Enterprises today are embarking on their cloud migration journey but they are still struggling to define the perfect roadmap towards a successful migration. The secret lies in a well-defined, phased and iterative approach that would help streamline and accelerate their cloud migration.
Roadmap for a successful cloud journey
Phase 1: Plan
Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Planning thus becomes the most critical part for a cloud migration program. Key focus areas in this phase lies in program management setup, portfolio analysis, cloud architecture and operating model layout.
- Program Management Setup: From facilitating strategy building to program governance to benefits realization, program management office (PMO) plays a major role in managing all aspects of the planning phase. PMO ensures strong leadership commitment, sustained change management, program strategy alignment, work plan management, KPI management, risk management, issue management, status reporting, and decision making governance.
- Portfolio Analysis: It helps in providing adequate representation of applications in scope. Application dependency information helps in planning the sequence of application migration. It further helps in strengthening business case for enterprise cloud migration strategy.
- Cloud Architecture and Operating Model Layout: As cloud becomes the new paradigm for delivering business technology in the enterprise, technology operating models need to evolve and grow a new set of cloud-centric capabilities. Cloud operating model is the framework for putting the core elements together in a more agile, productive, and valuable way. Furthermore, in this step a high level cloud architecture is defined based on the enterprise organization and taking into consideration their network and security requirements.
Phase 2: Assess
During the Assess phase, applications are analyzed in detail for future disposition. Cloud Architecture and Cloud Operating model are designed to lay the foundation for migrations.
- Macro analysis: Leveraging a proven cloud readiness assessment framework based on business value, IT efficiency and cloud suitability, the macro-analysis of applications results in designing the cloud roadmap. It also identifies cross cutting concerns such as security, networking, technical, operational, organizational, regulatory and financial.
- Micro Analysis: Once the macro-analysis is performed it is time for the deep dive. Micro analysis facilitates the understanding of current state architecture and defines cloud architecture based on patterns developed during macro analysis. It concludes with the preparation of the detailed migration plan and effort estimates.
- Cloud Architecture and Operating Model Design: Cloud architecture includes account, VPC, IAM roles and policies, and key shared services. This design should adhere to Enterprise Security and Networking policies.
People, Process and Technology are the core elements of cloud operating model. These are evolved to achieve cloud operating model goals, thereby increasing the value for the business and operations. People skills and experience are geared towards becoming more cross-functional, spanning a wider range of service components and use cases. Processes are realigned around services instead of technologies. Tools and technologies are selected for effective implementation and automation of processes.
Phase 3: Migrate
During the Migrate phase, foundation cloud architecture and operating model are implemented as the first steps. Once this done, then the first set of applications identified as quick wins are migrated. The set should include a varying complexity of applications across different business units. Furthermore, during this phase, it is important to take a proactive approach to change management.
- Cloud Architecture and Operating Model Implementation: This step enables the setting up of accounts, VPC, network connectivity, IAM Roles and policies. Shared services and tools are also provisioned. In the cloud operating model key processes are rolled out and teams are mapped to the new cloud-centric roles. This is followed by rolling out of subsequent processes leveraging the key learnings from the existing implementations. This ensures seamless integrations with current systems through the installation of selected tools.
- Initial Set of Application Migration: First set of applications are migrated as quick wins. The successful migrations not only help gain a complete understanding of the portfolio and the organization but also help in building the applications team confidence. Importantly, It also lays down the foundation for repeatable migration patterns.
- Change Management: Effective change management is pivotal to the success of a cloud migration program. Change champions are involved to ensure co-creation of the future roadmaps and smooth cultural shifts. Continuous knowledge sharing and training is performed to evolve skills and include them in the transformation journey.
Phase 4: Scale
With some successful migrations, the time comes for enhancing scalability and accelerating the migration journey. While shifting the focus to scalability, it becomes all the more important to keep a tab on cost and security.
- Large-scale Cloud Migration: Harnessing the migration factory model is the best approach to target large-scale migrations. Based on the migration pipeline and supported by best of breed tools and specialized core/flex teams it brings in reliability and efficiency in the process.
- Operating Model Optimization: Cost could quickly start blowing up. It is thus essential to keep a check on it and optimize through policies, processes and monitoring. It requires streamlining financial management by ensuring standardized tagging on all cloud resources.
- Hybrid Cloud Model Optimization: During this transition phase, both on-premises and cloud are managed. The cloud model is further enhanced and optimized based on new services and tools.
DevOps Automation – the key ingredient
Furthermore, Cloud migration is a great time for enterprises to rethink their operational processes and improve the efficiency in managing and administering their portfolio. DevOps automation is a key ingredient to address the needs of a successful cloud migration while improving the operational efficiency of the services moving forward. This includes both infrastructure and application deployment automation. Additionally, standard templates and scripts significantly accelerate the build-out of future environments. DevOps also brings about a number of business benefits including repeatability, auditability, significantly lower deployment risks, and faster iteration cycles – all crucial to improved operational excellence, better security posture, and improved competitive advantage.
Being a change champion and not just a cloud migration partner
Over the years VirtusaPolaris has been involved in end-to-end cloud journeys of multinational mass media corporations such as News Corp and Dow Jones. As part of the engagement, we have performed program management, portfolio analysis, cloud architecture, macro and micro analysis, application migrations through production and policy automation for them. Based on our experiences, we have found that overcoming the associated challenges with migration also becomes an important part of the journey. We helped our clients in their Change Management requirements by assisting them with required cultural shift in policies, practices and procedures.
Leveraging our DevOps automation practices such as Infrastructure –as-code approach, automated application deployments, integrated operational visibility and creation of CI/CD environment, we helped our clients accelerate their cloud journey, improve business agility to roll out new services and reduce their time to market. The transformational cloud journey helped the companies reduce operational costs by implementing a disposable and consumption based infrastructure models. Further, it reduced risk by transforming some of the legacy applications and upgrading from EOL/EOS systems. Lastly, it reduced the total cost of ownership through enterprise wide solutions, re-usable templates and repeatable process.