What are the Best Practices for a Large-Scale Cloud Migration?

For organizations of any size, migrating to the cloud presents a challenge. Leaders have many decisions to make, including which applications to migrate and how to connect such activities to business use cases.

Large-scale migrations are the specialty of David Turretini, Worldwide Lead Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Industry, and Enterprise Growth Programs. Having worked with numerous customers over the years, he has developed best practices to guide large-scale migrations, those involving hundreds of applications or servers, to the cloud. Turretini shared his experiences and best practices in a session at AWS Summit New York last week.

The following are his steps to cloud migration success:

Step #1: Migration Preparation

Getting prepared is undoubtedly the most important step since it sets the foundation for your migration. There are several key tasks to accomplish within this first step.

Executive Sponsorship and Buy-In

Migration projects are costly and complex, and they simply won’t happen without leadership buy-in. Stakeholders must communicate their intent within the migration and outline the appropriate metrics for success. The more an organization can measure throughout the process, the more manageable the migration will be.

Master Foundational Capabilities

The second point of preparation requires organizing people, processes, and technology:

  • Hiring the appropriate staff, forming the right partnerships, and developing a communications plan. One common action is the development of an internal Cloud Center of Excellence (CoE) where best practices and methodologies may be developed and documented.
  • Forming the right processes that ensure operations run smoothly. This includes adopting the right tools that support security operations, billing optimization, provisioning, and more.
  • Developing the most impactful business cases, driven by defined key performance indicators (KPIs). Decided by the leadership team, this includes areas such as cost avoidance, operational resilience, workforce productivity, and business agility.

Step #2: Migration Planning

In this segment of the migration process, leadership should organize all the processes and components that will set the stage for a successful migration. This will include:

  • Discovering how to connect data between applications: Cloud offers the opportunity for organizations to better understand their customers and being able to contextualize customer experiences provides better buying experiences.
  • Application Re-Platforming: Some applications that are moved to the cloud will require an update in code. Known as re-platforming, this can include modernizing database systems or integrating with application programming interfaces (APIs) to increase connectivity and functionality while retaining the application’s original purpose. Alternatively, leaders can also push for applications to be re-hosted, re-purchased, or re-architected, depending on bandwidth. The image below shows the options that teams can choose from in moving their workloads into production.
Application Replatforming


During this process, Turretini also recommends developing a migration scorecard to track migration costs, record CoE application audits, and indicate which data was encrypted. Read on our blog post on 7 Elements for a successful cloud migration plan.

With the planning and auditing complete, organizations can finally migrate their chosen applications into the cloud.

Step #3: Operate and Optimize

With applications now in the cloud, it’s important to continue testing to see what works and what does not. Here, operating and optimizing is dependent on the needs of the organization in both the near- and long-term.

Kickstart Your Migration Today

Whether you’re still exploring migration options or deep into optimization, managing applications are a continued challenge. Make sure you stay up to date by ensuring your staff is trained and ready to handle any issues that may arise.

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