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Seven to-do items for managing an Oracle cloud migration

Migrating Oracle systems to the cloud is a big initiative for any organization. Make sure you put a solid migration plan in place to help ease the transition and keep it on track.

Organizations that plan to move their Oracle systems to the Oracle Cloud or another cloud platform should take...

a variety of considerations into account before embarking on the migration process. Issues related to security, data governance, systems integration and numerous other factors can all come into play -- and pose possible roadblocks -- when migrating to the cloud.

There are good reasons to shift systems and applications to the cloud -- increased flexibility, easier scalability and reduced systems management, for example. But if you've decided to go forward with an Oracle cloud migration, don't just jump in without some forethought. Here are seven tips that you and others on your team should keep in mind when preparing to make the big move.

  1. Define your migration strategy. One of your first steps should be to define a cloud migration strategy. To do so effectively, you first need to evaluate the business value that an Oracle cloud deployment can offer your organization and how that value aligns with the organization's long-term business strategies. The goal is to understand where the cloud fits into those strategies so you can determine how to best utilize the available Oracle cloud services. From there, you should develop a detailed migration plan that defines the project's scope, what business functions will be moved to the cloud, what resources will be needed to make the move and how the move will be carried out. The migration plan should include a detailed breakdown of tasks and schedules and account for post-migration monitoring and assessment.
  2. Educate and train people. An Oracle cloud migration can affect business users and IT professionals alike. Anyone who might be affected by the migration should be told what to expect and how the transition will be carried out. You don't want to catch people off-guard nor do you want to give them unrealistic expectations about how they'll be affected. Bring business users into the process as early as possible. Allow at least some users to try out prototypes of Oracle cloud applications and review relevant documentation, including the migration plan. Also, ensure that everyone involved -- including database administrators, developers and other IT staffers who work with your Oracle systems -- receives the necessary training on the new systems. Failing to properly prepare both the business and IT sides for the transition can result in lost productivity and a lot of frustration.
Migrating to the cloud involves a lot more than just flipping a switch.
  1. Know what you're getting for your money. Thoroughly research the Oracle cloud services that you plan to use so you know what to expect. Familiarize yourself with the technology behind those services, including limitations that could affect customization, integration and other data management processes. Fully review Oracle's service-level agreements, bringing in outside expertise if necessary to help make sense of the fine print. Do the same for software licensing. You need to understand the implications of moving from on-premises Oracle products to cloud services. Oracle licensing is notoriously complex and confusing; don't assume that a migration to the cloud will suddenly simplify your life from a licensing standpoint. Much will depend on which cloud services you use, how you use them and what on-premises products you plan to migrate versus what ones you'll continue to run internally. When it comes to Oracle licensing, due diligence is required every step of the way.
  2. Take baby steps. Migrating to the cloud involves a lot more than just flipping a switch. If you try to do everything all at once, you're likely to run into significant setbacks. By taking small, incremental steps, you can exercise much better control over the various aspects of a migration. That allows you to evaluate cloud processes and services as you go, so you can implement needed improvements quickly while minimizing the impact on users. Consider setting up a pilot or prototype system to get a better sense of exactly what an Oracle cloud migration involves. By doing so, you can test processes, lock down configurations that work effectively and provide a mechanism for demonstrating the cloud services to key stakeholders. Also, consider starting with a subsidiary or branch location on the initial rollout to provide a live testing ground for the new cloud services before you deploy them more widely.
  3. Don't forget the data. Data security and privacy should be at the forefront of your thinking throughout every stage of the migration process. You must ensure that the Oracle cloud services you implement can meet your security requirements, whether the data is in motion or at rest. They also must adhere to any regulatory compliance standards that apply to your business. Additionally, you must carefully plan how you'll transfer your data to the cloud. The more data you have, the more complicated that becomes. When possible, archive historical data instead of moving it to the new cloud environment. Transitioning to the cloud might also require that the data be cleansed and standardized, which itself can be a significant undertaking.
  4. Think systems integration. Systems and applications don't exist in a vacuum. They need to communicate and sometimes collaborate with other systems and applications. When migrating to the cloud, consider how the integration of existing systems might be affected. Although your applications might work fine in on-premises systems, it isn't guaranteed that they'll continue to do so in the cloud -- especially if they need to be tied to some systems that you continue to run in-house. To avoid problems, thoroughly evaluate your current environment to determine what steps are needed to address integration issues. Even if you're transitioning off some of your old systems, you have to understand how the new cloud services will need to communicate with the on-premises ones that remain. Updating systems and applications to ensure proper connections between them can be resource-intensive and time-consuming, so be prepared.
  5. Look for new IT opportunities. An Oracle cloud migration is a great time to look for opportunities to improve your current systems to reduce maintenance, improve workflows and lower costs. You might be able to consolidate applications, automate processes or improve operations in other ways. Given the effort and disruptions that come with migrating to the cloud, you might as well take full advantage of them to benefit your organization. This is especially true when it comes to managing and protecting your data. For example, a move to the cloud might be a good time to transition from a relational database to a NoSQL system, consolidate and standardize your master data or implement federated authentication. When planning your migration, take the time to evaluate your current systems and consider ways you can improve them as you make the move.

A healthcare exec discusses a migration to Oracle's cloud applications.

Each migration to the Oracle Cloud is a unique process. These tips should be treated only as starting points from which to build a comprehensive migration plan that considers all aspects of transitioning to the cloud. The more prepared you and your team are before making the move, the better the chances that your Oracle cloud migration will be smooth and successful.

This was last published in March 2018

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