A guide to cloud migration

Why and how you should do it

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The current economic climate is forcing companies to reorganise their systems and IT operations with minimal resources. Today businesses, big or small, are using the cloud services to transform their capability, improve agility and gain competitive advantage. The rewards of new efficiency are there to grasp, with clouds offering measured service, on demand self-service, redundancy, resource pooling, scalability and broad network access along with other technical benefits.

As businesses seek competitive advantage and look to scale, the Cloud can increasingly make the difference. Business wise there are several tangible benefits cloud migration offer, including better ROI, scalability, control over IT and app deployment and facilitating faster innovation.

In-house, bulky servers, running organisational software are becoming history. They are slow, unscalable, vulnerable to attack and, most of all, expensive to maintain and upgrade.The solution at hand now is migration, allowing businesses to part with their old servers and deploy business software and applications from anywhere, freeing up capital, space and time. It’ s a shift that transforms IT from a perceived expenditure to a revenue driver by facilitating growth.

However, the failure rate for cloud migrations is still high due to a lack of strategy or a not clear enough roadmap. Fortunately, there are strategic partners in the market that make it their business to help you assess, plan, stage and manage every aspect of this technological shift.

Doing it and doing it right

A strategic approach 

Needless to say, the decision to move into the cloud is a big undertaking and the process looks different for every company. Although the transition is a significant lift, it provides an opportunity to rethink and improve your architecture and workflows by eliminating underutilised resources, identifying vulnerabilities and automating manual processes.

 

Most businesses already have at least one workload running in the cloud. However, that doesn’t mean that cloud migration is right for everyone. For instance, you might not be able to maintain very sensitive data in the cloud and compliance requirements could also limit your choices.

Then companies considering their first cloud migration have a lot of factors to take into consideration— from the benefits and the risks to the cloud service model and type that is right for a particular kind of business.

So, what are the main questions that you need to answer in order to sketch up a roadmap?

First of all, you need to know what you have, meaning that a migration plan is far easier if you have a clear picture of your IT infrastructure. An asset inventory in some form is usually available, but these often rely on manual updates and are terribly incomplete or out of date.

Knowing what’s in your infrastructure now is critical to building the best practices that will ensure any and all future assets are tracked and managed in real time.

 

Then you will need to know how your existing assets will be impacted by migration.

A hybrid-cloud architecture crosses between private data centers and the cloud, introducing new challenges to application architecture. Each component’s final destination will also be impacted by security considerations. Components with the strictest security requirements might need to stay on-premises, while larger components, such as databases, might need to be divided according to the level of security required.

Industries such as health care and financial services governed by stricter security and compliance regulations face additional data-handling requirements that affect both the storage and processing components of IT infrastructure. This means that before signing off on a cloud migration plan, you need to make sure that sensitive data won’t be exposed to new vulnerabilities. 

Furthermore, success in the cloud requires a shift to an automation-first mindset so it is of utmost importance to asses which assets can be automated.

It’s probable you’re already utilising some level of automation, but that automation likely originated out of necessity. You need to make the best out of this capability because automation is one of the most powerful tools for realising the maximum value in a cloud deployment. Cloud providers have tools that auto-scale applications based on any number of criteria, from geography to load but this can can be a hidden trap because each cloud provider will have its own automation tools, leaving you to manually configure and scale services across data centers.

Conclusion

Note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when contemplating a cloud migration strategy. It’s important to consider cloud adoption from a variety of angles and perspectives and dismiss some common misconceptions before moving forward.

Beside the aforementioned aspects, the CIOs have also three other points need considering:

  1. A cloud-first mentality doesn’t mean pushing all company data into the cloud.

When companies become too aggressive with their cloud migration strategy there is a considerable risk to overspend and under plan. If an application doesn’t need to be immediately refactored for the cloud environment, don’t force it at the onset of data migration because it will lead to increased costs, both direct and indirect.

  1. The “don’t do today what you can do tomorrow” principle.

 

Yes, you usually hear it the other way around, but the highest ROI options should be the primary targets for migration to the cloud service

So if you want the biggest bang for your buck look at things this way: if a current application is likely to have little initial ROI, leave its cloud migration process for another day. 

 

  1. Security is the corner-stone in the quest for application optimization.

 

Countless events have made the news lately with one major common feature: cybersecurity and data breaches. So bear in mind that it only takes one incident of insecure data to lose the trust of your customers.

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