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Three Things I Learned About Migrating to Google Cloud

This week, thousands of IT folks will gather in San Francisco for Google Cloud Next ‘19. I’m sure cloud migration will be a hot topic at the show. As a matter of fact, performing a quick search in the Google Cloud Next ‘19 session catalog shows multiple sessions with the migration tag – and most are full! Clearly, IT folks at all levels are interested in learning about Google Cloud migration, as by now most folks understand the benefits of cloud from a cost, scalability, and flexibility perspective. In the spirit of the show, I decided to do some research on migration to Google Cloud. Here are my three key takeaways:

1. Understand the goal

Before getting started, it’s important to define your end goal for the cloud migration. Therefore, you should map out your wants and desires, as well as do some research into the various types of migration offerings. Ask yourself the following questions in order to shape your end goal:

  • What is your primary reason for migrating to Google Cloud? Is it to reduce costs? Is it to increase flexibility? Whatever the reason, it’s important to define this as soon as possible as it will shape future decisions.
  • What do you want to move to Google Cloud? Is it data? An application? A group of VMs? The entire data center? The answer to this will help shape the process and enable you to determine what can be moved to the cloud, and how. Also prepare yourself that some items may not be suitable or be able to moved to the cloud.
  • What type of migration offering will you choose? Is this lift-and-shift, an application change, or a hybrid approach? Which vendor will you use, or will you do this yourself? Knowing this answer will set the proper expectations with stakeholders on the process and timeline.

2. Plan, plan, plan…and test

Seems like a no brainer, eh? Well, you’d be surprised just how much planning is required once you’ve already spent considerable time answering the questions above. Planning items to think about include:

  • How will you prioritize the order of applications, VMs and / or data to be migrated?
  • How will the migration affect the network, existing application users, data accessibility, and other features associated with the application / VM / data?
  • Can you allow for downtime during the migration? If so, how long? If not, what is the acceptable time period to accomplish the migration?
  • What happens if something goes wrong? Who will be monitoring the migration? What are the mitigation steps? Who will be involved in the mitigation process?

More important, in my opinion, is the testing process (I come from a QA background). There MUST be numerous test runs of the migration done before executing the actual migration. Additionally, there should be checkpoints along the way, as well as a full test suite (UAT, performance, security, etc.) after the migration has completed to ensure everything is working properly.

3. It’s not over…

Just because the cloud migration is complete, doesn’t mean it’s over! Yes, the application / VM / data is now running in Google Cloud, but your experience may be much different when it ran on-premises. So, some tweaks may be needed due to these new environmental factors. In fact, now that it’s running in the cloud, there will most likely be multiple ways to optimize. This is where the fun begins! Perhaps you can utilize a newer tier of storage, enhance redundancy by using multiple Google Cloud regions, use new Google Cloud tools to improve the monitoring process, or increase performance by tweaking a few things. The opportunities to optimize are plentiful and should be explored!

There’s no doubt that cloud migration is a hot topic. Whether it’s the pre-, during, or post-process, there are many items to consider. Two more things to consider after the migration are data protection and data cloning.

If you’re attending Google Cloud Next ‘19, stop by Actifio booth #S1651 to learn how our technology can help you during your journey to Google Cloud. See you there!

Learn more about Actifio GO for Google Cloud in our upcoming webinar

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