More and more companies across the globe are taking their DevOps to the cloud, the primary reason being the creation of a centralized platform for testing, deployment, and production operations. Furthermore, the out-of-the-box nature of these solutions save time, money, and resources.

This article will include some tips and also a dedicated checklist for you to perform a smooth and seamless database migration to the cloud.

Set The Foundation

Before actually getting started, it’s highly recommended to lay a solid foundation and do your homework to avoid any hiccups and issues.

1. Nominate a Dedicated Stakeholder

Migrating to the cloud involves a lot of logistics and technical actions that need to be coordinated beforehand. It’s highly recommended to establish a Migration Architect role to lead all operations. This position’s core responsibilities include defining refactoring, determining requirements, and managing priorities.

2. Determine Cloud Parameters

Firstly, you need to determine what level of cloud integration you wish to adopt. Also known as lift-and-shift, shallow cloud integration is one way to go. This involves limited changes to the servers you are instantiating. You can also opt for deepc cloud integration with auto scaling and dynamic load balancing.

You will also need to decide if you are selecting one cloud provider and optimize your app for a single environment or going with multiple vendors. The latter can become quite complicated due to the dependencies that are created, which may require you to build/rebuild your application to be cloud agnostic.

3. Decide on KPIs

You are probably monitoring your application’s performance with a set of KPIs. But are you sure they will apply during and after the migration process?

Examples of commonly used Cloud KPIs include:

  • User Experience – Page Load Times, Lag Times, Session Duration
  • Performance – Error Rates, Throughput, Apdex Score
  • Infrastructure – CPU Usage, Disk Performance, Memory Usage
  • Business – Cart Adds, Conversion Percentage, Engagement Rates

Related: Top 7 Cloud Databases for 2020

4. Prioritize Migration Components

A huge decision that always needs to be made correctly is if you want to migrate the entire database at once or do it in stages? To get this right, you’ll need to understand the relationships and dependencies between your services. Once that is done, it’s common practice to start with the most internal services.

You should also ideally refactor your applications and services to enable smooth dynamic scaling and allocating (and de-allocating) of resources.

5. Switch Over Production Systematically

There are multiple approaches to this crucial step in database cloud migration. You can either do it all at once, something that automatically raises the risk of downtimes, performance bugs and/or technical issues. The more conservative approach involves doing everything one bit at a time.

Once the migration is complete, you may want to track and monitor your resource optimization performance for seamless scaling capability.

The Database Cloud Migration Checklist

Once you have taken the aforementioned steps and prepared your organization for the move, here are 10 main steps you will need to take.

  1. Assess Database Size: Database sizing will essentially determine how much storage and what instance will be needed after migration. This task should be supervised by the Migration Architect (mentioned earlier), but can be performed by the internal IT team itself.
  2. Testing BEFORE Data Migration: The applications the cloud vendor uses to connect to the database have to be fine-tuned to your product/s. You also may face high latency issues initially, which you should immediately communicate to the cloud vendor/s
  3. Data Privacy: You always want to be on the safe side when it comes to privacy. You might want to start by migrating databases and applications that are not mission critical. Once this is done, you can start with the sensitive and crucial components.
  4. Get the Best Service Level Agreement (SLA): Cloud vendors often have pre-determined maintenance downtimes. If you have an application that needs to be up at all times, make sure this is taken care of. Make sure scheduled down-times don’t interfere with your business needs.
  5. Ensure Scalability: The main advantage of moving to the cloud is instant scalability. Services and infrastructure should ideally be scalable on the fly. This will have to be negotiated with the provider. Keep the cloud vendor updated about your business plans.
  6. Pick the Right OS: Finding the right operating system (OS) for your databases is crucial. For example, Oracle is available for both Linux and Windows. While they serve the same purpose, there can be a huge performance difference. Make sure this is taken care of beforehand.
  7. Eliminate Redundant Data: Cleansing of data becomes very important as costing depends on the size of the data. As database size grows, costs will also go up. Make sure to eliminate garbage data from the database before migrating it.
  8. Security: More and more companies are opting for the private cloud option. Make sure the cloud vendor is giving you the right infrastructure with the right  security policies. For example, the vendor should not be able to view or process any data from your database.
  9. Keep Devs on Alert: Your sata will travel over a remote network and not just a LAN when the migration is done. There may lead to a need for re-writing codes. For example, Oracle has partnered with Amazon, but Oracle does allow for other service providers to host its databases.
  10. Train Your Staff: Moving your database to the cloud is a bigger move than it may seem initially. All relevant stakeholders should be aware about their upcoming tasks and responsibilities. They should also be provided with appropriate training and practicing in sandboxes.

A comprehensive research conducted by Hackernoon revealed that Migration and Lack of Internal Processes are one of the biggest cloud-related pain points organizations face today. This only means one thing – the more you plan and prepare for your database migration, the better your application will perform.

Final Words

With so much at stake from the business standpoint, your organization simply can’t afford to deal with downtimes or performance bugs while migrating. Following this checklist will ensure that you are fully “locked and loaded”, which will help you migrate smoothly and enjoy the benefits of the cloud.