How to Successfully Migrate to GCP

When contemplating a shift to the Cloud, meticulous planning is paramount. Begin by assessing your current infrastructure – is it housed in a private data center or a colocation site, or perhaps you’re already leveraging the cloud services of providers like AWS, Azure, or Alibaba?

According to Google, a successful migration encompasses five key phases:

  1. Assess: Evaluate your existing setup comprehensively. Understand the intricacies of your infrastructure, applications, and data to formulate a robust migration strategy.
  2. Pilot: Before the full-scale migration, conduct pilot tests. This phase allows you to identify potential challenges, validate your strategy, and mitigate risks on a smaller scale.
  3. Move Data: Execute a seamless transfer of your data to the Cloud. This involves careful planning to ensure data integrity, security, and minimal disruption during the transition.
  4. Move Applications: Transition your applications to the Cloud environment. This phase demands a meticulous approach to guarantee the functionality and performance of your applications post-migration.
  5. Cloudify (Cloud Optimize): Optimize your operations for the Cloud environment after migration. Leverage the unique features of the chosen Cloud platform to enhance performance, scalability, and efficiency.

In the subsequent sections, we will delve into each of these phases, providing detailed insights and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful migration journey to the Cloud.

Assess: Understanding Your Infrastructure

In the initial phase, gaining a comprehensive understanding of your existing infrastructure is crucial. Conducting a thorough audit is recommended. Ideally, your documentation is comprehensive; however, if not, various tools and scripts, like PowerShell Core, can assist in pulling essential information about your infrastructure.

When classifying servers, consider:

  • Ease of Move: Servers and applications that are straightforward to migrate.
  • Hard to Move: Servers and applications pose challenges in migration.
  • Cannot be Moved: Servers have limitations on migration.

How to Audit Existing Environment

Here are both premium and open-source tools you can consider for auditing your existing environment:

Premium Options:

  1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM):
  2. Splunk:
  3. Nessus Professional:
    • Renowned for vulnerability scanning, Nessus helps identify security issues within your infrastructure.
    • Provides detailed reports on vulnerabilities and potential threats.
  4. ManageEngine OpManager:
    • Offers network and server monitoring, bandwidth analysis, and configuration management.
    • Has an intuitive dashboard for a holistic view of your infrastructure.

Open Source Options:

  1. Nagios:
    • A widely-used open-source monitoring tool that provides a centralized view of your infrastructure.
    • Offers customizable alerts and notifications.
  2. OpenNMS:
    • Focuses on network management and monitoring, capable of discovering and monitoring devices automatically.
    • Includes features like fault and performance management.
  3. Wireshark:
    • A network protocol analyzer that allows you to capture and inspect data on your network.
    • Useful for troubleshooting and identifying potential issues.
  4. Osquery:
    • Enables SQL-based queries to gather data on your devices, facilitating comprehensive system monitoring.
    • Works across various operating systems.

When deciding how to classify your servers, you will need to consider:

  • Work out and understand the criticality of the application to the business
  • Are there any compliance rules, such as can data be located outside of your country of residence
  • Do you need to purchase new licenses?
  • Will migrating to the Cloud deliver a return on your cloud Investment?
  • Work out what are the application dependencies.
  • What is the largest benefit of moving it to the Cloud?

Pilot: Testing the Waters

The next stage involves a proof-of-concept or pilot phase, where non-critical servers undergo testing in the Cloud. This serves as a pivotal step in streamlining the migration process.

During the pilot, focus on:

  • Licensing requirements (research BYOL model)
  • Rollback plan
  • Potential changes in business processes

Assets built during the POC:

  • Projects
  • Separation of duties (IAM)
  • Test/Prod environments
  • VPC networking

Post-POC, evaluate the technical team’s learning curve, initiate cloud performance validation, and refine your cloud design.

Move Data: Transitioning Your Information

This phase initiates the migration of data before applications. Google recommends this approach for better evaluation of storage options and data transfer methods.

Google recommends moving the data before applications so you can

  • Evaluate Storage options available
  • Decide on a data transfer method

Here are the types of data transfer available:

Source Destination Tool
On-Prem data Google Cloud
Transfer appliance
Batch upload
drag and drop
data (AWS)
GCS Storage Transfer Service
Batch Import
GCS Batch upload to GCS
Compute Engine Backup files to persistent disk
Stream to persistent disk

Move Applications: Migrating Your Software Assets

The next step is to start migrating your applications.

There are several options to consider such as:

  • Do it yourself (Self service) or use a Google partner?
  • Lift and Shift? – create duplicate environemnet of on-prem resources – this is usually for HUGE amounts of data
  • VM/Physical server import freely available from CloudEndure and Velostrata
  • Choose a Hybrid cloud model?
  • Backup-as-migration?

Cloudify and Optimize: Enhancing Your Cloud Solution

Now you have your services in the Cloud, the final step is to “cloudify” the solution by starting to push services out to cloud products.

Typically this may include

  • Add High Availability
  • Add Elasticity such as Auto-Scaling
  • Move to different storage options
  • Add additional cloud services
  • Add Monitoring
  • Add deployment procedures
  • Add redundancy

Further services can be added such as:

  • Offload static assets to cloud storage
  • Enable autoscaling
  • Enhance redundancy with different availability zones
  • Enhanced monitoring with stackdriver
  • Managed services
  • How to launch future resources
  • Decouple stateful storage from applications
Elsewhere On TurboGeek:  How to use gcloud shell to create resources


Richard Bailey, a seasoned tech enthusiast, combines a passion for innovation with a knack for simplifying complex concepts. With over a decade in the industry, he's pioneered transformative solutions, blending creativity with technical prowess. An avid writer, Richard's articles resonate with readers, offering insightful perspectives that bridge the gap between technology and everyday life. His commitment to excellence and tireless pursuit of knowledge continues to inspire and shape the tech landscape.

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