PLAN: Doing a migration assessment (step 1 of 3)

cloud migration assessment | Binary Tree

Before you migrate to the cloud, you first need to have a bird’s eye view of your current infrastructure and applications. Only then can you put together a solid plan that covers the migration process, costs, and timing. Depending on how complex your systems are, this assessment could take anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Your goals in this assessment should be to:

  • Develop an approach to assess your systems
  • Choose tools to help you do the assessment
  • Learn how to accurately calculate return on investment
  • Build migration roadmaps, prioritizing the simplest migrations

The plan should answer questions like:

  • What applications and infrastructure are you currently running across your organization?
  • Of these, which should be migrated, modernized, retired, replaced, or stay on-premises?
  • What are the risks associated with a migration?
  • How long will the migration take?
  • What will be the return on investment for the migration, based on your current running costs, your post-migration running costs, and the cost of the migration itself?
  • What other benefits will your organization get from migrating to the cloud?

To create this plan, you typically go through three steps:

  • Discover and document your current applications, plus your goals for the migration
  • Plan the migration, in which you create a detailed cloud design and migration schedule
  • Evaluate, where you build a business case for the project and have your decision makers sign off

In this post, we talk about what you should do in the first phase, discover.

Choose the right techniques and tools

To start with, you need to develop an approach to assess your systems. There are several ways you can go about this. Examples:

  • Do it yourself using Microsoft tools like Azure Migrate and Azure Database Migration
  • Do it yourself using third-party tools designed to help you analyze your infrastructure
  • Bring in a partner to run the assessment for you

If your systems are large and complex, the third option can often make the most sense and actually be the most time and cost effective. You can bring in an expert partner who is skilled at running these types of assessments across an enterprise. They know what to look for and which questions to ask. And they come in with an experienced, neutral eye, so it can sometimes be easier for them to see things you might gloss over or take for granted.

Interview stakeholders

No matter what technique or tool you choose above, a big part of the discovery effort is to interview your stakeholders. These could include application owners, relevant executives, technical staff, and end users. The idea here is to understand each group’s perspective and priorities and to help you document answers to the questions below.

Document current applications

Next up, you should understand how each application fits into your business. Work with application owners to document these types of things:

  • How does the application fit into your business?
  • What does it do? Who uses it?
  • Are there any existing pain points, like issues with reliability, performance, or functionality?
  • What happens if it goes down? How severely does that affect the business?
  • How is the application currently implemented?
  • How much data and bandwidth does it use in both regular and peak periods?
  • What are the renewal dates for any leases, licenses, or warranties?
  • What are the requirements for security and compliance?
  • Are there any dependencies with other components and systems?

Estimate current costs

Last up for the discovery phase, you should estimate what your total cost of ownership is for your current applications. This gives you a baseline to then compare against how much they cost in the cloud. As a starting point, you can use the Azure TCO calculator to help estimate some on-premises costs. But you’ll then need to add in other non-Microsoft software, too.

Things to include in your estimate:

  • Servers and network equipment
  • Software licenses
  • Support agreements and warranties
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Facilities (power, space)
  • Headcount costs

Get started

Ready to start an assessment of your own? We at Binary Tree are standing by. We’re exclusively focused on helping enterprises around the world plan, move, and manage their way to the Microsoft cloud. As part of this, we do assessments that help you get insight into your collaboration environments, including Office 365, Exchange, and Active Directory. To get started, get in touch.

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Source: Microsoft. Cloud Migration and Modernization Playbook, 2018