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Six Steps to a Successful Cloud Deployment

After many years of hype, Cloud adoption is finally becoming mainstream. Companies are virtualizing their environments to achieve increased flexibility, agility and scalability. However, migrating to the Cloud is not without its challenges. In fact, only 27% of respondents to a recent survey conducted by THINKstrategies reported extreme satisfaction with their overall Cloud migration experience. How can you make sure your Cloud deployment is a success? Follow these steps.

Define your business objectives. Before you begin the process of Cloud migration, document your business objectives and the goals you are trying to achieve. In other words, why are you moving to the Cloud in the first place? Is it for greater flexibility? Cost savings? Quicker deployments? All of the above? Use this list as a decision making tool throughout the migration process to ensure the choices you make along the way will help you achieve your end goals.

Assess your needs. Once you have your end goal in mind, assess your applications and workloads to determine which ones you will migrate. Document the computing, memory and other resources needed for each application to meet the desired performance levels. Your assessment should take into account any physical/technical security measures and compliance requirements needed to ensure your data is properly protected.

Select the right partner. Now that you’ve defined your objectives and determined your needs, it is time to select a Cloud provider that will help you get there. The THINKstrategies survey found a much higher level of success and satisfaction when organizations have their IaaS architecture designed by an experienced service provider, when the business works closely with their provider during the deployment process, and when the business leverages the provider's managed service capabilities to monitor their IaaS availability and performance on an ongoing basis.

Plan your move. The first step in the planning process is to determine the order in which you will migrate. Start with less complex and mission-critical applications first and then move to the more complicated applications. During this phase, you should determine how users will access the environment and how you will train your staff and document changes to any internal processes.

Migration. With proper planning, the migration itself should be easy. If your organization can tolerate downtime during a migration, you may choose a simple lift and shift cutover plan. More likely though, you will need to minimize any downtime during your migration. This may require a more complex strategy where you first set-up the new environment, sync it with your primary environment and then move all traffic to the new instance.

Testing and validation. The final step in the migration process is to verify that all data and applications were migrated successfully. Check to make sure users are able to access the application and verify that all data (transactional and reference) was successfully transferred. Test to ensure the application is completely functional under normal circumstances and under high load, high stress scenarios. Lastly, make sure your monitoring and management tools are properly linked to your new environment.

Following these steps and working with an experienced provider will help mitigate your frustration during your Cloud migration.

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