Cloud Migration Methodology: This Is How We Modernize Digital Assets

9 min read
Jun 4, 2024 8:54:11 AM
Cloud Migration Methodology: This Is How We Modernize Digital Assets
16:03

Migration to the cloud is an essential part of modernizing digital assets. It is also one of the first steps many organizations take to implement solutions based on artificial intelligence and advanced data analysis.

For years, Pragma has been supporting the leading brands in Latin America’s financial and retail sectors in enhancing their digital solutions through cloud migrations. But what is the journey to the cloud, and how does it work?  What are the phases of a successful cloud migration process?

This article will answer these and other questions based on our experience as an AWS partner.

Contact us if you are looking for a partner with experience modernizing the digital assets for top brands in banking and retail sectors.

Three Key Moments to Understand the Journey to the Cloud

Before reviewing the steps of cloud migration, we must understand the general context of this type of development. 

At Pragma, we understand a company’s journey to the cloud from three key moments: 

  1. Cloud Deployment: Build a Strong Foundation for the Future

    In this initial phase, we focus on meeting the company’s fundamental needs and designing a migration process adapted to its specific requirements.

    We are committed not only to offering a cloud solution that meets best practices but also to laying the foundation for a continuous evolution of the workload and technologies used. Our priority is aligning with the company’s long-term vision and ensuring the solution’s elasticity, security, and resilience.

  2. Cloud Management: Maximize the Performance and Security of Your Migration

    Once the migration is complete, new challenges arise in managing infrastructure, processes, mechanisms, policies, and knowledge, among other aspects. So, at this point, we focus on establishing a governance model that allows us to manage the migrated solution efficiently, moving the current operating model towards native tools in the cloud. This will enable us to simplify routine tasks through automation and create a cross-cutting surveillance and management team (experience center). 

    Our approach is based on recognized ITIL processes, ensuring effective issue management, platform monitoring, operational planning, and continuous service improvement.

    In this phase, monitoring your digital assets in the cloud is essential to reducing costs and maintaining optimal performance. To learn more, we recommend the success story of one of our clients in Central America.

  3. Solution Modernization: Use the Cloud to Reach the Next Level

    In this third moment, we help our partners understand the next step in their journey to the cloud. We focus on evaluating the organization's needs to determine how, based on the assets that we have migrated to the cloud, we can continue to evolve and adopt new technologies such as managed or “serverless” type services, machine learning to offer an improved user experience or simplify operational activities, business intelligence, and big data analytics, among other tools.

banner-modernize-your-digital-assets

 

Step by Step: This Is How We Approach Cloud Migration 

Pragma proposes a phased migration process, which allows a more precise approach based on each organization’s cloud governance and business architecture needs. 

After the project kickoff, we draw up a roadmap that generally has the following phases, activities, and deliverables:

Step 1: Discovery Phase

This phase aims to gain in-depth knowledge about the current environment and lay a solid foundation for planning and performing the migration. The more information gathered at this stage, the better prepared the migration team will be to address challenges and opportunities that arise during the migration process.

At this stage, various activities are carried out to collect information and assess the feasibility of migration (depending on the AWS 7Rs-based migration strategy), such as:

> Agent Installation:
Discovery agents on the servers that make up the solution allow a clear understanding of the system’s performance, processes and applications running on the servers, dependencies with other components, rightsizing with cloud machines, costs per machine, and construction of a solid business case.

> Running a Well-architected Review (WAR):
We run a WAR on the architecture, which allows us to evaluate pillars of Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Cost Optimization, Performance Efficiency, and Sustainability. 

This helps us understand the solution’s current state and contrast it with the excellent AWS cloud practices. It also allows us to identify the risks that will be addressed individually during or after migration, as the case may be.

> Understanding the Business Vision and Objectives:
We perform CRA (AWS Cloud Readiness Assessment), which determines cloud readiness and helps us identify gaps and opportunities in the 47 AWS Cloud Adoption Framework capabilities. 

