Cloud Migration Assessment – A Guide to Evaluating Your Workloads for a Cloud Environment

Cloud Migration Assessment – A Guide to Evaluating Your Workloads for a Cloud Environment

Mateusz Łach - January 25, 2023 - updated on January 23, 2024

Cloud migration can bring numerous benefits to your organization, including increased efficiency, scalability, and cost savings. However, before you make a move to the cloud, it’s essential to conduct a thorough cloud migration assessment to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

A cloud migration assessment evaluates your business objectives, current IT infrastructure, and workloads, helps you choose the right provider, and guides you through the planning and execution of your migration.

In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive cloud migration assessment guide to evaluating your workloads as part of your digital transformation to cloud computing.

What is Cloud Migration Assessment?

Cloud migration assessment is the process of evaluating the cloud readiness of an application or workload, which includes identifying cloud-specific features like cloud services and cloud-enabled services. The primary purpose of cloud migration assessment is to facilitate seamless cloud adoption as part of a digital transformation.

A typical cloud assessment involves a detailed analysis of the application’s architecture, performance and security requirements, cost, scalability, and provider to verify that the environment is suitable for the workload.

Conducting a cloud assessment assists organizations with identifying and prioritizing cloud migration goals, developing their cloud strategy, and building cloud architectures that are optimized for performance, cost, and scalability.

High-level cloud migration strategy - The cloud adoption process starts with a thourough cloud assessment of your current IT environment snapshot

High-level cloud migration strategy - The cloud adoption process starts with a thourough cloud assessment of your current IT environment snapshot

Assessing Cloud Migration Readiness

A thorough understanding of your existing environment, as well as the apps and workloads contained within it, is required in order to plan and design a successful cloud migration journey.

It is also recommended to determine the ability of your organization to adopt any new cloud technology, evaluating its’ current and prospective or desired IT capabilities so that you can fill in any gaps by developing new competencies.

Together, this means assessing the breadth and standard of your training programs, the backing of stakeholders and management, your current levels of cloud-native service usage and operational automation, as well as the ability to safeguard your existing environment from threats.

The readiness of your organization for cloud migration depends on whether or not you already have plans in place covering individual apps and workloads, if you want to develop existing ones with possible future scaling kept in mind, or if current cloud operations already run smoothly.

Business Objectives Are Your Key Starting Point of Cloud Adoption Journey

Defining your cloud migration goals in advance of beginning the process will allow you to make better cloud migration decisions and determine when to use cloud services and cloud-enabled services.

Is the main aim just a quick return on investment (RoI) without causing much disruption to your existing IT infrastructure, to streamline operations for increased efficiency, or to ultimately introduce greater innovation throughout the organization, for example?

Part of a cloud migration assessment is, as such, to confirm that the cloud environment is suitable for your workloads and to identify cloud strategies that are aligned with, and will enable you to achieve, your business objectives.

Assessing Your Current IT Infrastructure

Identifying Your Current IT Assets and Infrastructure

Before migration can begin, a cloud assessment must be conducted to identify any existing IT infrastructure that will need to be replaced or modified.

This step involves evaluating all dedicated hardware and software – applications, databases, servers (either physical or virtual), firewalls, data storage systems, and network devices – that are currently used in your IT infrastructure.

Understanding Your Current Workloads and Their Dependencies

To develop and carry out a successful Cloud migration, you first need to comprehend your starting point.

At this stage, it is worth creating an extensive and exhaustive catalog of your apps, then listing them in accordance with their individual characteristics and dependencies – e.g., databases, storage systems, and message brokers – to later identify migration waves.

The 7R methodology for cloud strategy (diagram based on AWS Cloud materials)

The 7R methodology for cloud strategy (diagram based on AWS Cloud materials)

Evaluating Your Workloads for Cloud Computing Suitability

Determining Which Workloads Are Suitable for Cloud Migration

Evaluate each workload’s cloud migration suitability in terms of their scalability, performance, and cost. Pinpoint any cloud-specific features that need to be integrated, such as authentication, authorization, and encryption services.

Consider which services support the infrastructure of each app – i.e., source and artifact repositories plus continuous integration tools. For each workload, note the location and modifiability of source code plus the runtime environment method of deployment (e.g., automated or manual deployment pipeline).

Identifying Potential Roadblocks and Challenges for Certain Workloads

Highlight any existing workloads that may be difficult to port over or require major changes to be made cloud compatible, being mindful of issues such as cloud-native databases, network or security restrictions, and hardware or software licensing requirements.

To overcome all such potential roadblocks, train your team on cloud migration and your chosen provider (after doing so), then build a proof of concept there before starting the migration process. Read more about cloud migration challenges here.

