5 Steps to Develop Your Cloud Data Migration Strategy [Checklist]

11.21.2023

When it comes to migrating your files to a new storage repository, especially in the cloud, many factors can impact the quality and overall success of your migration. By planning ahead and developing a migration strategy customized to your needs, you can steer clear of many risks that can cause a migration to go off the rails, exceeding budget and timeline.

Drawing from over a decade of experience helping some of the world’s largest enterprises successfully complete complex migration projects, we’ve developed a checklist of considerations to help any organization develop a migration strategy that ensures a smooth transition.

Cloud Migration Checklist Infographic

DryvIQ Cloud Migration Strategy Checklist

How to plan your migration strategy

1. Set realistic expectations for the migration project

When starting a data migration project, it’s important to have clear expectations in mind. Consider how the migration will impact your user experience and anticipate any potential disruptions to your business. Know your migration deadline – for example, you may need to migrate your content out of an existing platform ahead of a costly cloud storage renewal deadline. Take stock of your resources and consider if additional investments are necessary to ensure timely completion of the project. Create a list of migration tool features that align with your needs, such as maintaining file fidelity, automatically addressing transfer errors, and setting up a bi-directional synchronization to minimize disruption.

By identifying your migration requirements and setting clear expectations, you’ll be able to establish a more accurate timeline and budget, avoiding costly surprises along the way.

2. Discover and analyze your data before migrating

Before you kick off your migration, it’s crucial to fully understand the data you plan to move. Take some time to analyze your data corpus and gather insights like total volume, file types and sizes, locations, user access rights, document version history, age, and other important factors that may impact your migration. A migration tool that can perform this pre-migration analysis for you and flag any potential file transfer errors before they occur will save time and reduce the risk of disruption.

But don’t stop at the surface analysis of your data. Take a deeper dive through data discovery to examine the contents of each document and classify your files based on sensitivity, risk, usage, and business value.

By leveraging these valuable insights, you can plan an intelligent migration based on informed decisions about how and where to migrate your data. For example, you may discover that a significant portion of your data is stale and no longer relevant. In such cases, it may be more appropriate to migrate that data to lower-cost archival storage or even delete it entirely, rather than paying to store it in a premium cloud storage repository.

DryvIQ Discover - Stale Data Minimization

3. Assess your file repositories and infrastructure

Pre-migration analysis goes beyond just examining your data. Understanding the characteristics of both your current and new IT environment is crucial for a successful migration.

Each file repository is unique. Even when migrating from one cloud environment to another, there are often critical differences regarding how files are managed (such as variations in file name and length requirements, user permission structures, document version handling, and even accepted file formats). Neglecting these friction points between repositories and failing to incorporate a migration technology to navigate them for you can lead to failed file transfers.

Don’t forget to consider your network and bandwidth limitations when transferring files. You may also encounter rate limiting when migrating a large volume of files into the new repository. Both of these can slow down your file transfer speed dramatically. In this case, having a migration tool that enables autoscaling – scaling up or down to accommodate bandwidth and/or rate limits – can make a huge difference in your migration timeline.

Add Connection Screenshot

4. Ensure your change management process and migration tool address post-migration risk

Any of the factors above can jeopardize your project if they’re not accounted for in your migration plan and methodology. But there are other risks, including those that can occur post-migration, that can impact the user experience and overall success of the project.

Every migration project reaches an inflection point: the cutover period during which users are expected to transition from their current platform to the new repository. It’s essential to have a change management process that involves effective communication with end users about the new platform and what they can expect when they begin using it. This encourages higher rates of cloud adoption.

Additionally, your migration tool should have features that facilitate a seamless transition for end users. For example, a Continuous Copy migration mode that propagates changes (including any new or updated files) from your source to the destination system during the migration eliminates the need for a delta migration and minimizes the cutover duration. Enterprise file migration features like user account and permissions mapping, folder mapping, shared link preservation, and others that help mirror the user experience make it easier for them to pick up their work where they left off in the old platform and continue in the new storage repository without costly business disruption.

DryvIQ Migration Features

5. Document your migration strategy and identify a migration tool

Your migration strategy encompasses all of the processes, timing, resources, and hardware configurations needed for a successful cloud migration, along with your change management process. By documenting your migration strategy, you can ensure that your needs will be accommodated during the project and minimize the chances of exceeding your budget or timeline.

Finally, choose a migration tool that is best suited to your needs. If you have a limited budget, a small amount of data, and no strict migration deadline, a lift and shift migration tool might suffice.

However, for most organizations, an enterprise file migration tool is necessary to simplify the process, transfer data at remarkable speeds and scale, and minimize manual effort. For the best results, consider a powerful migration software that can seamlessly handle data discovery and classification, automatic error remediation, and meet hard deadlines while keeping end users unaffected during the migration.

Every organization’s data landscape is unique, so before beginning your migration, define a strategy that ensures your migration plan, methodology, and technology meet your requirements for a seamless transition. For a more detailed planning guide, check out DryvIQ’s 7 Best Practices for File Migration Success.

Download DryvIQ's free migration guide

Interested in seeing why DryvIQ’s high-speed, high-scale file migration solution is the proven choice for enterprises across the globe? Contact us for a demo.

Checklist for Cloud Migration Strategy Development

Follow these 5 steps to develop your cloud storage migration strategy.

  1. Set migration expectations
    • Understand the potential impact to users and systems
    • List migration tool feature requirements
    • Establish migration budget and timeline
  2. Analyze your data
    • Gather data insights including total volume, file types/sizes, locations, age, permissions
    • Discover and classify data based on sensitivity and risk
    • Make informed decisions about where and how to migrate the data
  3. Assess your IT environment
    • Understand file management differences between source & destination platforms
    • Define hardware requirements and whether additional resources are needed
    • Consider network and bandwidth limitations that may impact timeline
  4. Reduce migration risk with change management
    • Ensure your migration cutover duration is short and seamless
    • Maintain file fidelity and propagate delta changes
    • Effectively communicate with your end users to encourage new platform adoption
  5. Document your migration strategy
    • Define migration process, requirements, timeline, milestones, and budget
    • Select a migration tool that best suits your organization’s needs
    • Consider speed, scale, and advanced migration software features
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