Migration planning by application fits better
September 17, 2012
By Birket Foster
CEO, MB Foster
Second of two parts
At the highest level, a 3000 site’s migration plans and due diligence are a process of discovery. Like planning out a dream kitchen, you will consider ways to improve your workplace. Innovation before migration can deliver an immediate return on investment. These investments will have a positive impact and provide dramatic improvements that can be carried forward when moving to your ultimate objective. Thinking of these improvements and how to set up things to accommodate life after migration during discovery will pay big dividends down the road.
Detailed Plan by Application
Applications represent the appliances in your kitchen. Details in an application migration plan should include designs for your surround code and surround data. Surround code is the application code that interfaces between applications APIs, included in this category are extracts, and reports added by the in-house IT team. Surround data are often extra tables added to your database. These might be put in place to do a process like EDI, or reports, extracts and interfaces between applications, systems, suppliers and customers. While not in the main application, they support the functions and workflow of the company.
This plan will need to include time for reviewing and implementing good processes to manage the changes in the application code and automating the testing. As an example source management software is used to check in/out the surround code (The VSS source safe is an example of a source code management application).
The details of planning for your application and data migration make up the next biggest share of your migration budget. How big? It depends on the number of applications you need to migrate. There's a wide range of activities which go into a detailed plan. These costs are what you’ll use to integrate the experience of your guide with your objective.
A successful migration should fit into the bigger picture of a company’s business and computing strategy. Close study of what sits in your kitchen’s cupboards can reveal items that haven’t been used in years — so you don’t have to make space for them in the new kitchen. With the same kind of diligent planning, you can find applications that aren’t serving the company needs or workflows — and aren’t contributing to the bottom line any longer. These will not have to be migrated or repurchased.
Once you’ve got a detailed plan, the migration implementation — the actual journey, or building your kitchen space — makes up 40 to 60 percent of your total costs to migrate. If you’re expecting a small migration project, spending $40,000 on an executive seminar and detailed planning, plus the cost of tools, may bring the whole project in at a much more reasonable cost. Without the detailed plan, the project will cost more and take longer.
Plans Need Blueprints
Good implementation should include data blueprinting. It is like measuring your available kitchen area. No matter whether your applications will be migrated or replaced, your data is making the journey — just like your pots, pans and dishes will continue to be used in a new kitchen.What’s in a data blueprint? It’s a complete inventory of what’s on your current servers, and can include file formats, file types, database designs, metadata sources and the number of volumes and storage needs. A blueprint examines how useful your data really is — so you can see why you’re storing old data. A blueprint also identifies data constraints and relationships between your data.
Whether you buy an application or migrate your current one to a new environment there will be testing, typically about three times as much as is usually estimated for the entire project (so closer to 30 percent, not 10 percent). There will be testing to prove that all the data got moved; testing to be sure that migrated surround code and the application performs well under load; testing for the application integration with other application systems; and also user acceptance testing.
By hiring subject matter experts with experience, you achieve system acceptance in a timely manner by getting the users scheduled early as part of the quality assurance and test process.
Once the transition is complete you will need to be in a position to function in the new kitchen; the new skills in operations, programming and even end user deployment will need timely and comprehensive training. Budgeting and planning for training mitigates risks and is a critical success factor.
Budgeting for training costs is another tricky bit that requires experience. It can be as low as 1 percent of the total migration or as much as 5-10 percent if business process reengineering will take place. All education needs to be considered, from the early steps of training for new operational skills required in IT, plus new application skills to be taught to end users.
Managing a Project
Application migration is a project that demands management and planning. With the help of your guide, analyze your budget and include a skilled project manager. Typically the project management will be 17-25 percent of the project. This is another critical success factor.
Everyone needs to plan their resources: people and finances for projects, so they can determine what resources will be required to build the cabinets, fix the plumbing and purchase the desired appliances and light fixtures. Or in this case, the applications and services required to make their migration a success. There are so many aspects to consider and be managed.
Post-project activity list
Once the project has completed its “go-live” process, there is still work to do. First there will be the parking lot items: things that came up during the project which did not need to be addressed immediately, but should be scheduled now that the project is finished.
You also need to have a decommissioning plan: a strategy which will take care of deciding how to best manage the historic data. You want to get things to a point where the old servers can be shut down and disposed of — not to mention the savings that can be obtained.
Oh, and don’t forget to celebrate. It’s been a long process, but you finished a migration project on time and within budget, because it was well planned and budgeted. It is time for the after-party.