Cloud Migration Management: Consulting and Best Practices

Our headline professional service engagement is Cloud Migration Management (CMM).

The issues that the service needs to address were recently identified through an auditors analysis of the progress of the US Government’s Cloud First program.

In the GAO report Progress Made but Future Cloud Computing Efforts Should be Better Planned they reported that despite the hype about this pioneering initiative, the practical reality is that it has presented a number of tough challenges for the agencies to achieve the goals.

They identify that many of the submitted plans are missing key component parts, like estimated costs for the service, and major milestones and performance goals. Only one of the plans has the full set.

“all but 1 of the 20 plans submitted to OMB were missing one or more key required elements. In its 25-Point Plan, OMB required agencies to prepare a plan for implementing each cloud-based service and retiring the associated legacy system.”

These challenges therefore describe the component parts of CMM, the services needed to effectively handle the full migration, with the fundamental value being:

  • Best practices knowledge and expertise – Many government IT workers have little to no experience of Cloud systems, which requires them to learn a whole set of new tools and procedures, and furthermore found the NIST Cloud models initially confusing. CMM Consultants being this expertise.
  • Project Portfolio Management – PPM provides the skills and tools to better manage a portfolio of transformation projects like this – It can address the need to manage costings, state milestones and business benefits.
  • Certifying and accrediting vendors – Agencies have no mechanisms to know who is appropriately approved to host government apps. Standards bodies like OASIS are defining frameworks for  this requirement, and these are integrated into this service.
  • Data portability and interoperability – Ensure the ability to smoothly exit and move between Cloud providers. Again standards bodies like OASIS are developing protocols like TOSCA to meet this need.

Legacy Transformation – Cloud Roadmap

The particular point that the report notes is the very challenging requirement to migrate and retire legacy systems:

Furthermore none of the 14 projects migrating existing services included plans to retire the associated legacy systems.

It also lists all of the apps that the various agencies plan to migrate, which therefore dictates a Cloud Roadmap, a set of services for Cloud Providers to adopt and make available, so that migration services have target environments to move the retired functions to. This included:

  • Email
  • Sharepoint
  • CRM
  • Grants Management
  • Correspondence Tracking
  • Audit Resolution
  • Web Site Hosting
  • BPM Document Management
  • Electronic Library
  • Offsite Vaulting
  • Program Management
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