Whether you are migrating from an on-premises system or another cloud environment, a migration to Google Cloud shouldn’t be overly difficult, as long as you have the right strategy.
In this post, we will discuss how to migrate your VMs (Virtual Machines), resources, and workloads to Google Cloud by following three basic steps: discover, assess, and migrate.
Discover Which Workloads To Migrate
To ensure a seamless migration to Google Cloud, you must first identify which workloads to migrate, and to do so, a proper understanding of how many assets (both software and hardware) exist in your current environment is needed.
We’d recommend building a comprehensive inventory of:
- Servers (both physical and virtual servers)
- Physical hardware (network equipment, endpoint devices, physical firewalls, etc.)
- Your applications (those to be migrated, those to stay in the current environment, and those to be decommissioned)
- Services supporting your applications. For example, artifact repositories, CI (Continuous Integration), and source repositories, among others.
- Dependencies of each application (especially those to be migrated). This includes databases, configuration storage systems, message brokers, and other components.)
When building your inventory, we’d also recommend collecting information related to the items you’ll include in the inventory, such as:
- Security requirements for each item (i.e. network restrictions)
- Licensing requirements (some hardware appliances also require licensing)
- Deployment method for the workload
- Source code location and whether the source code can be modified
Make sure to include detailed specifications for each item you include in the inventory, while paying extra attention to dependencies. Dependencies will be a major factor to consider during a cloud migration.
Assessment of Workloads: Categorization
After you’ve completed the discovery process and have built your inventory, the next step is to categorize the workloads into different categories.
The purpose of this step is so that you can prioritize the workloads to migrate according to their complexity and risk in moving to the cloud.
You can categorize your workloads in different ways as you see fit, but the basic categorization approach is to assess your workloads based on three assessment criteria:
- Importance: How critical is a workload to your business’s operations.
- Dependencies: Whether the workload has dependencies or is a dependency for others
- Difficulty: How difficult a workload is to be migrated to the cloud. Keep in mind that there are workloads that are simply too expensive, difficult or impossible to migrate.
For example, if a workload is critical for your operations, then it should be migrated only after you’re sure about the new environment’s reliability. However, if the same workload has dependencies with other apps and/or databases, then these apps and databases may need to be migrated first.
Testing and Developing Proofs of Concept
To make the most of each application after the migration to Google Cloud, it’s recommended to develop a proof of concept (PoCs) for each category of workload in your inventory. The PoC should include at least the following:
- The use cases of each workload. Also, consider uncommon/rarely used use cases.
- The requirements for each use case. This should include, but is not limited to: network requirements, performance requirements, failover measures, and so on.
- A potential list of products and solutions that you want to test the PoC on
Prioritizing The Workfloads To Migrate First
Now that you’ve already established a comprehensive view of your current environment, you’ll need to plan the initial order in which you want to migrate your workload.
Assuming it’s your first experience with Google Cloud Platform, it’s crucial to choose the right workloads to migrate first that can help facilitate your team in building familiarity and knowledge on Google Cloud, while also considering the three factors we’ve discussed above: importance, difficulty, and dependencies.
Again, you can use many different approaches in prioritizing which workloads to migrate first, but below are some of the most important criteria to help you plan your first step:
1. How critical is the workload
It’s best to choose a workload that is not business-critical to migrate first. This way, when there are any mistakes or unexpected issues while you or your team is learning about the new environment, it won’t directly impact your business’s main operations.
On the other hand, in order to build familiarity with the Google Cloud environment, do not choose apps that are rarely used.
2. Whether the app is run in a unique way compared to the rest of your infrastructure
You’ll want to discover patterns that you can apply to other workloads to migrate later, so you should avoid apps with unique deployments (i.e. edge cases).
3. Teams responsible for the workloads
Choose a workload that is handled by a team that is motivated to try Google Cloud, and make sure the team has clear goals around the migration of the specific workload.
4. Scope and quantity of dependencies of the workload
In general, choose workloads that have the fewest number of dependencies, so it’s easier to migrate these workloads to Google Cloud and if there are any mistakes, it will minimize the effect on your overall workflow.
Choose a workload that is already cloud-native, or at least, only requires a minimal amount of refactoring/adjustment so you can focus on the migration itself and testing the Google Cloud environment.
6. Compliance and licensing requirements
Some of your workloads might have licensing requirements that may affect migration. Examine your workload’s licensing terms carefully while also evaluating compliance requirements. As a general rule of thumb, choose workloads with the least amount of licensing and compliance restrictions as your ‘first-movers’.
7. Availability requirements
Choose workloads with lenient affordability requirements (i.e. you can afford relatively long downtime.)
Finding Help With Your Migration
Migrating to a new cloud platform often requires the help from a partner. Pythian cloud migration services will help you ensure a seamless and secure migration to Google Cloud Platform. So, you can experience Google Cloud’s advantages faster while also enjoying Pythian’s in-depth data expertise and customizable security solutions.
A smooth transition to Google Cloud will ultimately allow your business to maximize the ROI of the cloud migration so you can make the most of your new cloud environment.