Migrating to the cloud :: A 5 Step Structured Approach

According to a research report published by Zinnov Management Consulting, cloud computing in India is pegged at $110million and is expected to grow 10 times (i.e.more than $1000 million) by 2015. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is witnessing rapid growth till date. The report further adds that,

“…as components of the overall cloud market, Software-as-a-service (SaaS) in India is likely to reach a mark of US$ 650 million by 2015, while Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) markets cumulatively would touch $434 million each by then.”

This clearly shows the cloud potential in India. Already major IT players are offering cloud-based solutions to the domestic and international clients.

Leading players insist on a structured approach while migrating to cloud based applications. Below mentioned are some of the practical steps adapted by the industry while migrating to the cloud.

[1] Assessing the requirements& planning involves assessments to understand issues that arise due to application level migration and then planning the project accordingly. This includes validating the complete program code, the design, application program architecture, various tools and the usability. This kind of in-depth assessment helps in formulation of a comprehensive strategy and plan for cloud migration. These assessments also give a clear picture of the cost of migration as well as return on investment and the time period to break even.

[2] Disintegrate dependencies after initial assessments. All the micro level programs that depend on the inputs from existing enterprise legacy systems are backed up through a captive data center. Once they are backed up and their complete architecture is mapped, the system engineers will be able to analyze the complexities involved in migrating the complete system to the cloud. This also provides a clear picture about the software components and functionalities that can be migrated to the cloud and those which are to be left out as it is.

[3] Redesign, re-program & re-integrate – Once complexities in cloud migration are understood, the engineers will then help redesign the complete application process architecture. This involves deciding on the components that will remain in the captive data center and other components that can be migrated to the cloud. Once the decision is made about the components that are to be migrated, a substantial part of the enterprise application will be re-architected and re-programmed for implementation on the cloud. Then the dependencies are re-programmed and re-integrated with the cloud based application environment.

[4] Testing of the new migrated components is carried out with lot of cloud specific test cases. These test cases are written in such a manner that they replicate the day-to-day activities of the process. Errors related to the application, integration and the functionalities are captured in testing phase and they are carefully reported to make necessary changes.

[5] Fine tuning& Training – The application and the integrated cloud environment are then fine tuned to perfection with the help of the test data. Some of the tools that are written specifically for the cloud will not suit the production environment completely. These tools are optimized in a number of iterations to ensure that it blends with the production environment close to accuracy. All employees are then trained properly to ensure that they are comfortable using the cloud-based application and related tools. The business process would have changed completely by now and so, the managers at medium level and senior levels are trained for the new business process.

The approach mentioned above will include additional steps depending on the type of industry and the nature of the process involved.

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