Four Key Elements for a Successful Cloud Cutover Plan

Mention the phrase “cloud cutover” to any of your colleagues in IT or operations, and you may see them flinch. Without a solid strategy, experienced team, reasonable budget and a solid game plan with contingencies in place, migrating to the cloud can be a risky and disruptive endeavor. While every company’s needs are different, ensuring these four key elements have been carefully thought through can help your organization realize a successful cutover. Too many choices

1. Have a detailed cloud cutover plan in place

This is your Holy Grail and playbook.  A thorough and frequently updated plan will help facilitate coordination between key players and stakeholders, manage the cutover process and monitor progress against cutover tasks.

HOSTING’s cloud solution architects collaborate with companies’ internal IT and business teams to create a customized plan that includes the following:

  • A detailed task list
  • Timings and dependencies for each task
  • Parallel execution and coordination of independent tasks
  • A rollback plan
  • Decision points
  • Readiness criteria
  • Contingency plan
  • Contact list with office, mobile and cell phone numbers for team members

Our Cloud Migration Framework requires limited involvement from your internal IT team, allowing you to focus on other business priorities.

The following information is also helpful to include in the cutover plan:

  • A spreadsheet with all the desktops and laptops in the firm, including personal devices that employees or contractors use for company business
  • A folder containing all software licensing information or a spreadsheet with licensing keys
  • A map layout of your offices so your cloud solution consultants know people’s roles and locations.

2. Schedule smartly

Many factors determine how much “downtime” a company experiences during a cutover, including project scope, environment, number of machines and servers involved, and so forth. However, with proper planning, downtime doesn’t have to result in loss of productivity. Many companies schedule cutovers during “slow” periods in their business (such as a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend) or during events  when many employees are already out of the office (such as CPE training.) As part of the migration planning, any leading cloud service provider (CSP) will give you an accurate timeframe for the amount of downtime your company may experience and schedule cutover activities so that they have minimal impact on your business operations. HOSTING, for instance, leverages both expertise gained from thousands of successful cutovers as well as automated scripts to eliminate human error to ensure minimal disruption to business. In fact, in our cloud migrations, data is typically “live” in less than 60 minutes. Make sure your CSP can schedule just as aggressively.

3. Establish a realistic budget

Your cloud service provider should be able to help you identify your resource needs and establish a working budget. Some CSPs (including HOSTING) offer fixed pricing on cloud migration projects for easy budgeting. However, due to hiring fluctuations or expanded project scopes, some companies find that they need additional support or training after their cutover takes place. Therefore, having a contingency fund that factors in extra financial or consulting resources can eliminate budget pressures later on.

4. Allocate the appropriate resources

IT resources  at many companies are stretched with day-to-day, “keep the business running” tasks. If this is the case at your organization, determine in advance how much time your internal IT resources can devote to supporting your migration initiative. In many instances, the actual team can be quite lean and comprised of the following skill sets:

  • Cloud solution architect – this person collaborates with the client to create a customized cloud migration solution; he or she may also conduct subsequent training sessions with the client’s internal IT team
  • Project Manager – the project manager owns the migration/cutover plan and is responsible for managing the coordination of tasks and resources.
  • Infrastructure team– this group builds out the servers and handles any network configuration.
  • Application team – this team installs all of the applications and works on related issues after cutover.

Still wondering how to best manage your cloud cutover? HOSTING’s cloud solution architects can help you map out the resources you need for before, during and after cloud migration. Contact us today to talk further about your organization’s specific goals and requirements. And be sure to view our on-demand webinar, Planning for the Cloud, for more tips on how to craft a successful cloud cutover plan.

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