Prepare for a successful Azure migration

Considering a move to Azure? Helping a customer to migrate? Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework simplifies the journey.

Simplify and accelerate the cloud journey

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud adoption; however, the main implementation stages are similar for most organisations. These stages are outlined in the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework, which is designed to guide organisations through the cloud migration progress.

This approach is also recommended for IT partners that want to deliver a cloud journey that is simplified and fully aligned with their customers’ business needs and strategies.

Strategy

Define business justification and expected outcomes.

Plan

Align actionable adoption plans to business outcomes.

Ready

Prepare the cloud environment for the planned changes.

Adopt Migrate Innovate

Migrate and modernise existing workloads.

Govern

Govern the environment and workloads.

Manage

Operations management for cloud and hybrid solutions.

Stage 1: Strategy

Cloud adoption brings many business benefits: improved agility, reduced costs and faster time to market. To fully realise the potential, it is vital to define the strategy behind cloud adoption to ensure technical implementation is fully aligned with business objectives. The following exercises are useful at this stage:

  • Explore motivations: Meet with key stakeholders and executives to document the motivations behind cloud adoption.
  • Document business outcomes: Engage motivated stakeholders and executives to document specific business outcomes.
  • Define business justification: Develop a business case to validate the financial model that supports both motivations and outcomes.
  • Choose the right first project: The first cloud adoption project will help align motivations with technical efforts, so it is important to choose a project

Stage 2: Plan

This stage involves the translation of the aspirational goals identified in the planning stage into an actionable cloud adoption plan that is anchored in the business strategy. The following activities will help to secure alignment:

  • Audit the estate: Perform an inventory and rationalise the digital estate based on assumptions that align with motivations and desired outcomes.
  • Establish organisational alignment: Implement a plan for initial organisational alignment to support the adoption plan.
  • Prepare skills readiness plan: Develop a plan for addressing skills and readiness gaps.
  • Prepare cloud adoption plan: Develop a plan to manage change across the digital estate and wider organisation.

Stage 3: ready

Preparing the organisation, culture, people and environment for coming changes increases the chance of success in each effort and accelerates implementation and change projects. Key activities at this stage include ensuring employee preparedness through skills and learning plans and creating a landing zone to support cloud adoption. The following exercises will guide these processes:

  • Review the Azure setup guide: Review the Azure setup guide to become familiar with the tools and approaches required for creating a landing zone.
  • Create the first landing zone: Evaluate the Cloud Adoption Framework migrate landing zone blueprint. Use this blueprint to create a first migration-ready landing zone for quick experimentation and learning.
  • Expand the blueprint: Use the landing zone considerations to identify and make any necessary modifications to the blueprint template.
  • Align best practices: Validate landing zone modifications against the best practices sections to ensure the proper configuration of current and future landing zones.

Stage 4: Adopt

Migrate

Move workloads that do not require re-architecture or redesign directly to the cloud using an applicable approach (eg lift and shift). The following exercises will help establish the processes to assess, migrate, optimise, secure, and manage these workloads:

  • Establish migration prerequisite: Ensure that a landing zone has been deployed and is ready to host the first workloads.
  • Migrate first workload: Use the Azure migration guide during the first migration to ensure familiarity with the tools and approaches required to scale adoption efforts.
  • Expand migration scenarios: Use the expanded scope checklist to identify scenarios that may require modifications to the future architecture, migration processes, landing zone configurations, or migration tooling decisions.
  • Review best practices: Validate any modifications against the best practices section to ensure proper implementation of expanded scope or workload/architecture-specific migration approaches.
  • Identify process Improvements: As migration efforts scale, use the migration considerations section to evaluate and mature various aspects of the processes.

Innovate

Most cloud adoption projects also entail the modernisation of existing workloads. Such innovations can deliver great value by unlocking new technical skills and expanded business capabilities. The Cloud Adoption framework highlights the following exercises to prepare for modernisation:

  • Gain business value consensus: Before deciding on a technical solution, identify how new innovation can drive business value, which is normally a function of customer needs. Map this value against the cloud strategy.
  • Review the Azure innovation guide: Azure includes cloud tools that can be combined to accelerate the deployment of innovative solutions. Creating a minimum viable product with basic tools is recommended.
  • Adhere to best practices: All architectural decisions should conform to best practices for each cloud tool. This will accelerate development and provide a reference for solid architectural designs.
  • Accelerate feedback loops: Learn alongside customers as they engage with the solution. Fast and accurate feedback loops enable better testing and performance measurement, and ultimately reduce time to market.

Stage 5: Govern

Migration to the cloud will require changes to existing governance policies designed for on-premises IT systems, especially given the increasingly hostile threat environment. The exercises below provide a starting point for building a cloud governance foundation.

  • Understand the methodology: Gain a basic understanding of the methodology that drives cloud governance in the Cloud Adoption Framework as it applies to the project at hand.
  • Benchmark : Assess current and future states to establish a vision for applying the framework.
  • Build the foundation: Start simple with a small, easily implemented set of governance tools to develop a minimum viable product.
  • Improve: Add governance controls iteratively throughout the process to address tangible risks while progressing towards the end state.

Stage 6: Manage

Beyond planning, migration and adoption, the key to achieving tangible business value from any cloud journey is effective ongoing management. The following exercises will guide a process to develop the business and technical capabilities required to drive high-performing cloud operations:

  • Establish a management baseline: Define the criticality classifications, cloud management tools and processes needed to deliver on a minimum commitment to operations management.
  • Define business commitments: Document supported workloads to establish operational commitments with the business and agree on cloud management investments for each workload.
  • Expand the management baseline: Based on business commitments and operations decisions, make use of the included best practices to implement the required cloud management tooling.
  • Advanced operations and design principles: Platforms or workloads that require a higher level of business commitment might require a deeper architecture review to deliver on resiliency and reliability commitments.

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