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Cloud Migration

Cloud Roadmap: Mapping Out Your Path To The Cloud

What is a Cloud Strategy Roadmap?

A cloud strategy roadmap is a visual communication tool that describes how your organization will migrate to the cloud. It includes key tasks, deliverables, and deadlines. IT teams use roadmaps to put their cloud migration strategy on track and hold all stakeholders accountable. According to Gartner, cloud strategy roadmaps should have at least five parts: aligning objectives, planning, preparing for execution, governance, optimization, and collaboration.

Because cloud migration projects are complex and involve multiple parts of an organization, developing a cloud strategy roadmap is not a simple task. You should follow a structured process to ensure all relevant stakeholders are on board and align your roadmap with available resources and operational considerations.

In this article:

What Questions Should You Ask When Developing a Cloud Roadmap?

Addressing the “why”
The best way to start building your cloud roadmap is to start with the why. Why are you migrating? What are the benefits? Why should other members of your organization join your cloud vision?

Addressing the “how”
When you approach a cloud roadmap, you’ll need concrete answers to the technical challenges of migration. Ask yourself how you’ll migrate workloads to the cloud, how they will operate in a hybrid environment, and which cloud migration method is the most appropriate—lift-and-shift, refactoring, or rebuilding.

Addressing cultural factors
Another category of questions involves the people in your organization. Don't underestimate the importance of culture. Technology is often the easier part of cloud transformation; changing workflows people are accustomed to is more challenging.

How will you encourage people in your organization to cooperate with the migration, and what will you do to ensure it impacts them positively? Empathy, professional development, and support are as important as choosing between cloud providers or cloud-native technologies.

Addressing the “what”
An essential part of your roadmap is what you will migrate. Ask yourself which workloads will move to the cloud, which are easier to migrate, and which are more challenging. Define datasets that will move to the cloud and critical aspects like data sensitivity and availability requirements.

Define success
Ask yourself what will make your cloud migration a success. Are you aiming to shut down the on-premises data center or move all new development to the cloud? Define the organization's ultimate goal with specific metrics to measure migration success.

Cloud Roadmap Strategy: Five Must-Have Stages

According to research by Gartner, the ideal cloud migration roadmap consists of five steps.

Align Objectives

Organizations should create a cloud migration value proposition for business and IT early in the cloud migration roadmap. Start by conducting a survey to understand the use cases for cloud adoption, aligning cloud strategy with IT goals, and defining action steps to achieve your goals.

Another important aspect is to define migration principles based on application and team readiness, business priorities, and vendor capabilities. Use data available in the organization to define the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for a successful migration.

Related content: Read our guide to cloud migration approaches

Develop a Plan of Action

Choose the right cloud provider and negotiate a successful contract. At this stage, you should build cloud capabilities across the organization, assess alternative service providers, and prepare to mitigate cloud-related risks. Identify the necessary investments in your network, security, identity architecture, and other tools.

At this stage, determine whether to migrate your entire environment to the cloud, or one workload at a time. Identify if your organization requires a multi-cloud environment or a single cloud provider will suffice. Think about the long term—will the capabilities of your cloud provider fit your needs in the future, and how will costs grow over time given your future growth?

Related content: Read our guide to cloud transition planning

Prepare for Execution

At this stage, you deploy and optimize workloads in the cloud. Deployment involves identifying workloads for migration, defining your cloud management workflow, adopting implementation best practices, and analyzing how workloads perform in the cloud.

Managing cloud migration as a structured, well-defined process can help an organization significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cloud workload management.

Related content: Read our detailed cloud migration checklists:

Establish Governance While Mitigating Risk

The goal of a successful cloud migration includes setting up robust processes to minimize disruption to your workflow. To be successful, you must discover, analyze and monitor sensitive data throughout your cloud deployment. Set up a security control plane using a third-party tool with suitable functionality.

Take a lifecycle approach to governance—it is important to realize that you must continuously maintain governance to be effective. Governance and compliance feedback should be an integral part of your workflow, leveraging automation.

Optimize and Scale

At this stage, workloads are already running successfully in the cloud. Consider investments that can improve existing use of the cloud and address operational challenges. Define customer-centric goals, communicating to teams how improved cloud use can benefit the organization. Align all stakeholders around the need to continuously develop and optimize your cloud presence.

Related content: Read our guide to cloud migration tools


Cloud migration processes can only succeed by achieving cooperation between cross-departmental teams. The following roles should be included in your roadmap and in relevant planning stages:

  • CIO—provides strategic and planning guidance and can help define the goals of cloud migration. The CIO can help communicate progress to other stakeholders.
  • Development leaders and teams—provide technical advice and can help establish a vision. They can work with other IT leaders to define specific cloud migration plans using up-to-date progress and planning information.
  • Operations leaders and teams—provide insight into the infrastructure and operations requirements of cloud migration and determine activities required to implement the strategy. They will typically manage the operational mechanisms needed to enable the migration.
  • Cloud experts—any cloud migration program will benefit from a team of cloud experts, either in-house or outsourced, who can provide architectural and process plans for the project. They can help evaluate and select the best tools and processes for migrating and refactoring systems and help build the required skills among other teams.

Cloud Migration with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

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Download our free eBook: The NetApp Guide to Migrating Enterprise Workloads to the Cloud

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager