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How Cloud Migration Discovery Works and Why It’s Important

Anatoly Kostenko

Anatoly Kostenko

Senior Devops

7 min

According to a McKinsey report, by the end of 2024, most companies aim to spend $8 out of every $10 on cloud services. These include private cloud, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Reaching this goal will need a lot of work from both businesses and cloud providers.

Cloud migration involves transferring applications, infrastructure, data, and other software objects to a cloud environment.

Usually, companies move apps, services, IT resources, and data centers from on-premises servers to the public cloud. They can transfer the entire infrastructure or just a part of it.

However, cloud migration can also include transferring data and applications from one cloud provider to another.

It is possible to migrate systems as they are or to continue optimizing and modernizing them if necessary. It is also possible to migrate on-premises servers to the cloud and vice versa.

Cloud migration is a complex process, and it contains several stages. These are the discovery phase, planning, migration, optimization, and maintenance phases.

In this article, we discuss the discovery phase and its role in successful cloud migration.

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What is the Cloud Migration Discovery Phase?

The cloud migration discovery process is the first step in moving your data center and applications to the cloud.

This discovery phase is all about understanding your current IT setup and planning the best way to transition to the cloud.

Research from McKinsey & Company shows that although many companies are moving more of their workloads to the public cloud, poor coordination during the migration process is causing problems.

On average, companies are spending 14% more on migration than they originally planned each year. Additionally, 38% of companies have experienced delays in their migrations by more than three months.

These unplanned costs add up significantly on a global scale.

Over three years, the extra spending on cloud migration totals more than $100 billion. If these issues are not addressed, the costs could result in a loss of over $500 billion in shareholder value during the same period.

However, careful planning and a thorough understanding of existing IT landscapes can reduce migration costs by up to 30%.

Cloud Migration Cost Overruns

Before moving to the cloud, you should choose the right cloud approach according to your business and technical requirements.

Here are seven cloud migration strategies, also known as “7 Rs”:

  1. Rehosting (Lift and Shift) involves moving applications from on-premises to the cloud with minimal changes. This is often the quickest migration strategy, suitable for applications that don’t require modifications to run in the cloud.
  2. Replatforming (Lift, Tinker, and Shift) entails making a few optimizations to take advantage of cloud benefits while not transforming the core app architecture. This might include moving to a managed database service or using a cloud-based load balancer.
  3. Repurchasing involves moving to a different product, typically a SaaS solution. For example, a company might switch from a self-hosted CRM to a cloud-based CRM like Salesforce.
  4. Refactoring (Re-architecting) means re-architecting and re-developing applications to better suit the cloud environment. This strategy maximizes the benefits of cloud-native features but requires significant time and effort.
  5. Retire involves identifying applications that are no longer useful and can be turned off. This helps reduce costs and complexity in the cloud migration process.
  6. Retain (Revisit) means keeping some applications on-premises, at least temporarily, usually because they are not ready to be migrated. This strategy might be used for applications with dependencies that are difficult to move or for systems requiring high security.
  7. Relocation involves moving entire data centers to the cloud without any modification to the applications. This can be done using virtual machines and is useful for large-scale migrations.

Cloud Migration Strategies - 7Rs

The cloud migration discovery phase is essential because it helps determine the best strategy for each application.

Understanding your current IT landscape can help you identify which applications are suitable for rehosting, re-platforming, repurchasing, refactoring, retiring, retaining, or relocating.

This phase ensures that each application is matched with the most efficient migration approach, minimizing risks and optimizing performance and cost.

For example, discovery might reveal that some applications are best lifted and shifted with minimal changes, while others require significant infrastructure discovery and re-architecting to leverage cloud-native features.

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Why is the Cloud Migration Phase Important?

As we’ve mentioned above, the discovery phase is crucial because it lays the groundwork for a successful migration to cloud technology.

Understanding your existing infrastructure and what you need in the cloud can help you avoid surprises and ensure a smooth transition.

This phase helps identify potential risks and plan for them, saving time and money in the long run.

Let’s unwrap some other benefits of this phase of the cloud migration journey.

Ensures Business Continuity

The cloud migration phase is crucial because it ensures business continuity.

Properly planning and executing the migration minimizes downtime and disruptions to your operations.

Optimizes Resource Utilization

Migrating to cloud computing allows businesses to optimize their resource utilization.

Instead of maintaining costly on-premises infrastructure, companies can leverage scalable cloud resources.

