – what we’re committing to is establishing whether or not this is often possible.’

4. completing the migration – Imaging or Domain-by-Domain?

Historically, migrating an outsized amount of knowledge was a case of putting a disc drive during a jiffy bag and calling the courier. information technology degrees Obviously, the type of downtime this creates isn’t compatible with the high-availability culture of today’s business environment.

Consequently, there are two fundamental ways to migrate non-disruptively, which may be loosely summarised as either moving all the info directly in as short a time as possible, or moving discrete elements of the environment within the background.


On the surface, the primary method seems like the apparent choice; an easy copy and paste process completed outside of business hours. Uninformed companies tend to presume they will shut their systems down within the legacy environment on a Friday, copy a clone image to the new environment over the weekend and press ‘Go’ at 6am on Monday so everyone can devour their emails.

In reality, there are many factors that would affect the standard of the transfer, the results of which could not emerge until the destination. this is often also the sole method with scheduled downtime outside of the Go Live phase – you can’t take a picture of a live environment, and therefore the prospect of shutting everything down are often alarming. for several organisations, hitting the ‘off’ switch isn’t something they’ve done before.


Domain migrations are more reliable than imaging, but they take significantly longer. By moving across one system component at a time – like an exchange server – the probabilities of service outage are significantly reduced. However this also means the customer has got to maintain two environments simultaneously, which may be costly, particularly if the domain is a component of an outsized infrastructure.

The transfer rate is additionally slower because the data transfer tends to happen over the web , with most migration providers allowing around 1 Gb/hour. this is often a skill in itself, because if the migration are often completed with no impact to existing services, it are often administered at any time within the background without disrupting the IT environment.

A good analogy is to consider your IT environment as a house. Migrating data using imaging is that the equivalent of learning the house and moving it to a replacement location in its entirety. The likelihood of that house reaching its new destination without having one brick loose or piece of furniture out of place is very unlikely. The home is likely to wish to tweaking and spring cleaning once it arrives. Similarly, it’s certainly quicker, but during the method you don’t have anywhere to measure .

Domain migration is that the equivalent of moving the house room-by-room; much slower, but necessarily more aware of the respective parts.The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration – Part 

By Simon Mohr, CEO at SEM Solutions

This is the primary during a 3 part series, taken from ‘The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration’ by Simon Mohr and Databarracks. Next time we’ll break down the six easy steps of the migration process. you'll download the complete whitepaper here.

The pace at which we’ve come to take cloud technologies as an everyday utility is staggering. Even the language we use has changed.

Looking back only a couple of years, people would speak in terms of movement; of the journey towards cloud. Today, it’s often assumed we've received some new technological frontier, and are instead occupied with making improvements – making things bigger, faster and more efficient.

It also can be deceptively complicated, and something the uninitiated tend to underestimate. The paper ‘Data Migration within the Global 2000′ from Bloor Research found that only 16% of knowledge migration projects were delivered successfully (e.g. on time and to budget). On paper it’s a just an enormous copy and paste job, so why do numerous migration projects fail to match up to expectations?

For a start, migrating to the cloud may be a remote, instead of a physical process; it’s rarely a case of simply moving data from point A to point B. Instead, cloud migrations often arise as a consequence of wider business drivers like corporate growth or restructuring, then must be simultaneously absorbed into a wider business strategy but considered one , contained process.

The huge and widely broadcasted benefits of moving faraway from a standard dedicated environment has generated an environment of urgency around cloud adoption; success stories of companies becoming exponentially more agile, flexible and efficient are common, and therefore the remainder of market wants a bit of the action.

However organisations must take care this enthusiasm doesn’t translate to impatience with the migration process as an entire . Remote migration isn’t inherently risky, but it are often a disruptive process that ought to be held in equal reference to the expected benefits of the destination environment. Moving to an untested platform without first establishing how suitable it's for the immediate business need (and compatible with the prevailing environment) is like happening holiday without booking a airplane ticket or packing your bags.

Hasty migrations risk two major consequences:

The migration process is ill-planned and thus likely to encounter difficulties.

The destination environment fails to measure up to the unreasonable expectations placed thereon .

Working with a trusted migration partner sidesteps the bulk of potential problems. Cloud computing has proved to be a disruptive technology, and as systems and infrastructure became more complex, so have the operational skills sitting behind them compartmentalised.

‘Migration’ as a contained skillset has emerged as a neighborhood of this process, and as we’ll continue to ascertain , successful migration projects are frequently a consequence of excellent planning, sufficient resources and, perhaps most fundamentally, the anticipation of the migration process as an intrinsic a part of cloud adoption.

The ‘grudge purchase’ and valuing your data

Before we get in to specifics, let’s take a glance at one among the most causes of tension during migration projects – cost.

Migrations, particularly for little and medium sized enterprises, are rarely budgeted for. this will be for 2 reasons: either the necessity to migrate arises suddenly (perhaps thanks to failing hardware or immediate change in business need), or more likely the method is assumed to be included as a part of the service provider offering.

Whatever the cause, it’s an error to take the migration process as an inconvenience. Doing so undermines the worth of your business critical data. In countless annual IT surveys, organisational data is universally considered the only most vital company asset. In fact, respondents to a Computer Weekly survey reported ‘Data Protection’ as their top security priority in 2013. So why does this attitude suddenly evaporate once the info is in motion?

The remedy for this is often relatively simple: to create in migration as an expected a part of the entire cost of ownership.

This doesn’t mean simply allocating more budget to service providers though: for the bulk of them, this is often not a core competence.

