Back to blog Key Stages in a Server Migration Plan

Server migration is an essential, inevitable part of working in a team with legacy infrastructure. When you are ready to move to the cloud, your team may be able to handle it. For a small-scale project with a well-made server migration plan in place, server migration does not have to be overwhelming.

Think of a server migration plan as your roadmap. By holding it the right way up and following the previously determined route, you can avoid detours and bumps in the road. If you need help, you can always call for roadside assistance (or in this case, tech advice).

Analysis and Assessment

Set out by understanding why you want to move to the cloud, and what challenges you may face along the way. Be aware of what cannot be moved. A lot of legacy infrastructure is too old to make the switch. Other parts of your system may be more resource-intensive than is worthwhile. Basic functions like your email server could remain on site if you prefer to keep them off the cloud.

Go through your backend and decide what to virtualize before you commence moving anything. What capacity will you require? This is dependent on your database size, and your future goals and/or projections. Scalability is an important consideration in any server migration plan.

Your new home in the cloud needs to be able to shift with your company's growth. Understanding what resources you require immediately can help you extrapolate. If you want to make any changes to your infrastructure, now is the time. Whether you have been considering an operating system switch, want to add more power, or something else, identify your wish list. These are things you can take to your provider to build into your new digital foundation.

Choosing the Right Provider

Now that you know what resources you will be consuming, you can choose a cloud provider that meets your needs. It is always a good idea to work with a cloud services provider with a strong track record. Experience means everything when it comes to handling sensitive and important technology.

If your cloud provider has helped with migrations before, this can be useful. Even if you do not need your provider's help, be sure that they have the skills and expertise you need for ongoing support.

Your budget will, of course, inform your choice. Remember that you often get what you pay for, though. Investing in the security and scalability of your system may be more costly upfront, but it can pay off in the long term. With a pay as you go model, you can always start small and increase your investment as needed.

Preparing Your Server

There is no point migrating things you do not need. Take the opportunity to prepare and clean up your server and existing infrastructure. Your previous analysis and assessment may have revealed old data, accounts, and unnecessary info.

You should also back up your server, both what you will migrate and what you will leave behind. No matter how well you plan, disaster can strike. It is a good idea to have a backup in place for quick restoration.

Do not do anything to your backup until your server has been migrated and checked! When it is all up and running, you could update the backup, but hold off on making changes or deletions until then.

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Mitigating the Impact of Migration

Migrating may be necessary, but you do not want it to impact your business operations negatively. Downtime tends not to be tolerated well by users! You need to know what level of downtime is tolerable, and take steps not to exceed it. Sometimes downtime comes at the cost of a less complex migration. Sometimes, it is worth it.

A lot of companies choose to migrate during off hours or slower periods. If this is something your business can do, it can reduce the impact on end users. Be aware -- completing a migration outside of normal hours can add to your staffing costs, though. If you need to bring techs in for overtime, get ready to pay for it!

Testing the Result

No migration is a success until you know it worked. Testing is one of the most important parts of any server migration plan. You may wish to have additional staff on hand during the transition to jump into fixing any problems which arise, without a delay!

Make sure all of your data migrated. Check for security measures and data integrity. Verify users can access what they need to, and that appropriate permissions are in place. This is a good time to double check any user-based security measures like passwords.

Try making a new user to ensure that particular functionality works as well. Load and stress tests help expose any potential weaknesses in your server before a user discovers them. This testing should be done with accurate and realistic loads.

These are only a few examples of the testing you will want to complete. Your IT team should have a well-made migrating testing plan as part of your server migration plan. The plan should cover any and all tests that apply to your server.

Remember that backup you made? If something terrible is revealed through the testing, move to your rollback plan. A vital part of your server migration plan, this is the procedure that lets you roll things back to the original state. This is also an important part of handling downtime. If your downtime reaches an unacceptable level for any reason, you can head to the rollback plan.

Server Migration Plan Success with Expert Help

We typically carry out large-scale migration projects, so we have expertise in this area. If you find that your project is exceeding the scope of your team, we can help. We are also here to assist you as an expert cloud services provider, with solutions that will meet your server migration needs.

Posted in Managed Cloud, Cloud Consulting, Cloud Development on May 23, 2018