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Cloud Transition Methodology - Approach and Best Practices

A step-by-step approach from the datacenter to the cloud

Service Transition, which is one of the key  publications in the Service life cycle as defined by ITIL, has the following goals.

  • Transition Services from the current environment to new environment
  • Set customer expectations on how the changed service can be used
  • Ensure that there are minimal or no impact to the business

With this basic description about the service transition,  it is very important to plan for a Service Transition from ‘On Premise environment'  to a ‘Cloud Environment', and the below steps will ensure the success.

The following steps are for the transition of a ‘On Premise' application to a Public Cloud on a IaaS platform like EC2 or to a PaaS platform like Azure. However transition to SaaS is slightly different and will be covered in a different article.

Cloud Transition Scope

  • Existing ‘On Premise' application is transferred to a Public Cloud in an IaaS or PaaS model
  • Existing Support Staff will continue to Support the application after it is moved to Cloud
  • There will be reduction in Support from Infrastructure point of view
  • Application Support will continue to be done by existing support staff
  • There will be a External Cloud Consultant who will be part of the transition and provide knowledge transfer to the existing support staff
  • Existing Support Staff will continue with Application maintenance after the successful transition

Cloud Transition Steps
While  the Transition Methodology has been tailored to customized frameworks by several leading  IT service organizations, they basically  consist of four steps:

  1. Planning
  2. Implementation
  3. Verification
  4. Sign Off Or Closure

1. Cloud Transition Planning

  • Identify and form the Cloud Transition Management team which consists of a transition organization (enterprise) key staff in the applications , organization IT maintenance staff , SPOC from the Cloud Service Provider Organization and ideally external consultants with expertise on Cloud Computing principles and Virtualization
  • Establish infrastructure and network connectivity between the Transition organization to Cloud service provider, we should take decisions on , whether to use which data center region to choose, whether to use Virtual Private Cloud and other accounting related information with the Cloud Service Provider
  • Plan for Knowledge Transfer to your existing business users and support staff in a Cloud Managed environment
  • Plan for dynamic Scaling Options, on how much should be the initial Compute and Storage capacity and how to adapt to the dynamic infrastructure capabilities, what kind of load balancing scheme to be used.

2. Cloud Transition Implementation

  • Once the Cloud Provider platform options have been identified, there needs to be a pilot deployment of the application from ‘On Premise' to the cloud.
  • Training should be initiated to the business users for using the cloud-based system
  • Knowledge transfer activities for IT support staff with the help of an external cloud management consultant
  • KT Plans should target areas like
        • o General principles about Cloud Platforms
        • o Concept of Machines Images and Virtual Machines
        • o Concept of Virtual Storage
        • o Elastic IP and other static IP usage
        • o Dynamic Infrastructure and Elasticity
        • o Cloud Platform Monitoring Options
        • o Cloud Platform Management Options
  • As we will be having a parallel run of the application on the On Premise data center as well as the public cloud, Primary support for the Cloud Platform should be the external consultant and the secondary support will be the internal IT staff

Cloud Transition Verification

  • After the desired period of a parallel run, and with the primary support of an external consultant, there will be a ‘Reverse Knowledge Transfer' from the internal IT staff to assess the extent of knowledge imparted to them
  • There will be brief period of support, where the internal IT staff will be primary support and external consultant will be secondary support
  • Update the documentation, best practices and other artifacts so that the in house IT staff can continue with support on the cloud platform

Cloud Transition Signoff

  • At this time, the in-house IT staff are fully trained in managing the application on a cloud platform and the application is working as per the business needs
  • Shutdown the on-premise data center application and there is no need for a further parallel run
  • Archive the data from the on-premise data center application for legal and compliance needs
  • External Consultant for Cloud Monitoring and Management can be relived to be taken up the internal IT Staff

Best Practices

  • Moving to Cloud will be big paradigm shift for Business users, Support Staff and Senior Management
  • And hence the impact should be minimized and there should not be a sudden big bang change
  • Pilot run with parallel activities between ‘On Premise' and Cloud will be useful
  • The movement should be As per , ‘Lift and Shift Policy', so that we do not change any application change during the movement to Cloud
  • Follow the principle of ‘Make One Change At A Time' and do not get tempted to ‘Transformation' while the Transition is going on
  • Get the buy in from all the stake holders, so that it is sponsored with the top management
  • The Below diagram summarizes the Cloud Transition Methodology for the above given scenario.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

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