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Moving to the cloud? A readiness assessment is essential

By November 23, 2018 No Comments

CLOUD MIGRATION, STEP 1: THE READINESS ASSESSMENT

Evaluate your business goals and your existing IT environment at the beginning of your cloud journey.

You’ve considered the merits of cloud computing. You’ve made digital transformation part of your business strategy. And now you’re thinking about moving your on-premises servers and applications to the cloud. What’s next? It’s time for a comprehensive cloud readiness assessment to examine your business priorities and your technical infrastructure.

What is a cloud readiness assessment?

A cloud readiness assessment is an intensive evaluation of an organisation’s existing IT system that is designed to identify cloud-suitable and cloud-unsuitable resources. The assessment is usually conducted by cloud professionals in partnership with senior members of the organisation’s managerial and technical teams.

Executives are asked to share strategic insights about business priorities, objectives, and deliverables, while IT stakeholders are relied upon to provide holistic information about the system architecture and associated assets. Current and future business scenarios are discussed, with cloud consultants generally focusing on three key areas…

#1 | Primary business concerns

Businesses typically look to the cloud to reduce costs, increase operational efficiency, or improve security – but there’s often a specific trigger behind the actual decision to migrate.

Pressing capacity needs, compliance concerns, and expiring data-centre contracts are some of the common catalysts. At present, the looming end-of-support dates for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, as well as SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, are prompting many companies to embrace cloud technology.

Cloud consultants aim to uncover the business’s main priorities so they can determine which cloud solutions are the most appropriate. Their goal is to facilitate a seamless migration process, but that’s only possible when they have a complete picture of what the business is hoping to achieve by moving to the cloud.

#2 | Current applications and technologies, plus usage trends

Depending on its size, the business may run hundreds or thousands of applications across a variety of servers. How are these applications structured? Can they be modified for the cloud? What technologies are being used? How are they organised?

Consultants need to create a thorough catalogue of the business’s on-premises applications and servers, with explicit particulars about architecture, communication, and dependencies. This inventory is especially important for determining whether applications should be rehosted, refactored, rebuilt, or replaced in the cloud.

It’s also vital for cloud specialists to understand how the business’s resources are currently being used. What’s the status quo, in terms of app volume and usage? What are the system requirements during normal operating conditions? And during peak periods?

Cloud consultants must have a clear idea of the resources that exist in the business’s present environment, what they’re being used for, and where they belong in the system, so that migration teams can create appropriate guidelines for moving servers and application stacks.

#3 | Data management

How does the business handle data? Where is data processed and stored? What data-specific industry rules and compliance regulations apply to the business? Consultants have to explore these questions with relevant stakeholders during the cloud readiness assessment.

Data privacy and data security are core concerns for all South African businesses that manage sensitive in-house material and confidential customer information. Foreign decrees like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation have the potential to affect local entities. And SA laws, including the Protection of Personal Information Act, dictate the relationship between businesses and consumers. Legal obligations and compliance considerations must be reviewed during the readiness assessment.

One step at a time

A successful cloud migration requires extensive preparation and careful planning. The readiness assessment is the first (and most important) step. In our next article, we’ll take a closer look at Step 2: The Road Map to get to grips with the blueprints for cloud migration. In the meanwhile, learn more about app migration to Microsoft Azure by watching these videos…

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

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