Half of migrations exceed the budget, and more than 2/3rds exceed their planned time frame. Preparation is vital to prevent those scenarios.
Plan your cloud migration before you start
Evaluate current asset inventory.
Most businesses are not aware of all software applications with every patch and update installed throughout the life of the business. Additionally, when IT employees were rotated, they may have taken with them necessary info about programs and infrastructure.
Have a backup.
While ideally nothing fails, this is imperative for obvious reasons.
Check all any and all licensing agreements.
Verify your licensing agreements before migration begins. Many agreements preclude usage of the cloud, which requires businesses to find fixes and alternatives to licensing limitations.
Assess vendor compatibility before committing.
Common vendors like AWS will reformat data. Apps running on older operating systems will potentially run poorly in the cloud, even if they are windows or linux based. In this case, upgrading software and operating systems beforehand is beneficial.
Identify any application dependencies
Migrating one app to the cloud while leaving its dependent application is a common issue. Being aware of any dependencies will ensure that any apps moved will have the support they need to function, and any apps that remain will as well.
Know your end-users
If end-users are used to interacting with an application one way, and on the migration it fails to meet their standards, the cost benefits incurred from the migration may be offset by an upset customer base.
Reevaluate your governance strategy
Moving to the cloud necessitates a shift in an organization’s governance strategy. As they move data to the public cloud, the enterprise’s control over it lessens, and the cloud providers take corresponding responsibility for it. Since every provider has different policies, it may make sense initially to make your governance strategy specific to the provider. To prevent an inefficient provider change, it’s best to make the governance strategy cloud ready in general as opposed to specifically ready for one provider. Look for areas where the cloud may introduce a weakness in your practices, create a general strategy and policies to address the weaknesses, and then specify that strategy’s application to the provider you decide on. This way, your strategy only requires minor tweaks to fit a different provider.
Have an exit strategy for now-unnecessary equipment
Many times the data center decommission process is extremely time consuming, and assets have depreciated significantly more than predicted. Remarketing assets is often difficult unless part of your team specializes in IT asset disposition. Additionally, repurposing used equipment without proper data erasure leaves you at risk for a data breach. Finding an Asset value recovery company with experience in the business, R2 data erasure certification, and white glove remote hands pickup is going to be your best bet to minimize time investment and maximize returns on your assets.
Can your application run in the cloud?
Your applications may have been written to run on an older OS such as Windows 7 or for specific infrastructure. In that case, they may not be cloud portable in their current state. Generally speaking, you have four options when migrating apps to the cloud.
- Rehost on IaaS: Deploy to an Infrastructure-as-a-service environment. In the process the enterprise must reconfigure the app to function in a virtual hardware environment. Sometimes referred to as “lift and shift,” this is generally the fastest option, but benefits of the cloud infrastructure such as scalability will be missed without any rearchitecturing.
- Refactor for PaaS: Run apps on the cloud provider’s infrastructure with Platform-as-a-Service. Backward compatibility of the PaaS allows developers to use the same languages, frameworks, and containers they’re familiar with. Often used to do things like java development or application hosting on the provider’s infrastructure, while keeping existing infrastructure for everything else. This option can pose risks such as being locked in to a specific framework and transitive risk. Additionally, the PaaS market is still in its infancy, so current capability offerings may not match up to what developers currently depend on.
- Rearchitect on Paas: Discard current code and build the application over for a new software framework. Rearchitecting is generally expensive and time consuming. However, this option best allows the enterprise to best take advantage of innovative native cloud features. These tools offered by the provider can boost productivity greatly. The main weakness is being locked in if the provider makes an unacceptable change or breaches any service agreement.
- Replace with SaaS: Eliminate an existing application such as Windows Exchange and replace it with a Software-as-a-service such as Google Apps instead. a simple replacement allows enterprisees to avoid investing in a development team mobilization if an enterprise business function changes unexpectedly. The potential disadvantages are data access problems and variable data semantics.
Identify which cloud is right for you
It’s important to know the differences between public, private, and hybrid clouds when deciding.
- Offers immediate savings
- Zero capital investment to start operating
- Public cloud services can be accessed from anywhere in the world
- Superior agility and elasticity
- No need to plan computing requirements in advance
- Limitless computing and storage capacities
- Quickly adapt to workload changes
- Reduced maintenance and management
- No facilities involved
- Superior Security
- Important data sits behind a managed firewall
- Easier for regulation compliance
- Configuration Control
- Corporations can customize their infrastructure and interface however they see fit
- Low Latency
- Employs facets of both onsite and cloud IT, can mix and match for ideal balance of cost and security
- Handle workload shifts well
- Can fall back on the public cloud’s resources
- Hide critical data behind private firewall
- Lower costs by only paying for cloud resources when workloads shift
- Lower on premises expenses by using public cloud resources
- Limited customization
- Provider determines setup
- Potential Security Concerns
- Multiple Tenants
- No Private Firewall
- Require extensive Personnel
- Hardware Procurement teams
- Data Center Design and Build teams
- 24/7/365 operational staff in all facilities
- Networking teams
- Security Personnel
- Must plan for computing requirements in advance
- Difficult to adjust to unanticipated workload shifts
- Lack of computing power
- Difficult for a private enterprise server to match AWS or Google
- Reliant on competent security specialists to protect sensitive data
- Data transfer vulerability
- Data moving across zones from public to private can potentially be hacked
- Time delays
- Important data transfer communications may have higher transfer times than on a private cloud
- Involved to implement initially
- High up front cost to set up a hybrid cloud
- Complex communication implementation between public and private clouds
Which cloud you use will largely depend on the needs of your specific industry. For example, hybrid clouds are often used in the finance field. They can place trade orders leveraging the speed of the private cloud infrastructure, yet run analytics leveraging the computing power of the public cloud. Additionally, the enterprises’ mission-critical algorithm data is secured behind the private cloud firewall.
A start up without the funds to employ a large IT team to oversee its private cloud that simply wants to lower costs will likely want to employ the public cloud, as without a team to set up a secure environment, the security benefits of the private cloud are negated.
A larger company with fairly predictable workloads and intensive security needs as in the healthcare field might thus be tempted by the control, customization, and data security of the private cloud.
Beginning dos and don’ts
Do: Before executing any large changes, do a test migration with one application already architectured for the cloud before migrating.
Don’t upgrade anything after you’re underway; this will only increase your chances of errors.
Do move data in phases to track how the cloud benefits you and functions before you jump in head first. Fire bullets before cannonballs. If you followed the previous planning steps, you should know which facets of your programs and data are low risk and ideal to begin with.
The cloud isn’t going anywhere. According to a whitepaper published by IDC, businesses that “deployed applications on Amazon cloud…” experienced benefits such as:
- 626% ROI
- Software development productivity increase: 507%
- Downtime reduction of 72%
- Increase in IT productivity of 52%
- TCO savings of 70%
Despite these potential benefits, organizations must plan carefully before they dive into the world of cloud computing.