5 Steps to Plan Your Best Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is one of the most ambitious and critical projects an enterprise’s IT team can undertake in 2022. 

In a 2020 survey, 68% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) ranked “migrating to the public cloud and/or expanding private cloud” as the highest driver of IT spending.

Cloud environments offer unparalleled flexibility, disaster resilience, scalability, and security relative to on-premises infrastructure. Hosting your data on the cloud also eliminates the costs and labor needed to maintain physical servers.

Despite its importance in the 21st century globalized economy, the process of planning and executing a cloud migration can be challenging, obscure, and costly. 

Here are the 5 most important steps to plan a cost-effective, smooth, and successful cloud migration.

Cartoon hand pointing to a computer with abstract data on it. Teal blue background.

Step 1: Assemble Your Team

The first thing you must do to plan a successful cloud migration is gather all relevant stakeholders. 

IT professionals, system administrators, and any other team members who work with your current computing environment should be included here.

Assembling a strong team of stakeholders ensures you are receiving all necessary input moving forward. 

Additionally, it helps you best understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current environment. This is critical information for decision-making further down in the migration planning process.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Environment

Before you choose your new cloud environment, you must understand the needs, intricacies, and capacities of your current workload.

This ensures that you get all the capabilities you need in the cloud.

Here are a few key questions to help you inventory your current environment:

  • How is your current workload structured?
  • How many VMs are you using? 
  • How much VM capacity is actively used vs. under-used or over-provisioned?
  • What workloads always need to be on vs. which can be turned on and off?
  • What are your current total operating costs for on-premises server management?

Having a clear picture of your current workload structure and makeup will help immensely in choosing your future cloud environment.

Step 3: Set Migration Goals

No project can be successful without clear goals, and cloud migrations are no exception. 

Setting clear goals with your team based on the assessment of your current environment is necessary to establish a collective understanding of why you are migrating to the cloud and what benefits you hope to achieve through the process.

Maybe your business deals with sensitive or personal data, and security is a top priority. Or perhaps you need to reduce your IT budget, and cost-effectiveness is your main decision-making criterion.

Whatever the specifics of your environment, coming to consensus on migration goals and desired outcomes with your team will clarify your choices and help to streamline the migration process.

Additionally, clear goals help with evaluating migration projects further down the line, allowing you to identify successes and opportunities for improvement in the future.

Step 4: Choose Your Cloud Configuration

Weighing your options is by far the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of cloud migration planning. 

The sheer number of choices you need to make can be overwhelming. It’s no wonder that many companies get stuck here for weeks or months at a time, unable to decide between the dizzying array of cloud options.

Cloud Type & Platform

One important decision is the type of cloud environment you will migrate to: public, private, hybrid, or multicloud.

There are five major public cloud options: AWS, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle Cloud. Migrating your entire workload to a single cloud platform makes managing your environment simple and consistent, and may provide cost benefits as well.

However, you may opt for a hybrid cloud option. Hybrid cloud generally refers to an integrated environment that involves both on-premises and public cloud infrastructures.

The hybrid options provide elasticity and greater scalability for your workload. In some cases, hybrid clouds are also more cost-efficient than solely public or private environments.

If you want even more flexibility and resilience, consider the increasingly popular multicloud. Multicloud refers to a cloud environment that utilizes services from 2 or more public cloud platforms.

The multicloud allows you to pick and choose cloud providers based on their strengths. It effectively enables the cloud architect to “shop around” to find the most cost-effective and/or capable services for each VM cluster.

Company logos from left to right: Amazon web services, VMware cloud on AWS, Oracle Cloud, IBM cloud, Google cloud, Microsoft azure, SAP cloud platform.

Major cloud platform options in today’s market


After choosing your cloud environment type, the next step is to decide whether you want to convert to a cloud native virtualization or lift-and-shift to VMware-on-Cloud.

You can learn more about the benefits of VMware-on-Cloud here, and how to choose your VMware-on-Cloud provider here.


Another cost consideration is whether you will bring your own license (BYOL) to the cloud or convert to a cloud native license. 

You might think that it is always easier to convert to cloud native licenses for ease of license management and compliance. While this is sometimes true, BYOL is worth considering especially for dedicated hosts in the cloud. 

You can learn more about how to choose between BYOL and cloud native licenses here.

Once you’ve considered and decided on all these key factors, you should be ready to choose which cloud provider(s) to migrate to. 

Step 5: Migrate!

Congratulations, you’ve successfully planned a cloud migration! 

Now, the only thing left to do is migrate your workload to your configuration and platform(s) of choice, and enjoy the benefits of the cloud.

How Akasia Can Help

Clearly, cloud migrations are anything but simple. The sheer number of cloud configurations available—we estimate 1,000,000 possible configurations—is overwhelming.

It is impossible for any one architect (or even a team!) to model all of these options and evaluate their cost-effectiveness.

As you migrate, you may find that network and I/O can incur significant costs in the cloud versus on-premises. Furthermore, cloud platforms have constantly changing products, licensing, and discounts. 

Without Akasia’s help, you may find yourself shelling out thousands of dollars in unexpected cloud costs down the line, or overpaying for services and VM capacity you don’t need.

That’s where Akasia Cloud comes in. Akasia automates the cloud selection process to save you time and money, and to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible in the cloud. 

Akasia solves 2 common problems enterprises often encounter while planning for cloud migrations: cost surprises in the cloud and identifying cloud cost savings.

Akasia Infrastructure Modeler

Akasia Infrastructure Modeler (AIM) provides cost planning for lift-and-shift migrations from on-premises to cloud. Lift-and-shift migrations involve replicating your on-premises environment in the cloud without major structural changes.

AIM auto-discovers on-premises resources and provides equivalent and right-sized cloud templates in minutes. Our software includes “hidden costs” such as network and I/O that incur extra charges in the cloud.

Importantly, the AIM report gives you a cloud bill of materials and costs that form a helpful starting point for your lift and shift migrations.

Akasia Cloud Modeler

Our second SaaS solutions, Akasia Cloud Modeler (ACM), provides cost planning for new cloud deployments. ACM allows you to select and configure cloud-native resources such as serverless computing, cloud storage and cloud databases, and compare the costs across different clouds.

Akasia Cloud Modeler always includes the latest cloud resources and is your go-to for refactoring to cloud-native options.

Visual representation of Akasia's cloud planning process. Step 1: on-premise discovery. Quick discovery, deep discovery, or CSV template input. Step 2: mapping to cloud resources. Closest match for usage, performance, network, IO. Equivalent, or right-sized. Compare 6 major clouds and popular licensing options. Step 3: modeling savings options in the cloud(s). What-if analysis, add cloud-native resources. Step 4: cloud bill of materials. Save report, or export for provisioning. Last step is optimizing in the cloud.
Steps in Akasia’s cloud planning process


Contact us here to learn more about our SaaS solutions and receive a quote for your cloud environment.

Value-added resellers and distributors, systems integrators, and consulting companies rely on Akasia’s advanced cloud cost modeling technology to give the best recommendations to their clients, and to accelerate their customers’ cloud migration decision making processes. 

Fill out this form if you’re interested in partnering with Akasia, and we will reach out to you shortly.