Technology, Cloud

How to migrate your small business to cloud

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Often the chief technical officers get stuck with the problem of how to transit their current operation to a virtualized environment most efficiently. Sifting to cloud may demand a lot of effort and involvement. When you decide to shift to cloud you need to have clear goal and strategic approach towards it. The task is often difficult for small businesses since they lack in adequate fund and manpower. But at the same time needs a speedy deployment to minimize the loss in business.

Migration to cloud can be divided into 3 steps, namely –analysis, assessment and deployment.

Analysis

The first phase of analysis involves planning and devising an appropriate strategy for successful cloud deployment. It involves analyzing your scopes, goals, target and timeframe.

  • Scopes:  Before you migrate to cloud identify its viability for your organization. The migration may demand substantial initial investment before you actually start reaping the benefits from it. Hence, it is essential to establish scopes for the systems targeted for transition before the project is undertaken.
  • Goals: The goals will describe your objectives for adopting cloud based applications. While shifting to cloud you need to have a clear idea about the end result that you expect from it.
  • Target: This stage involves laying down a workable plan to achieve the end result. This will involve decision regarding which cloud to use (private, public or hybrid), asset usage, fund allocation, selecting cloud based service provider, and more.
  • Timeframe: It is absolutely essential to determine a timeframe to achieve cloud target. It is imperative for small enterprises since they need quick deployment or else can suffer potential loss of business.   

 

Assessment

The assessment phase will involve deciding the feasibility of the virtualization project. It can be further subcategorize into steps like – vendor search, identifying platforms and licensing requirements, deciding on SLA’s etc.

  • Vendor search: Perhaps the most critical part of successful cloud deployment is finding the vendor perfect for your requirements. This stage will also involve decision regarding multi-tenant vs single-tenant platform. It is necessary to find service provider who complies with government regulations regarding inland and cross border data security, data encryption etc. Check out the security layers provided by the vendor to protect your project-critical data in the virtualized environment.
  • Identifying platforms and licensing requirements: You need to assess your current hardware and network infrastructure to decide if additional investment is required for successful cloud migration. Performance of cloud based applications depends on certain operating system and vis-a-vis you too may have certain applications running that aren’t supported by virtualization or need special APIs.
  • Deciding on SLA’s: The service-level-agreement (SLA) of a vendor is the most crucial piece of document that needs a thorough analysis before undertaking the migration project. Different applications will demand different levels of importance. Applications that demand high-availability, data encryption or low-latency IOPS need to be described in the SLA.   

    

Deployment

The final stage involves the technicalities of migrating to cloud based environment. This will involve selecting the migration toolkit, infrastructure, applications and finally validation and testing.

  • Toolkit: The migration process can be complex in heterogeneous environment that involves different data formats, technologies, vendors etc. and hence, you need to decide about proper tools that will enable onetime as well as repeated cloud installation. You’d need to identify tools that will enable smooth data migration from iSCSI SAN set-up to Fiber Channel environment.
  • Infrastructure: You may need to upgrade your infrastructure in terms of virtual machines, operating systems, Load balancing requirements, Firewall, network, and more.    
  • Applications: The third step will involve migrating applications, middleware, database, turnkeys etc. to the virtualized environment.
  • Validation and testing: The final stage of migration involves validating and testing the success of the project and ensuring stability of the virtualized environment. You need to ensure that data and applications have been moved to the cloud without loss of accuracy and functionality.    

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