For example, Netflix uses cloud services to dynamically scale their streaming services based on demand, ensuring they provide a seamless viewing experience even during peak times. This approach helps reduce costs and improves efficiency.

Enhances Security and Compliance

The cloud migration phase helps enhance security and compliance.

Cloud providers often offer advanced security features and comply with industry regulations, providing a more secure environment than many on-premises solutions.

For instance, a healthcare provider migrating to the cloud can benefit from robust security measures and compliance with HIPAA regulations, ensuring that patient data remains secure and private. This is critical for maintaining trust and avoiding legal issues.

These examples illustrate how a well-executed cloud migration phase is vital for maintaining operations, optimizing resources, and ensuring security and compliance.

Key Cloud Migration Strategy Steps

A successful cloud migration requires a well-defined strategy that ensures all aspects of the transition are thoroughly planned and executed.

Here are the key steps involved:

Validate the Discovery Data

The first step in the cloud migration strategy is to validate the discovery data.

This involves confirming the accuracy and completeness of the information gathered during the discovery phase.

Ensuring that all data about your current IT infrastructure, applications, and dependencies is correct helps in making informed decisions for the migration process.

Identify the Business and Technical Drivers

Next, identify the business and technical drivers for the migration.

This step involves understanding the motivations behind moving to the cloud, such as cost savings, scalability, performance improvements, or security enhancements.

Clearly defining these drivers helps prioritize the migration efforts and align them with the company’s goals. For instance, a business looking to expand globally might prioritize applications that benefit most from cloud scalability and availability.

Validate the Migration Strategies

After identifying the drivers, validate the migration strategies.

Evaluate different approaches for moving applications to the cloud, such as rehosting, refactoring, or rearchitecting.

Each application may require a different strategy based on its complexity, dependencies, and importance to the business.

Validate the Migration Patterns

Finally, validate the migration patterns to ensure they fit the organization’s needs.

Migration patterns are repeatable solutions for common migration scenarios, such as data migration, application migration, or hybrid migration.

By validating these patterns, companies can ensure they are using proven methods that minimize risk and maximize efficiency.

The steps listed above are essential for developing a successful, efficient, and smooth cloud migration strategy.

Key Cloud Migration Discovery Steps

Disaster Recovery in Cloud Migration

Disaster recovery in cloud migration involves strategies and processes to quickly restore an organization’s critical data and applications. This ensures business operations can resume promptly in the event of a disaster or cyberattack.

  1. Data Backup

Regularly creating and storing backups of data in different locations to ensure it’s safe and can be retrieved if the primary data is lost.

  1. Redundancy

Implementing redundant systems and resources so that if one fails, others can take over without significant downtime.

  1. Failover Mechanisms

Setting up automatic failover mechanisms to switch operations to a backup system seamlessly in case of a failure.

  1. Testing and Drills

Regularly testing disaster recovery plans and conducting drills to ensure all team members know their roles and the plan works as intended.

Disaster recovery in cloud migration ensures business continuity and minimizes data loss, enabling organizations to recover quickly from unexpected disruptions.

For instance, a company moving to the cloud might use multiple data centers across different regions to ensure that even if one data center goes down, the others can keep the business running smoothly.

Keen to Get Started With the Cloud Migration Process?

McKinsey report reveals that as of 2021, companies managed about 35% of their cloud needs with their own staff. By the end of 2024, they hope to increase this to around 50%.

However, there is already a shortage of skilled cloud professionals, and this increased demand will make it even harder to find the right talent.

To address this gap, some companies use external labor, like outsourcing companies.

However, problems can arise if the partnership is not well-structured.

For example, a global pharmaceutical company handed over its cloud migration almost entirely to SIs without having strong in-house expertise.

Because the SIs were paid based on the time they spent rather than their performance, they had little incentive to complete the cloud migration process quickly.

As a result, some projects took longer and cost more than expected.

Cloud Migration Outsourcing

Aside from change management, spending on SIs was one of the most common reasons for cost overruns.

Hence, value creation is a key metric that a reliable cloud service provider should focus on when assisting businesses with cloud migration.

Are you looking for a reliable partner to get started with your cloud migration project?

We are here to help you out.

Our team helps companies of all industries and sizes solve their infrastructure problems through cloud migration.

If you want to learn more about the overall migration process, cloud technology in general, or AWS cloud services, feel free to reach out.

We are here to review your circumstances, needs, and goals to outline the best approach for you, including clear steps to achieve it. Our specialists will be with you every step of the way to ensure your cloud data migration significantly boosts your operations.

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