Companies are migrating their applications and infrastructure to the cloud at increasing rates. Cost is a typical reason why however there are multiple non-cost factors to take into consideration as potential reasons to move to the cloud. But what does this mean exactly and is it a smart move for your business? Let’s find out.
- What Is Cloud Migration?
- Current State and Benefits of Cloud Migration
- Cloud Migration Challenges
- The Cloud Migration Journey/Key Considerations
- Migration Providers
- Cloud Migration Governance
What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is when a business moves some or all of its digital assets — databases, IT resources, and more — into the cloud. This allows the business to become more nimble, increase efficiency, and cut costs. However, keep in mind that cloud migration may also refer to a business moving from cloud to cloud.
The Current State and Benefits of Cloud Migration
In recent years, the ever-changing economic climate has resulted in an increasing shift to the cloud. Organizations, CIOs, and IT leaders across the world are replacing legacy, on-premises technology with more flexible and scalable computing technology. In fact, as of 2022, it’s estimated that 94% of companies use cloud computing. This isn’t surprising, especially given the benefits of cloud migration. Most organizations that leverage cloud technology enjoy a wide range of benefits, including:
- Faster time to market: Cloud computing eliminates the slow procurement processes and hardware limitations, making it easier to test new ideas and develop new applications.
- Increased flexibility and scalability: With cloud computing, organizations can quickly scale their resources and storage to meet business demands without investing in physical infrastructure.
- Cost savings: No matter the cloud service an organization uses, it will only pay for the resources it consumes.
- Data loss prevention: Most cloud providers offer data backup and recovery services. As such, storing data in the cloud can prevent its loss in an emergency, such as malicious threats or hardware malfunction.
- Advanced security: Cloud computing can help strengthen an organization’s security posture given the centralized management, breadth of security features, and automatic maintenance.
Cloud Migration Challenges
Unfortunately, not all organizations benefit from the cloud due to poor cloud strategy and planning. This typically causes cost overruns because real migration efforts were not realistic, inadequate analysis was performed on how and what can be migrated, and a lack of operational optimization once workloads were migrated to the cloud.
The purpose of this article is to encourage CIOs and other IT leaders to holistically review their cloud objectives and understand areas of concern before migrating to the cloud. Depending on the prevailing conditions of an organization, migrating to the cloud might be easier said than done. In some instances, immediately migrating to the cloud may not be the optimal move. Organizations should conduct extensive focus to ensure that they obtain an outcome that adequately meets their current and future needs.
The Cloud Migration Journey
Let’s dive into key considerations in a cloud migration journey.
Current Considerations With Cloud Migration
The process of migrating to the cloud begins with a full review of current IT resources and infrastructure. Are all your existing applications able to be migrated to the cloud? Sometimes the previous technology used by an organization may or may not be compatible with cloud migration. Simply moving workloads to the cloud could cause inefficiencies and cost overruns given that those same issues are being brought to the cloud. Remember that leveraging cloud services isn’t always a one-size-fits-all.
Cloud migration isn’t as simple as just moving a workload to the cloud without redesign. Do organizations need to determine if the existing workload could be architected in a more cloud-ready way? Are your people knowledgeable about cloud infrastructure and services and how the workload will be operational in the cloud? Does the technical stack fit the cloud or is the application more proprietary and legacy?
When the current state of a workload doesn’t fit, determine whether SaaS (Software as a Service) is a consideration. CIOs may want to have all-in-one systems because they streamline processes and optimize capabilities without development. SaaS could allow an organization to buy best practices, so they don’t have to dedicate a budget to writing software and providing support and maintenance to proprietary systems and applications.
Depending on an organization’s current state, cloud migration may not be as easy as some want you to believe. It is vital that organizations do their homework to ensure they get an outcome that meets their expectations.
What are the Objectives of Cloud Migration?
While there are a number of cloud migration challenges, such as investment in the people and tools needed to migrate successfully, interoperability, latency, and downtimes, it also presents many benefits.
For instance, successful cloud migration often results in cost reduction, given that the cloud eliminates the technical debt of on-premise applications and systems. The cloud can also control the cost incurred by paying for data centers and servers.