Ten years ago budget hosting companies may need been ready to move an easy website onto their servers with relative ease, but it's too complex now – there are too many concurrent services and interdependent systems. Service providers are becoming much savvier about this too; many have underestimated this complexity and had their fingers burnt within the past.

The same dynamic is true of internal IT teams. Organisations could be tempted to chop corners and reassign internal technical staff to oversee a migration project because, on paper, the talents look quite similar. But technical aptitude is merely one prerequisite of successful migrations – it’s not simply a case of following a group of instructions and hitting the ‘go live’ button at the top . It’s a more nuanced business process that demands a set of other skills to urge right first time.

This is really the key: migrations are highly intensive events with no real margin for error, and skimping on cost up-front is extremely short-sighted given the many costs incurred by rectifying a botched project.

Of course, underpinning all of this is often the very fact that there's no inherent risk in data migration, goodbye because the planning, testing and allocation of resources are sufficient. This might sound simple enough, but the truth is usually quite different.

The skill gap

Another side-effect of the recent uptake of cloud services has been a dramatic loss of internal technical skill. As organisations outsource more of their IT functions, it’s often assumed there’s a corresponding drop by the necessity for technical staff. In some cases, this only becomes a drag in times of disruption – when systems fail client-side and there’s nobody around to resolve the difficulty .

However, understaffed IT departments can have invisible but serious consequences within the future . In short, outsourcing the systems doesn't mean outsourcing the knowledge, and corporations that crop internal capability too far necessarily distance themselves from their IT, and put their data at unnecessary risk.

One of the supposed pillars of cloud computing is that IT becomes a disposable utility that doesn't got to be maintained internally. In specific cases, like individual services from providers with very high SLAs, this could be true. But a central a part of migration has an accurate image of the whole IT estate for comparison at either end.

This is a basic requirement without which the success of a migration is impossible to work out , and yet increasing numbers of companies have a really limited picture of the systems they possess – a consequence of overzealous outsourcing.

Industry Insight

This emerging skill gap is proving to be particularly painful in conjunction with a recent trend anecdotally reported by digital agencies.

As big brands are realising the importance of continuous digital engagement with their customers, many are building out significant internal creative and development functions to check campaigns and reduce their time to plug .

Whilst this ability is hugely beneficial for creative teams, there’s a danger that as individual development clouds become easier to spin up (most today are often found out with a couple of mouse clicks and a credit card) organisations are unwittingly creating masses of knowledge in separate, temporary instances without maintaining them or closing them down afterwards.

Where historically these would are maintained and/or consolidated by on-site technical and system administration staff, there's now a risk they’ll simply remain, unused. This results in ‘cloud sprawl’ – an inefficient cloud environment, often with an equivalent levels of unused capacity seen in traditional dedicated environments which will inevitably require a migration to rectify down the road .

This is the opposite side of building migration into the entire cost of ownership – undergoing regular maintenance as a business-as-usual activity to prolong the longevity of existing systems and reduce the quantity of extraneous work required during actual migrations.

Next time we’ll break down the six easy steps of the migration process… you'll download the complete whitepaper here.

It’s very easy when doing a migration to trip up along the way – to try to to things and not consider the unintended consequences of a specific action. this is often resolved by marrying up suitable IT skills with a more business-focused outlook – understanding the business impact of the technical decisions being made. A migration may be a very specific, contained process, with future implications. Having someone with a foot in either camp (business and technical) is preferential.

5. Testing

It’s surprising how frequently companies don’t anticipate the likelihood that the migration won't have worked perfectly first time round. for several the testing phase is considered just a formality – almost like a car mechanic driving round the block to demonstrate that everything works perfectly.

It’s not rigorous enough.

Testing should be some extent at which the migration is given an opportunity to fail; better within the testing phase than weeks after completion, when the migration specialist will got to be called back in, usually at a price to the business.

In fact, testing are often significantly more work than the particular move itself, particularly if you’re migrating complex websites with many points of entry, sorts of interaction and different user groups – those interdependent processes all got to be tested thoroughly. Ideally, organisations will have a shopping list of required tests to hold out at the opposite end, though again, the loss of internal IT skills can make this unlikely.

Ultimately, it entirely depends on size, preparedness and complexity. Testing could only require up to half each day , or at the opposite end of the size , up to three months for an organisation with thousands of clients who can’t risk downtime.

This is also perhaps the sole stage at which there’s a risk of the customer being too cautious, so it’s important to form the clear distinction between ‘testing’ and ‘staging’ in additional traditional projects.

Testing during a safe, staged development or test environment is an integral part to most IT projects, then companies are often surprised to seek out out this is often not the case with migrations. The testing phase, though not happening during a discrete environment, fulfils this need completely goodbye as adequate resources are dedicated to it. completing additional staging as a precautionary measure may be a duplication of effort.

6. Go Live

The go live phase may be a vital a part of the method and therefore the only time (except for imaging) where scheduled downtime occurs. It’s at now all the file structures and databases are verified and checked for changes.

Many organisations are tempted to travel live very late in the dark on a weekend due to a presumed sense of security – if something goes wrong, there’s many time to repair it before work starts again on Monday.

In reality though, this is often often an error , for 2 reasons. Firstly, if the stages before the go live point are completed exhaustively, no more errors should occur. Secondly, within the unlikely event something does fail , it’s incredibly difficult to urge in touch with the relevant web developers and engineers within the middle of the night at the weekend. General best practice dictates that the optimum time is around 7am on a Monday morning, leaving an honest amount of your time to rectify any issues without causing much disruption.

Next time we’ll be covering how a number of the world’s biggest migrations are done, alongside a number of the foremost common migration misconceptions. you'll download the complete whitepaper here.