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Cloud Migration Assessment: The Importance for SMBs and Enterprises

Read Time: 7 minutes

Cloud migration assessment is the foundation for SMBs and enterprises to successfully navigate the ongoing shift to the cloud. 

While 44 percent of IT leaders surveyed are planning increased workload migration to the cloud, 66 percent of respondents see cloud migration as a top challenge, according to the “Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud Report.” This is most often because of the complexity of planning a migration, which all starts with understanding how to conduct a proper cloud migration assessment. 

What is a Cloud Migration Assessment? 

A cloud migration assessment gauges an application or workload’s readiness for the cloud. This involves pinpointing cloud-specific features, as well as understanding the architecture, performance needs, security demands, costs, scalability, and provider compatibility. All of these factors will guide organizations in shaping their cloud migration strategy and optimizing their cloud architecture. 

However, this task has become more difficult, as businesses are handling a combination of legacy IT infrastructures and applications in need of review and updating. The push toward cloud-first approaches and cost-cutting also makes it essential for businesses to determine an agile and scalable future for their applications and workloads. 

A cloud migration assessment provides a wealth of benefits that work to serve these goals: 

  • Strategy customization, which ensures cloud migrations deliver maximum savings and agility 
  • Risk reduction via the early detection of issues, driving smoother transitions 
  • Infrastructure optimization by evaluating and tuning IT setups for peak cloud performance
  • Optimized resource allocation, which maximizes IT personnel management efficiency over the long term
  • More informed decisions, which facilitate data-driven choices to maximize cloud business outcomes and operational returns 
  • Maximized security, prioritizing compliance and data protection 
  • Future-proofing, preparing organizations for future evolution to accommodate technology and business opportunity shifts 

Key Components

Achieving the above benefits is no small feat, regardless of the scope and rollout of a cloud strategy. To ensure that an assessment delivers these advantages, organizations must carefully plan and execute a few key components. 

Infrastructure Analysis

Successful migration journeys start with a thorough grasp of an organization’s current IT infrastructure. This involves assessing physical and virtual resources, including servers, storage devices, network configurations, and virtual machines to gauge the extent and health of current resources. 

Performance metrics enable an organization to study current workload performances, peak usage times, and any bottlenecks, all of which help determine required cloud resources and configurations. 

Integration point identification allows organizations greater visibility into connections with other systems or external platforms. This will dictate how organizations manage data flows and processes in a cloud environment. 

Application Portfolio Analysis

Applications and workloads are the lifeblood of every business, so a detailed analysis requires several processes. The first is application categorization based on their criticality, usage, and business value. This helps organizations decide which applications to move first, which need restructuring, and which they can phase out. 

The next task is to map application interdependencies to recognize how different applications interact with each other. This will guide the sequence and strategy of a migration to ensure business continuity. The application dependency mapping phase will also reveal modernization opportunities, such as migrating to SaaS solutions to replace legacy apps and how to better leverage the advantages of cloud. 

Data Classification and Sensitivity

Data classification enables a business to segment data based on its importance, usage, and sensitivity, which, in turn, helps it decide on the right storage, backup, and retrieval strategies in the cloud. A data sensitivity assessment helps an organization understand which data sets have regulatory, confidential, or proprietary implications. This is important for encryption, access controls, and other protective measures. 

Security and Compliance Considerations

Security and compliance are vital considerations in cloud migration assessments, as data loss and lack of regulatory compliance for sensitive data can permanently damage a business. Organizations must thus perform a risk assessment to evaluate potential vulnerabilities that might arise during or after a migration.

Compliance mapping will make sure the cloud strategy aligns with industry and regional regulations governing data storage and processing. Continuous monitoring will be critical to rapid threat response, mandating the adoption of tools and practices that provide real-time insights into security health.

Manual Versus Automated Assessment Approaches 

Assessments using manual tools such as spreadsheets, checklists, and basic discovery tools can be time-consuming and error-prone, not to mention scale poorly for large or complex environments. An automated approach automatically and accurately discovers all IT assets, evaluates dependencies, assesses cloud environment suitability, and provides cost and timeline estimates.

The goal of any cloud migration assessment is to help define the long-term cloud strategy and the different phases of migration for the best outcome. That requires businesses to have a clear vision of targeted and prioritized outcomes to achieve the full benefits of a cloud migration assessment.

Benefits of a Cloud Migration Assessment for SMBs 

SMBs and enterprises must prioritize which potential advantages they are seeking at every phase of their cloud strategy. The following are some of the most sought-after benefits when it comes to a migration assessment. 

Cost Optimization

Over 80% of IT respondents say managing cloud spend is the greatest challenge. A thorough migration assessment can identify which workloads are best suited for the cloud, right-size infrastructure needs, and identify appropriate pricing models. This helps organizations avoid costly over-provisioning, as well as the performance limits of under-provisioning. Assessments can also uncover opportunities to leverage cloud-native services, which often come at a reduced cost compared to maintaining traditional infrastructure. 

Today’s businesses need the ability to scale resources based on demand, and migration assessments are foundational to ensuring they only pay for what they use. Cloud migration assessments direct SMBs and enterprises toward strategies that maximize cloud efficiencies and ensure cost-effective operations in an ever-changing digital landscape. 

