The Journey from Cloud Discovery to Cloud Migration

What role does discovery planning play in the migration process?

A huge one. The discovery phase is arguably the most important phase because it sets the foundation for the rest of the migration journey.

In discovery, you’ll find all the interdependencies between your applications and any application requirements (infrastructure components, server and application dependencies, etc.) the target destination needs in order for it to run as well as (and hopefully better than) the original source.

If you’re considering starting a migration project, it is critical that you keep these four tips in mind to ensure a successful journey:
  1. Not all data collection is alike: accuracy, data relevancy, and timeliness matters
A common misunderstanding is that organizations can skip the discovery phase because they have a CMDB, which already has application and server information. But, often this isn’t true. If the CMDB data is too old to be usable or inaccurate to the point where it is misrepresenting the environment, then the data needs to be updated in a discovery phase.

Let’s say that it is kept up-to-date. Is it relevant enough to be appropriate for migration planning? The list of relevant information needed before a cloud migration is extensive. You should have an understanding of host firewall rules, software/hardware inventory, backend database abnormalities, utilization data for capacity planning, and upstream/downstream servers. And that’s not even touching on the non-functional requirements.

Lastly, the data used for planning a migration must be fresh, or timely. Not only up to date, but the collection process must also be easily deployed and managed by a small staff – or better yet, self-automated.
  1. Include the setup time when planning discovery phase
In the end, a migration project professional will be the one to determine what is necessary in terms of timing for capturing application and server data, but having deployment durations running for 30-45 days is a good rule-of-thumb – the reason being that the longer this data is collected, the more samples you will have in your data set.

This will, in turn, give you better conclusions in your analysis. Durations lasting longer than 45 days often become redundant.
  1. Formulate a wave plan
Captured data cannot determine success on its own. It needs to be paired with business intelligence through application owner workshops. In simple terms, this data serves the needs of the application (which ultimately serves the business) so naturally, businesses must be included in application owner workshops.

You’ll need to discuss blackout periods when no migrations can take place, user acceptance plans, uptime requirements to plan your migration window, SLAs to plan for high availability infrastructure in the destination environment, etc.

This inclusion of application owners into the discovery phase conversations (combining business intelligence and hard data) is imperative in forming your wave plan.
  1. Leverage automation
When the discovery phase is completed, you will have all that is necessary to perform an analysis, which will allow you to draw conclusions to determine the applications and servers that belong within the appropriate move groups based upon significant factors.

These factors might include affinity relationships, target environment readiness, environment priority, and application owner readiness.

Like a well-oiled machine, the wave plan will consist of the move groups you’ve organized and any capacity planning elements required to support the incoming cloud computing systems. When properly planned for, these components will work to create an intelligent software that will automatically capture functional requirements, and ultimately make IT’s job easier.

Discovery planning is not a step that should ever be skipped. It’s vital for the migration’s success. If you’re interested in learning more about the discovery process, download our latest eBook – Identifying Cloud, Data Center, and Security Vulnerabilities through Cloud Discovery.