Accelerating your Cloud Migration

I worked with a colleague several years ago who stated, “within 2 weeks of starting any migration project, workloads should be migrating.”  At the time, I thought the idea, while noble, was impossible as most migration projects were still heavily infrastructure centric with most workloads tied to some type of hardware anchor that also needed to be relocated.  He and I had opposing views on the topic to say the least.  

As technologies have evolved, so have migration techniques and approaches.  I would highly recommend reading Aaron Cox’s, "Building a Blueprint, the 3 approaches to every migration" to better understand the shift from infrastructure centric to application centric and now service centric migrations. Now, many organizations have the ability to provision on-prem infrastructure in weeks instead of months and cloud services within minutes.  In just 10 years, that idea that I frankly thought was absurd, is getting more and more possible.  Well, 2 weeks is still very aggressive and requires complete alignment of the stars, but 4-6 weeks is certainly achievable in the right situation. 

These architectural advances are allowing migration projects to implement a “fast lane/slow lane” concept to expedite the migration project and shift greater effort to more complex applications.  That coupled with an ever growing and maturing migration tool market place, has made migrating self-contained virtual machines and applications much more straight forward. 

There are numerous quantifiable project benefits:

  • Expedited migration planning and execution phases
  • Lower level of effort for simple workloads resulting in lower overall project costs
  • Continuous migration pipeline around business usage
  • Streamlined complex migration events
  • Usage of lower cost resources 
  • And the list goes on and on

However, the greatest benefits typically come in areas that are harder to quantify. 

  • Resource focus: Skilled resources can devote their attention to the more complex workloads. 
  • Less high volume, high risk migration events over a weekend:  System Admins are no longer working through the weekend to migrate non-PROD environments or someone's "once a month reporting" system. 
  • Reduced resource fatigue: The projects can often be expedited by at least 25%.

Now, I hear you loud and clear, "this all sounds great, but how practical is this to implement?  I mean, do the stars have to align in order for us to identify one workload where this will work?"  Actually, it's a lot simpler than you would think.  As mentioned earlier, the maturity of the migration tool marketplace has aided in reducing the candidacy criteria quite substantially.  In fact, within most enterprise environments, at least 25% of the systems will typically qualify as Fast Lane candidates.  

The technology innovation cycle is shorter than it has even been.  Which means new ways to perform traditional activities, like migration and transformation, are emerging all the time.  I encourage you to constantly look for innovative ways to put your company's or your clients' migration in the fast lane.