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Data Center to Cloud Migration: 8 Best Practices to Get You Started

Posted by Raquel Acuna on Nov 3, 2017 12:00:00 PM
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Cloud computing’s intensifying importance and the shift to hybrid IT is forcing organizations to quickly migrate systems infrastructure up and out of the physical data center.

“No matter how good it is, any server hardware eventually becomes obsolete. Enterprise-class organizations have traditionally coped with this expected obsolescence by adopting a hardware lifecycle policy. An organization, for example, might choose to retire servers after five years. That being said, an organization could integrate a cloud services roadmap into its hardware lifecycle policy. Doing so allows IT teams to migrate on-premises resources to the cloud instead of moving them to newer hardware.”1 

The outlook of using cloud services is often attractive for smaller organizations and startups. In the case of a smaller organization, the use of cloud services provides access to enterprise-class hardware and features that would otherwise be unaffordable. 

As an organization considers the risks and benefits of cloud migration, it’s important to keep in mind that cloud migrations are not an all-or-nothing proposition. Organizations do not have to go "all in" with cloud migrations. However, data is the foundation of successful cloud application deployments and therefore, careful evaluation and planning processes may point out the physical limitations inherent to migrating data from on-premises locations into the cloud. In addition, while it’s easy to be amazed by the many benefits of the cloud, it’s also good to keep in mind that not every workload is a candidate for cloud migration. Below are some best practices that can be considered when preparing for a typical data center to cloud migration.

  • Prepare a migration plan

Determine objectives and an idea of the outcomes your customer expects. Developing a business case is a key component to a successful migration.

  • Leverage vendor migration resources and tools

Many vendors provide cloud readiness and migration assessments, as well as several other great migration tools; some are available at no cost.

  • Application mapping and assessment

Assessments are not only important to be able to evaluate and analyze current environments/infrastructures along with its dependencies, but also are a key opportunity for education, conversation and discovery around a migration. This is an easy way to earn a customer!

  • Choose cloud flavor

Application and cost considerations weigh heavily on organizations contemplating a data center migration to the cloud. But choosing the right cloud environment is just as important and while public, private and hybrid clouds all have benefits, determining which model best meets their needs is an important step on the cloud migration path. Here is a good guide that may help with your selection: Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud: 5 Reasons Why Hybrid Cloud is the Best Choice

  • Reevaluate control and security

As organizations move data to the cloud, control decreases and more responsibility falls on the managed services provider and the cloud provider. As a partner you must help your customer reshape their security strategies and also ensure compliance and security metrics.

  • Define your cloud migration strategy

Once data, costs, security, dependencies and possible challenges have been evaluated, it’s time to decide what to do with leftover on-premises technology, as well as develop a migration timeframe for the customers’ data and applications. Since moving everything to the cloud can be risky and challenging, it’s best to break the migration in phases or workloads and start with less critical applications.

  • Pre–test and prepare for possible challenges

A critical piece of the migration process is the integration and validation of the workloads being deployed in the cloud. Each application component should go through a series of predetermined and well-documented tests.

  • Help drive adoption

A migration offers the perfect opportunity to build a training plan to equip your customer’s IT staff (if any) and/or its employees. Successful adoption equals a successful migration. 

Bottom Line – Prepare Before Migrating

Cloud environments offer many benefits, however it takes careful planning and preparation to ensure a successful migration process. Every business will be different, and their unique situations and desired outcomes will determine the type of migration strategy and process that should be put in place.

The good news is that you’re not alone, and cloud-experienced distributors like Tech Data can help you and your customers through a successful migration road. From migration assessments, resources, programs and incentives we can help boost your cloud migration practice. To learn how cloud technologies can help transform your customer’s business and increase your profitability, contact our cloud team today at tdcloud@techdata.com, or me directly at raquel.acuna@techdata.com.

About the Author

Raquel Acuna is a solutions consultant at Tech Data. Currently, she focuses on cloud partner enablement. Prior to this role, she spent eight years on the Tech Data Cisco team, leading Cisco's go-to-market strategy for all of its architectures and solutions. Raquel has served in various roles within the organization such as sales, operations, training, business development and marketing. She’s excited about all of the opportunities cloud technology brings for the partners, and how new technologies are transforming the world.


  1. http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/feature/To-cloud-or-not-to-cloud-Whats-your-cloud-migration-strategy

Tags: Data Center, Cloud, Best Practices, Cloud Migration