The discovery stage of your cloud migration project

Migration or digital transformation to the Cloud is at the forefront of every organisation’s plans- It’s no longer a case of if that transformation is happening it’s how

Some organisations are not sure where to start that digital transformation though. When you look at this type of project for me it can be split up into four key areas: Discovery, Assessment, Migration and Operations.

For me that first stage, the Discovery is massively important, and I think often overlooked.

Why is it so important?

The discovery phase of a migration project is all about collecting data, data that you will use to help determine your strategy and plan for migrating. Without this data you can’t make informed decisions about what your strategy should be.

A migration project does focus on the technology, however there should also be an element of people in there as well. The people that support or use the technology should be part of the project and part of the driving force towards the organisation’s digital transformation.

So, when you embark on the discovery part of the project you should be aiming to gather information about your organisation’s technology and about how the people in your organisation interact with that technology.

Collecting the technology data

There is a lot of technology data that you need to collect during the discovery phase. From the basics like what is your servers’ names to complex data about when ports they use to communicate and where they communicate to.

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Some of this information will be readily available within your documentation or configuration management database (CMDB) but there are tools out there that can help you collect and collate that information. Out in the market there are tools like Azure Migrate, Cloudamize, Corent Tech, Device42, Turbonomic and UnifyCloud to name a few.

Now these tools all offer great services and output, but which one should you choose?

For me it comes down to a couple of decisions:

– How does the tool discovery information?

– Where does it store the information, it discovers?

– What is the price?

Some of these tools will require software or agents installed on some or all your servers to help discover information. While others will use network scans to find the information. Depending on your organisations policies and complexity one model might be better suited to you.

These tools collect information about your environment, where is that information stored? Some will store it in your own environment, so you have control over it. Others will store it in a private or public cloud location. This is an important point to consider, especially if you are early in your cloud journey and don’t have full sign off from your security or leadership to store data in the cloud.

And lastly price, consider how these tools charge you but don’t make it the deciding factor. It should be a consideration but shouldn’t be the driving factor.

Speak to your staff

Now that you’ve got the technology data gathered you need to start to speak to your staff, both those that support the technology and those that use it.

You should speak to your IT staff and understand where they are with their cloud skills. What support will they need to be ready to support the migration and the result where your technology will be in the cloud. And you need to think about this from a short term and long-term point of view.

Also ask them about how they feel the technology should be transformed into the cloud, should some things stay in their current environment because of complex support needs, should things be completely ditched, and new solutions be found? Ask them and get their opinions, they know this technology, find out their thoughts.

In terms of your end users, you should go and speak to them as well. These are the people that use the technology on a day-to-day basis to do their jobs, so they can tell what is working and what isn’t working. Where changes can be made when outages absolutely can’t be tolerated. And a whole lot more.

All information is valuable

You might be thinking that that is a lot of information that needs to be gathered, why? Well, all this information will be able to help you answer how your organisation carries out their digital transformation. What can be moved to the cloud, how can it move to the cloud, challenges of trying to transform that specific application etc should all be answered in the information you’ve gathered.

So please spend time on gathering the information to help your organisation with its digital transformation and make sure you select the right tools to help you with that job!


About the Author

Sarah Lean is a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. Sarah has worked in the IT industry for several years and has worked with a variety of companies to support their IT departments and help with digital transformations. You can find more of Sarah’s blog posts at www.techielass.com

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