Assessing Workload Performance and Resource Requirements in the Cloud

Evaluate cloud infrastructure needs such as compute resources, cloud storage, and cloud databases. Bear in mind that the resource requirements for your current environment have to be re-evaluated considering the target environment.

For instance, after migrating your apps to the new environment, they may require fewer cores than they currently do, thanks to a higher-performance target environment with an architecture that is more modern.

Choosing the Right Cloud Provider

Researching and Comparing Different Cloud Providers

First, create a shortlist based on the most popular cloud providers in the industry, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Then, assess cloud solution offerings from cloud providers and verify that they can meet your cloud migration requirements.

Next, compare cloud solutions by looking at factors such as performance, scalability, reliability, availability, security, and compliance.

Evaluating Provider Offerings and Pricing Models for Cost-Efficient Cloud Migration

Use a benchmarking tool to compare cloud providers, compiling a report on typical performance metrics such as latency, time-to-complete, and throughput, as well as end-to-end cloud resource provision times.

Consider vendor pricing models such as pay-as-you-go, subscription models, cloud capacity pricing, spot instances, and cloud reserved instances to find the most cost-effective cloud migration solution.

Selecting a Provider That Meets Your Specific Needs and Requirements

Choose a provider based upon their offering of cloud (-enabled) services for increasing migration efficiency and reducing the costs migration. Also, check that access controls and cloud-enabled data protection measures are available to guarantee cloud data security.

Ultimately, select a provider that, according to your comparison, offers the services you require and makes data security guarantees at a cost that fits within your cloud migration budget.

Planning and Executing Your Cloud Migration

The three iterative stages of the cloud migration initiative

The three iterative stages of the cloud migration initiative

Developing a Detailed Migration Strategy and Timeline

First, decide the initial order that you plan to migrate your workloads and apps in, if you will be doing so in phases. Keep in mind that you may update this order during the process after gaining experience with the chosen cloud platform and your environment.

Next, consider the migration timeline – break it up into smaller milestones to make the project easier to manage. Re-evaluate your cloud migration strategy, timeline, and budget periodically throughout the cloud migration journey to keep the project on track and on time.

Implementing Proof of Concept Project for Key Services

It can be useful to design and develop a proof of concept (PoC) for each type of app that you plan to migrate. Experimentation and testing let you validate assumptions and demonstrate the value of the cloud to business leaders.

An effective PoC must include use cases, their requirements (e.g., performance and scalability, networking, failure mechanisms), potential products and technologies to research and test, and experiments to validate them (with scope, validity context, expected results, and measurable impact).

Migrating Workloads in Phases or as a Complete Lift-And-Shift

Migrating apps in phases lets your team gain experience and grow their knowledge of the process and the provider, reducing the risk of encountering issues and making it quicker and easier to carry out future migrations easier.

Picking the most suitable apps to move first according to their business value, uniqueness, the team responsible (for developing, deploying, and operating them), dependencies (amount, type, and scope), required effort for refactoring, licensing and compliance requirements, availability, and reliability.

On the other hand, a complete lift-and-shift cloud migration is the fastest method to move all your workloads to the cloud. This involves creating cloud instances for each of your existing apps and transferring them as is, including their configuration, data, and dependencies.

Testing and Validating Migrated Workloads in the Cloud

Once migration is complete, monitoring is essential to assess the cloud environment for any anomalies and gain insights into resource usage and costs.

Measure performance, check that cloud resources are being used correctly and efficiently, improve availability and scalability, create optimization strategies, and identify any possible security threats.

Also, be on the lookout for issues such as latency, outages, cost overruns, resource utilization spikes or drops, unplanned traffic surges, data breaches, and misconfigurations.

The Importance of a Thorough Cloud Migration Assessment Phase

Cloud migration assessment is a crucial step in cloud migration and should be given the attention it deserves. The more information you have about your IT environment, the better prepared you will be for cloud migration and the smoother the process will go.

Taking the time to conduct a thorough cloud readiness assessment will go a long way to successfully delivering cloud migration projects on time, within budget, and with the desired results. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the experts at nexocode.

About the author

Mateusz Łach

Mateusz Łach

AI & Digital Business Consultant

Linkedin profile

Mateusz is a digital strategist and innovation enthusiast. He enjoys building new products and concepts, often with the help of AI. Mateusz joined Nexocode with the mission to consult startups, mid-size companies, and enterprises on their digital transformation journey and help them benefit from custom artificial intelligence solutions.
Responsible for overall business development and sales activities. A geek of new technologies.

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