> Understanding the IT Governance Model:
This activity includes the following:

  • Overview of the current model through meetings or review of existing documentation
  • Interviews with key decision-makers in each area of ​​the model, including IT governance, operations, security, and compliance leaders
  • Review of all relevant documentation related to the model, such as security policies, audit logs, compliance reports, and other documents supporting operations
  • Understanding of how performance is measured and evaluated in each impacted area, including tracking key metrics and performance indicators
  • Review of strategies for compliance with specific regulations and standards
  • Mapping of the team involved in the management and performance of each area to understand who the experts are in each field

> AWS Optimization & Licensing Assessment (OLA):
We will perform the OLA to identify opportunities for cost optimization of our client’s current licenses. 

> Business Impact Assessment:
We analyze cloud migration’s impact on the organization’s processes and operations, seeking to plan strategies that mitigate any potential unplanned disruption.

> Explaining the CCoE (Cloud Center of Excellence):
We will provide training on the CCoE operation model that is typically established to effectively lead, guide, and manage the adoption and operation of cloud services. The primary purpose of the CCoE is to ensure that the organization maximizes the benefits of the cloud while minimizing risks and optimizing costs.

Deliverables:

  • SOWs (Statements Of Works) generated by the WAR
  • CRA summary 
  • Documentation resulting from the workshops held
  • Government model mapping
  • Architecture driver mapping
  • Mapping of tools, platforms, and technologies
  • Data model mapping, if available
  • Understanding of the DevSecOps model
  • Documentation of the results of agent information collection

Step 2: Assessment Phase

The analysis of the applications and systems previously identified during the discovery is deepened during this stage.
    
The main objective of this phase is to assess each application’s or workload’s suitability for migration to the cloud while determining the optimal migration strategy.

Below are the activities we carry out as a team with our clients.

> Total Cost Ownership (TCO) Analysis:
This analysis is a valuable tool for understanding the actual costs. It allows us to make informed decisions with our clients about the investments and expenses related to the migration project, including the costs of infrastructure, storage, data transfer, and support. For this activity, we rely on AWS and third-party tools.

> OLA Result Analysis:
This analysis allows making informed decisions about administering your current licensing based on the results of the OLA run in the Discovery phase.

> Dependency Analysis:
We identify dependencies between applications, databases, and systems. Understanding the communication between components is essential to planning a successful migration; for this, the information provided by the installed agents will be analyzed.

> Migration Strategy:
We select the most appropriate migration strategy based on a deep understanding of each solution component and the analysis performed in the discovery phase. 

> To-be Architecture:
Based on the requirements and characteristics identified in the previous activities and aligned with our client’s IT governance model, we make recommendations and suggestions on the to-be architecture, i.e., to define the objectives we want to achieve at the end of the process.

> Initial Migration Plan:
Based on the strategy’s definition, a high-level initial migration plan is prepared that describes the sequence of activities and processes and approximate times for each. This plan will be iterated, evaluated, and refined.

> Cost-Benefit Analysis:
We will perform a cost-benefit analysis to understand potential savings and service and migration costs. It seeks to realize AWS’s benefits to make the migration economically viable.

> Peripheral Route Map:
We prepare a document with an initial prioritization (a backlog) of workloads peripheral to the solution to be migrated based on our understanding and discovery of the ecosystem surrounding the solution. 

> Knowledge Delivery and Leveling:

Through workshops and immersion days, we deliver knowledge to stakeholders and transfer knowledge within the organization. This activity is optional.

> Modernization SOW (Statements of Work):
In addition to analyzing the to-be architecture, potential future improvements and optimizations are evaluated. These enhancements give our customers an additional roadmap for the company’s journey to the cloud and the ability to leverage cloud-native workloads.

Deliverables:

  • Analysis of the results provided by the installed agents on the machines
  • OLA results for licensing issues
  • Analysis of dependencies and peripheral loads
  • Initial migration plan
  • Initial migration schedule
  • AWS incentives application certificate
  • TCO analysis for the workload to be migrated
  • To-be architecture, along with recommendations and suggestions on proposed services
  • A report on workshops and immersion days held, along with an evaluation of satisfaction and attendance
  • SOWs on future optimizations for workload modernization

Step 3: Migration Phase

It is the phase within the migration process focused on transferring the components studied in the previous two steps (databases, servers, and applications) to the AWS cloud. With the deliverables from the earlier phases, the migration process is refined to establish the most effective migration strategy (considering effort, time, and cost) that best fits the established business case (including guidelines, limitations, and unique capabilities required for the proper workload operation in the cloud).

