Successful migrations that map business imperatives onto cloud services deliver a step-change in performance - and whilst tactical deployments due to legacy infrastructure and software issues will arise, that shouldn’t be the primary driver for the project.
Making cloud services core to your digital strategy is the recommended approach, and workloads should be assessed and migrated based on their cloud suitability.
Based on my experience of enterprise migrations, these are the core areas to consider when planning your cloud migration strategy:
Not all cloud providers are equal
Cloud is a generic term that covers a number of options, and from a hosting perspective there are three main types of cloud; Public, Private and Hybrid. Each one provides different options and benefits. Business requirements and strategic imperatives will determine which services are used, and a focus on specific workloads will identify the best way to blend cloud services, particularly where a hybrid approach is needed.
People are still important
Moving to the cloud is not the same as implementing a new server or business application. It’s a transformational project that affects the entire business, and in particular the IT team. It’s vital to ensure all your people understand the rationale for the project and support the migration, along with the operational changes that may follow. Introducing new and improved ways of working may lead to role changes, and maintaining the support of the workforce is key. A training and adoption programme showing your commitment to the team will go a long way to allay fears about the future.
Bigger isn’t always better
A big-bang approach to migration is not always the right one, but if you’re facing a ‘burning platform’ and time critical deadlines, a migration of all workloads to the cloud may be unavoidable.
Each situation will differ and careful consideration must be given to how certain workloads and applications perform in a cloud environment. It’s perfectly acceptable to start small and develop your cloud infrastructure in a controlled and considered manner.
Different workloads equal different migrations
Not every element and application in your current infrastructure is necessarily a candidate for migration, and organisations must assess whether a workload is cloud suitable. Many legacy applications will consume all the computing resources they can. A ‘cloud native’ application will use only the resources it needs – releasing them back to the pool when they are no longer required, resulting in a far more efficient use of compute resource.
Detailed analysis of the most effective migration approach is fundamental to the success of a cloud transformation project. A lift and shift ‘last resort’ option is rarely suitable for all workloads, and a successful migration usually blends this with app modernisation, refactoring, or platforming.
When cost is a key factor, lift and shift will be the least expensive option, but this must be balanced with the risk of moving inappropriate workloads into the cloud. When planning a migration, explore all the options within your budget, along with timescales, anticipated long term needs and strategic imperatives.
Security starts at home
We are all aware that cyber threats are at an all-time high, and by hosting services in the cloud, the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider has the responsibility for securing the platform on which the services operate. Businesses need to focus only on the security of their own data, which can be done by the adoption of appropriate cloud security services. There was an early view that cloud computing was less secure than a traditional infrastructure. This has gone away as cloud security has advanced significantly. However, not everyone operates to the same level, and you should review the providers security posture, as well as that of your own business, to ensure an integrated cybersecurity strategy is implemented. Following cloud security best practices can largely mitigate any risks and by working with a cloud provider that can not only secure your cloud environment but extend the service to the desktop through services such SIEM and Threat Detection and Response can deliver a holistic security service.
Migrating to the cloud is an opportunity to make significant improvements to your organisation, through operational efficiencies and cost savings - and cloud can be a real market differentiator for businesses that truly embrace it. There may seem to be a daunting array of options and challenges. Planning your requirements and strategy by partnering with a cloud and security provider, like us, will ensure your cloud migration is a success.
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