Cloud A-Z Part 6: The perils and perks of cloud migration

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It seems that everyone is talking cloud. The benefits are extensive, and it is the next step in the evolution of computing. However, there are just as many conversations taking place, such as why not to move to the cloud, what are the barriers and what to consider prior to the migration. This article covers three groups of considerations to take under advisement prior to migrating to the cloud.

Technical Considerations

The Basics
This is not an “all or nothing” proposition. There are a few basic questions to keep in mind when considering which applications to move to the cloud.

  • Does the application have significant interaction with external applications or services?
  • Is the application not a competitive differentiator?
  • Does the application experience highly variable usage?
  • Does the application serve up the same basic experience across all users?

Once you get through those questions, you need to start looking at other considerations.
Security
Clearly define who is responsible for which pieces of the overarching security plan. This is a partnership, so both the solution provider and the customer have responsibilities. Part 5 of this series, “Are you Doing Cloud Security Right?” provides additional information.
Compliance
The industry in which the customer operates will determine compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, SOX, etc. The customer must ensure the solution provider meets these requirements, if necessary.
Performance
Applications that require a high data transfer rate, or high CPU or RAM requirement may prove problematic to migrate. The partner needs to ensure they can meet this customer requirement. It may also be cost-prohibitive for the customer.
Migration Strategy
Actually developing a strategy is often an overlooked or glossed-over piece of the migration. Many customers just start moving applications without considering the impact on business operations, like processes or bandwidth availability. Developing this strategy in partnership with the customer is a definite value-add for a managed services provider.
Architecting for the Cloud
New applications will naturally be built to take advantage of the benefits of being hosted in the cloud, but legacy applications may require some “tinkering” in order for them to take full advantage of being migrated. You must ensure this discussion takes place so there is no surprise if re-architecting turns out to be necessary.

External Business Factors Impacting a Migration

Once you get through the technical considerations, it is time to look at external factors impacting the migration.
Sunk Costs
In theory, sunk costs should not affect business practices; however, that is not to say a cost/benefit analysis should not be done when considering migrating an application. If the application or infrastructure is being optimally utilized, then migrating may make no sense. It may be best to consider a Greenfield approach where, for example, only new applications are developed in the cloud.
Variability
The cloud allows an organization to be more nimble in its cost and resource planning. Unlike traditional on-premises resources, which continue to decline in value and incur expenses, cloud resources can be turned off when not in use. Additionally, the customer can leverage the solution provider’s knowledge around capacity planning to do an accurate budget analysis and develop best practices that can clearly show the advantage of moving workloads and applications to the cloud versus continuing on premises.
Vendor Lock-In
This phrase always makes customers shudder – and rightly so. Cloud providers tend to be transparent about their practices, though, which can go a long way toward assuaging a customer’s fears. Customers should be checking into solution providers for proprietary tech, ease of shifting data, types of dashboards, etc.
Choosing a Solution Provider
There are a multitude of items to consider when selecting a solution provider; but the most basic ones include assessing costs, support and account management.

Internal Business Factors Impacting a Migration

Although the technological and external factors are critical, internal considerations are just as important, and tend to linger or be ongoing. Dealing with these issues is vital to a successful cloud migration.
Shifting IT Responsibilities
As the customer shifts the day-to-day maintenance for many IT responsibilities over to their solution provider, the role of IT will begin to focus more on strategic planning. New roles will appear and new skills will be needed. Customers should inquire about available training.
Lack of Formal Qualifications
Unfortunately, because cloud is so new, there is a dearth of formal qualifications. Hopefully, as the technology evolves, so too will the education. Many solution providers are working to address this issue by going through a distributor that offers education in many aspects of cloud technology.
Objections
As with all change, there will be those who object to migrating to the cloud out of sheer discomfort and unfamiliarity with the technology. A good change management program should help with this.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions or would like more information on planning a move to the cloud, contact ECSCloudServices@arrow.com or call 1 877 558 6677.

 Did You Miss Any of Our Other Articles in the A-Z Series?

 
Abstracted from Rackspace’s “Planning a Move to the Cloud.”
 
 
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Last modified: December 14, 2016