Below are the activities carried out in this phase:

> Landing Zone Implementation (AWS Control Tower):
AWS Control Tower provides preventive, detective, and proactive controls that help govern resources and monitor compliance across all AWS account groups. These controls consist of pre-packaged governance rules for security, operations, and compliance, which can be selected and applied across the organization or to specific groups of AWS accounts.

Landing Zone deployment is one of the most critical steps in the migration process as it lays the foundation for solid cloud governance.

> Tagging Strategy Alignment:
We implement the tags defined in our client’s guidelines to ensure the cloud components' correct administration, operation, and monitoring. 

> DevSecOps Governance:
We establish pipelines, permissions, and other tools for appropriately deploying infrastructure and applications.

> Strengthening Our Client’s CCoE:

We consolidate a cross-cutting team that can ensure the proper use of resources and the implementation of good practices in the daily operation of cloud solutions.

> Migration by Environment:
The migration by environment starts from non-production environments (Sandbox, DEV, QA, PreProd). This allows us to evaluate the cloud application’s behavior and communication with other components (cloud or on-premises), identify possible risks or failures, and solve them.

> Platform Testing:
We perform stress tests, application performance analysis (load test), Oracle capabilities evaluation (Oracle Forms and Database), resistance tests, and chaos engineering (optional through tools such as AWS Fault Injection Simulator—FIS) to give our clients peace of mind about the cloud system's proper functioning, along with user acceptance tests (UAT).

> Cutover:
We transition the previously maintained workflow with the on-premises solution to the cloud.

> Statement of Work (SOW):
We deliver detailed documentation of the activities to be completed, along with the objectives, scope, costs, and schedule.

Deliverables:

  • Documentation of the results of the platform tests performed before the cutover process
  • SOW, which includes details of the activities carried out during the migration project
  • Documentation regarding the organization of the CCoE.

Step 4: Operation Phase

This phase seeks to close the project by documenting all the tasks performed in the previous stages and recording future proposals for migrating peripheral loads or optimizations. 

Playbooks and runbooks are also provided to guarantee the proper maintenance and operation of the workload, along with an issue manual that facilitates troubleshooting processes.

Below are the activities carried out in this phase:

> Runbooks:
A runbook is a document that consolidates tasks, processes, and good practices for a system's proper support, maintenance, and operation. In this phase, we deliver a runbook that documents everything necessary for the cloud solution's proper operation.

> Playbooks:

A playbook is a document that consolidates tasks, processes, information, and approaches to address any system risk, problem, issue, or deviation from the solution’s normal behavior. 

We deliver a playbook that documents everything necessary to create a roadmap for issues or anomalies in ASCEL’s daily cloud operations.

> RACI Matrix Refinement:
We adjust the RACI Matrix to show activities that could not be carried out during the project, including technical debt activities, if applicable.

> Final Documentation:

We deliver a complete and detailed report on everything done during the migration project, including findings, difficulties, activities, learning, and projections for optimizing peripheral loads. Documentation must certify the effective fulfillment of the objectives and goals defined in the first phases.

> Project Closing:
We prepare a certificate of completion of the migration project that must be consented to by the client. 

Deliverables:

  • Runbooks and playbooks for the correct operation and maintenance of the cloud solution 
  • The RACI matrix and final documentation encapsulating everything done during the ASCEL migration project in detail

After the migration project is completed, periodic reviews will be held to monitor the application's behavior and operation after a specific time in production as part of the support provided by Pragma.

These periodic reviews can take place at times decided by the client. They can include WAR activities, question-and-answer sessions, optimization implementation, or refinements of delivered runbooks or playbooks.

 

Are you looking for an experienced partner to modernize your digital assets? For years, Pragma has supported leading financial and retail companies in migrating to the cloud. 

Additionally, by navigating your Cloud Journey with Pragma you can get up to:
> 35% in Cashback
> 20% in AWS Credits

contact

Subscribe to
Pragma Blog

You will receive a monthly selection of our content on Digital Transformation.

Imagen form