Planning a System Migration: The Steps For Success

Few phrases make a manager’s hair go grey faster than “system migration.” If end-of-life software is in your future, don’t worry. While there is no sure-thing solution, there are ways you can make a system migration flow a little easier.

The first thing to point out is that you may not have to migrate at all, or at least not immediately. Say that CentOs 8 EOL has been announced, and you have no migration plan in place. You don’t have to scramble to move all of your systems over to a new platform immediately (unless you want to). Instead, you can invest in specific CentOS 8 EOL services that extend OS support until you form a more solid migration plan.

The best option is to migrate, but you’ll do more harm than good if you don’t look before you leap. Here are your system migration planning steps after EOL becomes your reality.

Build universal support

The words migration or update in the minds of most end-users is tech code for saying the system will be down. That means you need a lot of support throughout the project. The way to do that is to map out the benefits and define potential problems and how you will fix them.

You may not be able to convince everyone that migration is the best way forward, but that shouldn’t be your goal. Your goal is to raise as much support as possible and build agreement among key stakeholders.

Build a team based on competencies

System migrations are not the time to play favorites or tolerate internal IT squabbles. Pick your migration team and assign responsibilities based on competency. Do not let egos or trying to avoid hurting them force you into bad decisions. Things will go more smoothly when you have the right people for the right jobs.

Calculate risks and build contingencies

Every migration has risks. Because of that, controlling the risks and mitigating them should be one of your top priorities. You will not avoid every risk or potential problem in system migration, but you can minimize the fallout if you have a robust risk management strategy in place.

You need contingencies to address the reality of a complex migration. Troubleshoot any potential system issues with your team, including operability issues for end-users. Then, build a response plan for each issue. Planning ahead will give you peace of mind and reduce headaches later.

Set up phases

If possible, implement the migration in phases to control damage if something goes wrong and gradually acclimate employees to the new system. Document every action taken for future reference.

Before launching to everyone, test each phase with representatives of those who will use the system. If possible, live test. When kinks arise, fix them and then retest. This trial-and-error might take longer than just tossing the system into the deep end and debugging, but it will guarantee a smoother launch and fewer frustrated end users.

Communicate regularly

Lack of communication leads to mistakes, confusion, frustration, and anger. You must constantly inform your colleagues and end-users of system migration progress, potential problems, timeframes, and work needs. Knowing something, even if it’s bad news, is almost always preferred because it helps others plan.

Final thought

Any system migration comes with challenges, and how well you control them will be how the entire migration is judged. The steps above will ensure that you can do the migration and anticipate and mitigate risks while keeping everyone informed. Attaining those goals will go a long way towards successful system migration.