Moving to the Cloud: some considerations
The reasons why your company wants to move to the Cloud can vary. Maybe your data center is approaching its end-of-life and instead of investing in upgrading or replacing legacy appliances and infrastructure, you would like to decommission the data centers and migrate workloads to the Cloud. It might be that you need to control your costs and moving to the Cloud will help you transition from purchasing physical infrastructure to starting up virtual resources as you need them, i.e. moving from CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) to OPEX (Operational Expenditure). Or the move to the Cloud can position you to keep up with technical innovation, process innovation and competitors. It is called digital transformation.
In any case, it is important to identify the reasons why your company wants to move to the Cloud as it will help everyone get on the same page internally and share the same objective.
Assessing your IT environment
Before considering the move, you need to assess your existing IT environment, including applications, resources and current costs. A Cloud solution might not be an ideal solution for all businesses and scenarios. Some legacy apps which cannot be updated or adapted may not be the best candidate. Do you need a lot of customization for your application? Which infrastructure is used and what is the expected SLA? How much does it cost? What are the current hidden costs like cooling and power of the datacenter, management of the infrastructure, licensing, support, etc. If you do not have the in-house knowledge to do it, it might also be best to select a Cloud partner that will help you transition to the Cloud.
Which Cloud to choose?
Once you have decided to move and you are surrounded by the team that can support you, you must identify the type of Cloud that is best suited to your needs: public, private, hybrid or community Cloud and define the architecture components needed based on the IT assessment you have done before. The next step includes the selection of a Cloud provider that meets your architecture and strategy requirements. You should also take into considerations other aspects like SLA, security, customer service, vendor lock-in, as well as regulatory and geographic variables to make the right decision.
When you move to the Cloud, your risk moves from the datacenter to the connection to the Cloud, whether it be a private or public Cloud. With an on-premise solution, the risks are a failure of the system in the data center or a failure of the connectivity to the outside world. By moving to the Cloud, the system failure risk is transposed to the Cloud provider. Usually the Cloud provider mitigates the risk by having several datacenters and redundancy at different levels like power, cooling, security, etc. Now the main risk will be the connectivity to the Cloud. No connectivity means no services or only partially available services. There are several ways to ensure a good Cloud connectivity like using multiple connections, multiple providers and different types of connection. You can also consider having onsite backup services. Of course, the costs will play an important role in deciding which options to take and also the type of SLA you need.
Cloud can be simple, but Cloud transitions can be complex, costly and confusing. When considering which workloads are best suited for the Cloud, several points and challenges should be considered and addressed proactively before they arise.
What the cloud will do is give you more control over your costs. For small businesses, financing a change in infrastructure is often expensive and difficult. This is one of the main reasons why cloud computing is attractive for them. It allows them to drop the heavy upfront costs of acquiring infrastructure, plus its maintenance, management and support.
Other benefits are that companies no longer need to commit to long term investment, the cost of technology investments is smoothed and unused overhead can be avoided, you can better match the infrastructure to its utilization, which can be cost saving. Also moving software to the Cloud means you can start and stop environments as needed, which gives IT more flexibility.
If the only goal of your company is the cost benefits of cloud computing, you need to make sure to put back performance and SLA in the center of the discussions to avoid situations where entire infrastructure are down because only cost saving was the goal of moving to the Cloud instead of other real benefits.
Now that you have identified your Cloud strategy, assessed your current IT, evaluated the risks, designed the new architecture and calculated the costs, you must define the migration. As simple as that might sound, carrying out such a migration involves huge tasks. The key to a successful migration is preparation.
First define a migration strategy detailing all the tasks, the order of migration, the dependencies and all the procedures and operations performed during the migration. Establish a detailed project plan including a testing phase. Do not forget to establish a contingency plan to list all potential issues you might encounter, how you plan to avoid them, what will be the rollback procedures in case problems cannot be solved immediately. Finally include the business and inform them about the migration plan. Now you’re all set to run the migration, cut-over and go-live.
Are you ready to transform?
Deeper investigation and analysis are required to find which scenario and solution are best suited for your move to the Cloud. It is important to be aware of the issues and challenges to prepare for a smooth transition and increase the chance of success of your project.
Are you ready to transform your IT? Don’t be the last one! Connect with us to see how we can support you when you move to the Cloud.