Transitioning to the cloud can be one of the most important steps an organization can take to grow their business and meet their goals. The technology can offer many benefits, such as faster time to market, scalable applications, agility, cost efficiency and more. However, when implemented, many cloud migrations fail because they do not fulfill the needs of the companies. They surpass their budgets, are unable to meet the migration window and cause unexpected and significant disruptions to business operations.
A cloud migration strategy that does not account for the specifics of an organization will not serve it well. Your strategy is only as effective as your understanding of the dynamics of your organization, including its risks and opportunities. Knowing where your organization currently is and what its destination is from financial, operational and competitive standpoints is the start of your journey to the cloud platform. It helps establish a firm foundation on which you can develop a cloud migration strategy that can ensure the best possible outcomes.
Why You Are Migrating?
Identifying the existing challenges your organization is currently facing should include detailed input not only from the IT department, but also from other key employees from other departments and other stakeholders who have a deep understanding of where the company is now and where is should be in the future, allowing you to identify the long-term goals of the organization. Outline the issues they are presented and determine how they can be fixed or improved by cloud technology and which cloud environments and solutions should be used. If appropriate, input from key customers about the services they want moved to the cloud can also be considered.
Know What You Are Moving
Chances are, not all of your applications will be suitable for the cloud platform. Once you identify the objectives for your organization, you should link them to cloud functionalities, which will help you determine which applications should be adopted to the cloud. An audit of your existing infrastructure and a comprehensive workload assessment can highlight the weaknesses and strengths of your current architecture as well as identify all workloads. You should create a map that details all of the components and interdependencies of the organization’s applications and processes. For each application, the following factors should be considered:
- Recovery time objective or recovery point object of the application
- Who are the owners or to which department does the application and infrastructure component belong
- The internal and external compliance, security and regulatory requirements
- Where are the workloads running and how much network capacity are they using
The applications should be prioritized by how essential they are to the function of the organization, allowing you to create a schedule for the migration of the applications. Any modifications that will have to be made to the applications before they are placed on the cloud should also be identified.
Consider the Economics
To create an efficient migration strategy it is important to understand the current investments in on-premises applications and any additional costs that can be incurred during the migration. Storage, cooling, power, IT labor, servers and physical space costs are just some of the costs associated with on-premises data centers. To reduce costs, it will be necessary to plan the migration to correspond with the expiration of maintenance requirements and licenses and the retirement of hardware. There are also other cost factors associated with ensuring the agility and efficiency of the migration, such as:
- Defining new business processes
- Teaching IT staff new skills
- Revamping existing operation processes
There is no one-strategy-fits-all solution for cloud migration. The process that you use to get your organization to the cloud should be as unique as your organization. The effort that you invest in learning your organization and asking the right questions before devising a cloud migration strategy can help you gain a clear understanding of the opportunities challenges and threats facing the organization. Only when you accurately assess all the business, risk and technological considerations will you be able to plot a path to the cloud that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective.