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Moving Your First Workload to the Cloud

Developing a cloud migration strategy can be a daunting and challenging initiative. The sheer volume of perceived effort and magnitude of what you want to execute as a holistic approach can prove overwhelming and paralyzing.

What steps can you take to make the process less stressful? One way to begin is by choosing a good-fit first workload migration project—or pilot project—based on your business goals.

A workload, typically, is any program or application that runs on any computer. It could be as simple as a scheduling web application or a complex enterprise application with multiple integrations.

Why use a pilot project?

A migration pilot project provides an opportunity to learn and explore migration methodologies with a narrower focus that can support a long-term solution.

Illustration of 4 benefits to using a cloud migration pilot projectExecuting a pilot project has many benefits, including:

  • Identifying skills gaps and potential partnership needs
  • Providing valuable input to your larger cloud migration plan
  • Establishing a source of learning that helps you to iterate and improve
  • Instilling confidence for your next wave of migration

In this post, we’ll help guide you by:

  • Identifying your migration motivations and goals
  • Mapping those motivations to ideal migration pilot projects
  • Providing additional resources to plan and implement your first migration

Good-fit candidates for your migration pilot project

End-of-support technologies

If you have a workload that is nearing its end of support, as recently happened with Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, this can be an excellent place to start your cloud migration updates. Moving to the cloud makes it easier for organizations to stay up-to-date, secure, and compliant.

A move to the cloud is an opportunity to address secondary issues of support that you may have held off on previously due to hesitancy on investing in a “soon to be decommissioned” platform or technology.

Allocating more resources to a previously constrained and taxed infrastructure is an exercise that is easy, manageable, and flexible in the cloud.

Development and testing

By leveraging cloud resources for innovation and/or parallel development and testing efforts, you can quickly provide scale and performance. Furthermore, your team can accomplish this scale without interfering with other teams and actions while making use of appropriate methodologies and techniques to integrate output and results at the right time, intentionally, and with the appropriate and desired visibility.

Leveraging cloud resources for innovation can also help support and enable a remote workforce, especially if your environment is looser and more flexible and does not require standardization of images.

If you require VPN access to participate in an isolated network or need more secure access to assets that may require that level of protection, virtual desktops in the cloud can provide a quick win for remote workers through Azure Virtual Desktops.

Datacenter exit

Datacenters are expensive. If you have a datacenter contract that is about to expire, it is worth identifying what applications you are running on those servers and using those as your starting point for a cloud migration.

Our team at SafeNet Consulting has experience in assisting our Fortune 500 clients exit their tenure from expensive, inflexible, and constraining datacenters. While a pilot project such as this requires more effort, planning, and coordination than others, it has been proven to be a rewarding undertaking that makes it a great pilot project candidate.

Simple apps with low complexity

Applications that are not mission-critical and have few dependencies are another smart place to start your migration. Ideal candidates are simple isolated workloads with clear seams, that own their data and have few, if any, on-premises dependencies. It is ok if these workloads use APIs (application programming interfaces) or other resources.

Files and other asynchronous types of integration in high trust environments are equally good candidates. The opportunities are almost endless, and it can be fun to explore simple ways to modernize an application with a cloud solution that drives immediate performance, cost benefits, and value while helping you boost your team’s morale and drive for cloud adoption.

Microsoft provides us with tools that take some of the busy work off your plate when it comes to the heavy load, mundane tasks, and environment analysis. Tasks such as easily identifying dependencies by using dependency analysis in Azure Migrate.


By initiating a pilot program, you will get a more thorough understanding of your migration, which will inform your strategy moving forward. The ideas and suggestions presented here only scratch the surface as there are many other use cases and scenarios that we can help you identify as good project candidates.

In an age where innovation seems to outpace our ability to make sense of it all, we want to contribute with our grain of added simplicity.

The SafeNet Consulting team has experience in empowering clients to accelerate resources efficiently by leveraging cloud resources without constraining or creating roadblocks for already overloaded internal teams.

We would love nothing more than the opportunity to guide and partner with you in the conversations to enable your cloud journey to become a reality and an actionable plan.

5929 Baker Rd. Suite 440
Minnetonka, MN 55345
(877) 930-3636

1036 W. Juneau Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(877) 930-3636