The evolution of digital technologies is without a doubt, the most disruptive phenomenon in recent years. Organizations the world over are moving from legacy on-premise environments (platforms, technologies and processes) to sophisticated and modern IT stacks, driving digital transformation (DX) in the process. One of the key steps in the IT stack modernization is cloud adoption (leveraging IaaS, PaaS and SaaS approaches) through public, private and hybrid adoption models.
Cloud migration success hinges upon two important factors: developing a well-defined migration strategy including various phases and approaches, and ensuring the overall quality of the program.
Designing an Effective Cloud Migration Strategy and Approach: What It Takes
A robust cloud migration strategy begins with an initial assessment of the IT application stack with respect to several factors such as:
- Objectives of cloud migration and their alignment with business goals
- Risks of moving to the cloud, in terms of data security and integrations
- Types of cloud services to be adopted for identified applications (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), and deployment models (private, public, hybrid, and multi-Cloud)
- Using a one-shot vs. phased cloud migration approach
Deploying Stringent Quality Assurance
After identifying cloud migration strategies and approaches, it is critical to delve into the aspects of quality assurance (QA) for such critical programs. Several companies are leveraging digital technologies to enable agile and DevOps methodologies for software delivery. The DevOps culture extends agile approaches to more frequent and automated deployments, resulting in faster time-to-market, positively impacting an organization’s growth.
DevOps-driven continuous assurance plays a key role in ensuring the quality of the cloud migration program. Continuous assurance incorporates heavy test automation embedded in the end-to-end software delivery pipeline and embraces the agile test maturity (i.e. fail fast, fail early, learn and recover fast), taking it to the next level using DevOps techniques. This ensures that the end-to-end delivery cycle is not impacted by failures and recoveries.
Applying Continuous Assurance Techniques for Better Results
Regardless of the approach adopted for cloud migration, certain important aspects including customer experience, application performance, scalability, and security need to be addressed. Let us analyze how continuous assurance techniques can be applied to the cloud migration program to deliver value to customers:
- Test automation across the entire testing services ecosystem: Moving beyond functional test automation such as regression, sanity, and smoke testing, test automation delivers automated integration and security testing (scans, code reviews, and assessments) at every critical point in the DevOps delivery cycle.
- Ensuring business context: Once the IT applications stack is deployed to the cloud, ensuring business context takes high priority. Continuous validation using automated test executions and monitoring during the entire course of migration covers key metrics like ‘baselines values’ in the on-premise environment vs. ‘observed values’ in the migrated cloud environment.
- Security testing: From the cloud standpoint, security is one of the most important concerns for any organization. Continuous assurance delivers the promise of secure IT applications ecosystem by enabling automated static security scans and dynamic application security testing. Continuous vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, compliance and regulatory testing for migrated and new cloud applications ensure that sensitive IT resources like apps and business processes are not compromised in the cloud environment.
- Customer experience testing: Customer experience is one of the top priorities of modern organizations, and Continuous Assurance for all customer facing applications should include: cross browser and device testing, mobile testing, usability, and high availability.
- Performance and scalability testing: Performance and scalability are one of biggest benefits offered by cloud adoption. Continuous assurance led automated performance testing like load, stress and endurance testing along with mobile performance testing, ensures that the newly migrated IT applications stack is scalable and flexible - without any performance glitches.
Accelerating Digital Transformation with a Cloud-first Strategy
Crafting a well thought-out cloud adoption strategy, defining the right migration approach across the IT applications portfolio, and rigorous DevOps practices (CI/ CD and continuous assurance approaches) are key to successful DX. Moving to the cloud enables organizations to continually take advantage of utilizing the latest disruptive innovations such as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, and data analytics and insights. Successful cloud adoption also positions organizations to drive a cloud-first strategy for new IT programs and initiatives, thereby expediting the DX journey.