Risk Mitigation

There are many potential risks involved in a cloud migration that lacks a proper assessment to guide both short- and long-term strategies toward prioritized business outcomes. Some avoidable risks include over- or under-provisioning resources, large data transfer costs, downtime, and service interruptions. Others include cloud incompatibility based on applications and workloads, along with hidden costs associated with migration and post-migration operations.

Assessments also avoid the risks of skills gaps by helping to identify the need for specific expertise or training, while data backup and recovery strategies rely on assessments to ensure business continuity during and after the migration process. Performance testing is yet another key factor that ensures optimal application and system performance in the cloud. 

It’s also important to note that cloud assessments in a hybrid and multi-cloud world make it easier for organizations to avoid vendor lock-in.

Application Dependency Mapping

Identifying interdependencies between applications in a data center using cloud migration tools is crucial. Understanding these links makes sure organizations do not leave critical systems that are not functioning correctly due to overlooked dependencies during migration. 

Application dependency mapping (ADM) is a pivotal tool in the arsenal of IT professionals, offering a granular view of how different software components and services interact with one another. In the intricate web of modern IT infrastructure, where services are often interlinked and interdependent, understanding these relationships is crucial.

By taking the time to conduct a comprehensive cloud migration assessment, organizations can gain a holistic view of their migration journey, ensuring they make informed decisions that mitigate risks and challenges. 

Steps of a Cloud Migration Assessment 

Regardless of migration scope or business size, every organization follows the same steps in a cloud migration assessment. 

Identify Business Objectives

Cloud migration success relies on business objectives being aligned with the strategy. This varies among businesses and may include anything from increased business agility and scalability to minimizing total cost of ownership (TCO) and maintenance costs. Other objectives may include increased failover capacity for greater application resilience or enhanced remote collaboration. 

Understanding the IT Infrastructure

Some workloads will be easier to move to the cloud than others, while some cannot be moved at all. Others can be eliminated or must be changed at a code level in the migration process. 

An application assessment identifies the applications and their critical ranking based on their value to the business to ensure the migration prioritizes the most important ones. The next step is to assess each application’s technical requirements for target environment compatibility, performance, and scalability. 

The business requirements of each application also need to be evaluated, such as functions, user requirements, and integration needs. Migration strategies will vary based on the application, so the assessment phase is critical to choosing among the seven strategies: rehost, refactor, revise, rebuild, replace, retain, and retire. 

A data assessment provides key information on data sensitivity and potential risk for theft. This will determine a governance starting point, which also aids in loss prevention planning. A cost assessment for a thorough migration strategy and proper planning is critical for organizations to stick to timelines, avoid misconfigurations, and achieve scalability, as well as prevent unplanned repatriations or reverse cloud migrations—all of which can increase cloud costs. 

Each of these aspects makes cloud migration assessment tools indispensable to a successful migration. Organizations will need to evaluate their cloud migration strategy and planning to determine which tools will provide the greatest benefit. 

How Cloud Migration Tools Can Help 

Cloud migration assessment tools play a pivotal role in ensuring smooth transitions to cloud environments. Among these, visibility and assessment solutions offer a bird’s-eye view of the current IT landscape, pinpointing existing workloads, applications, and their configurations. These insights assist businesses in understanding what they currently have and inform migration decisions. 

Application and IT infrastructure dependency mapping dives deeper, illustrating how different applications and systems interrelate. By revealing these interconnections, businesses can strategize migrations to ensure minimal disruptions and maintain system coherence. 

Migration tracking tools provide real-time insights into the migration process, allowing teams to monitor progress, address any issues promptly, and ensure that organizations adhere to migration timelines. Post-migration validation testing and rollback tools make sure that migrated applications and systems function as expected while enabling mechanisms to revert changes if anomalies arise. 

As always, monitoring is a must. Application performance monitoring tools continuously scrutinize metrics for migrated applications, ensuring they meet or exceed pre-defined benchmarks to guarantee consistent user experiences. 

Lastly, cost modeling solutions offer a projection of the potential costs associated with the migration and subsequent cloud operations. By providing detailed breakdowns of expenses, these empower businesses to make financially sound decisions, optimizing their cloud investment. 

Meet Faddom

Cloud migration assessments will continue to be indispensable for organizations as they increasingly look to hybrid and multi-cloud migration strategies to meet changing business and marketplace demands. What is becoming clear is that targeted business outcomes from migration depend on the thoroughness of the migration assessment. 

This means giving equal weight to every aspect during the planning phase, from current IT infrastructure, applications, and data assessment to security/compliance, costs, and risk assessment. When matched with targeted business outcomes, assessments and visibility drive the future agility, scalability, resilience, and innovation of organizations in a changing hybrid work and cloud world. 

Faddom discovers everything you need to know to plan IT migrations without worrying about any disruptions you might create in your business applications and for your end users. Our agentless platform helps you to discover your complete end-to-end environment so you can plan migrations with complete confidence that you have 100% accurate information from the beginning.

To learn how Faddom supports cloud migration assessments, start a free trial today!

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