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November 3, 2022

Three ways to bring automation into cloud migration wave planning

With 95% of the IT market still firmly operating on-premises servers and $1 trillion of potential business value at stake, can you afford not to execute on your cloud strategy? Cloud adoption is a catalyst for innovation and digital transformation, but the journey is long and often woven with complexities. 

Cloud migration wave planning is complex

So, why is cloud migration so complex for enterprises? The average enterprise has hundreds to thousands of servers, which require meticulous wave planning and prioritization. This includes strategizing where, when, and how to migrate these workloads to the cloud. As you start migration wave planning, waves should be aligned to outcomes and business drivers to enable measurement and progress tracking. Activities in wave planning include:

  • Infrastructure setup including landing zone, security, and operations
  • Migration tooling
  • Migration activities like data replication, cutover planning, testing, and post-migration support

The leading cloud providers - AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud - amongst other technology companies, provide guidance and insights for effective migration wave planning. In this blog post, we’ll use the AWS prescriptive guidance for wave planning as our example, but you can reference Azure and Google Cloud for similar guidance. 

If you’re using spreadsheets to manage your cloud migration wave plans and migration event execution, information can quickly become outdated, nothing is automated, and there is a lot of opportunity for human error. Technology and automation help streamline cloud migration planning and processes. By interconnecting teams, technology, and applications, you can create a single source of truth for all migration teams, app owners, and stakeholders to access critical migration details and tasks. 

Cutover can help you organize work streams across the cloud migration journey: Assess, mobilize, and migrate & modernize. Instead of using spreadsheets, collaborative automation tools enable you to create one source of truth with all predefined tasks, deadlines, milestones, dependencies, and descriptions. 

cloud migration runbook
A cloud migration runbook centralizes all migration activities in one dynamic to-do list, enabling collaboration across teams.

As you prepare your migration wave plan and scope, you’ll need to consider dependency groups for migration waves. Dependency groups should be organized by workload importance and technical dependencies (read AWS prescriptive guidance on establishing a baseline for the application portfolio including four categories of technical dependencies). It’s also important to consider non-technical dependencies and business considerations as these will impact the migration wave plan. Non-technical dependencies include: 

  • Volume limits
  • Scheduled application releases
  • Maintenance windows
  • Key business dates
  • Regulatory requirements 

Three ways to bring automation into your cloud migration wave planning

1. Create a comprehensive migration wave plan in one central location

Outline the migration wave plan and dependency groups, then create a holistic view of the migration scope which includes technical dependencies, migration strategy per wave, and timeframe of all migration waves. Done correctly, all the associated infrastructure (compute, storage networks), dependency mapping, and migration strategies are understood and mapped to the applications and then migration waves

runbook migration wave planning timeline view
View migration wave plans in a timeline to quickly understand the overall time frame, start and end dates, and any possible overlaps

2. Visualize and orchestrate wave migration activities

Once you know what’s in scope for your wave migration, it’s important to understand the task dependencies to ensure the right person is working on the right task at the right time.

Cutover runbook node map
Visualize and drill down into dependencies across hundreds of servers to pinpoint potential bottlenecks before they occur.

Cutover’s dynamic runbooks, provide you with visualization of task dependencies across all migration waves. With a migration wave and hundreds (or thousands) of

coordinated tasks, the devil is always in the details. In a runbook, drill down into task details to understand:

  • Actions by user with timestamps
  • Predecessors and successors
  • Associated workstreams
  • Task types
  • Descriptions and reference resources
Runbook task details
Provide migration task owners with the details they need to complete the activity.

3. Integrate third-party apps and technologies

Chances are you’ll be using various automation tools during your cloud migration. Having one system of record that integrates with your technology ecosystem will save time, reducing manual tasks and improving productivity. Some common integrations used during cloud migrations include: 

  •  Pre-install application releases into Amazon Machine Images (AMI) via Jenkins 
  •  Synchronize data back to source servers via Jenkins integration
  •  Create an operating system patching cadence via Jenkins 
  •  Convert your source servers to run natively on AWS with AWS Application Migration Service (MGN)
  •  Notify teams of an update via Slack or Microsoft Teams

With clear visibility into when these technology tools trigger events, you empower your teams to more efficiently execute migration waves.

migration runbook integration with Microsoft Teams, Jira, and Jenkins
Integration example: Streamline and automate the AWS MGN setup and integration.
Kimberly Sack
Collaborative automation
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