Another benefit of the cloud is that it enables organizations to have a more agile infrastructure. You can easily ramp infrastructure up or down with the cloud as needed. Infrastructure changes can be done within a moment’s notice. However, the entire process can take comparatively a lot more time due to proper time to plan and architect environments. Otherwise, organizations will likely experience cloud sprawl and increased costs.
Migrating to the cloud could also allow you to correct less optimal infrastructure, meaning an organization can easily replace antiquated applications and infrastructure, thereby reducing technical debt. The ability to scale infrastructure and improve resiliency and security could also be obtained.
Which Cloud Provider to Use
The cloud computing market is flooded with cloud service providers, making it difficult to choose the right one. When selecting a cloud provider, the requirements you have and the evaluation criteria you use will be unique to your organization. Even then, there are some common focus areas during any cloud service provider assessment. They include:
- Market share vs cloud revenue growth: While cloud revenue growth is essential when selecting a cloud provider, organizations should focus on market share growth rather than a change in revenue. Revenue is provider-specific, and they can use financials to demonstrate their individual growth in their best light, but true market share should be the primary metric.
- Does it meet your needs: Different cloud providers offer different computing services. As such, before partnering with a provider, it’s crucial to check that their services meet your current needs and allow for expansion in the future. Is the provider a leader in offerings or a follower?
- Are the skills required easily obtainable: Organizations must also check that the skills needed to maintain a given cloud infrastructure can be easily obtained in the labor market. The market size of the provider will determine the availability of skills. Skills availability will correlate to market share as more people will focus their skills on market demand. Cloud providers with a smaller market share will have fewer skills available to obtain due to a lack of demand from potential employers.
Governance Strategy in Cloud Migration
Governance refers to the control, processes, and policies adopted by organizations that run services in the cloud and on-premise. Its goal is to assure investments in IT generate business value, manage risk, reduce duplication, and enable increased efficiency within the technology environment.
When setting cloud governance, ensure you outline the cloud roles. This should entail aspects such as:
- Security: Outline the measures for ensuring data, network, and computing are safe within the cloud. Organizations must implement security to keep their infrastructure protected. The same breath used for securing your technology deployed on-premise should also be made in the cloud. Organizations might find their current security personnel will adapt to this function within the cloud as well.
- Infrastructure: Determine the appropriate infrastructure for implementing your organization’s cloud strategy and architecture. Assess what improvements could be made from the current state by migrating to the cloud. A cloud-first initiative should be designed from inception with cloud infrastructure and security being paramount.
- Data: Understand data requirements, which are of particular significance. They ensure the data architecture, design, and deployment are structured as the workloads need them and are protected.
- Control: This is typically implemented by defining cloud administrators and also by incorporating some form of enterprise architecture to limit duplicated efforts or services. Monitoring of services and costs should also be made.
Apart from outlining your cloud roles, organizations should also determine how best to contain costs. This is especially the case given that a study by Flexera found that 32% of the cloud budget goes to waste. Another survey by Zesty found that 42% of CIOs/CTOs should consider cloud waste a top challenge. Organizations could contain costs by shutting down unnecessary resources by implementing scripts such as infrastructure as a code (IaC) to optimize when services are running. They can also implement enterprise architecture oversight to minimize waste.
A Final Word on Cloud Migration Implementation
When implementing a cloud migration, ensure that your decisions are based on additional factors other than costs. Are you looking for agility? Is it to reduce technical debt? Perhaps speed-to-market is the objective? Understanding the “why” of migration will be the main criteria for measuring success and that does not always mean cost reduction. Reducing costs can be achieved but it takes more than just the migration of a workload. It takes implementing automation, architecting the workload correctly, and providing controls.
Liberty Advisor Group Will Assist In Your Cloud Migration
Liberty Advisor Group is a goal-oriented, client-focused, and results-driven consulting firm. We are a lean, handpicked team of strategists, technologists, and entrepreneurs – battle-tested experts with a steadfast, start-up attitude. We collaborate, integrate, and ideate in real-time with our clients to deliver situation-specific solutions that work. Liberty Advisor Group has the experience to realize our clients’ highest ambitions. Ready to migrate to the cloud?
Contact Liberty Advisor Group for help.