The clouds have been building for some time now, and it is difficult to ignore them at this point. Cloud computing seems to be the direction many companies are moving. To cloud or not to cloud is the question that many organizations are currently facing. While on-premises data center technology isn’t necessarily on the brink of extinction, cloud computing is a relatively new option with many benefits, including scalability, agility and cost efficiency.
For organizations, it’s like a gym membership rather than their personal gym. They pay for membership and can expect a host of additional facilities at lower cost that they are ready to share with others.
Moving enterprise data and applications outside the firewall and into the cloud is no small feat. To ensure everyone within an organization is on the same page, cloud migrations typically require an in-depth sales pitch that covers costs, tools, security, governance and talent, among other considerations.
Migrating an enterprise’s data and applications to the cloud includes a laundry list of considerations – from tools to costs to security. Before taking that leap there are many points to be consider. To craft a successful cloud migration strategy, here are some of the Do’s that should be on your checklist.
Understand How Cloud costing works
Cloud computing contracts offer on-demand computing that enables organizations to expand and reduce the amount of computing resources they require in an automated manner. Cloud-based pricing models may not scale down on lower usage due to the structure of the agreement. Unlike on-premise applications, which are paid for upfront, there is a risk that prices may increase unpredictably in the future.
Not all cloud-based solutions follow a pay-as-you-use costing structure. First, organizations need to recognize the type of cloud services they are paying for. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) does not work in the same way as Software as a Service (Saas). The commoditized nature of IaaS lends itself to expansion and contraction. Although SaaS theoretically can work in the same manner, in practice it works differently due to the way SaaS provider’s structure their contracts.
Additionally, make sure to model real-life scenarios and look for special charges applied based on geography, backup storage, consumed bandwidth, API calls, and more.
Should I Go Public, Private or Hybrid?
Application and cost considerations weigh heavily on organizations contemplating a data center migration to the cloud. But choosing the right cloud environment is just as important. And while public, private and hybrid clouds all have benefits, determining which model best meets their needs is an important step on the cloud migration path.
Public clouds, such as those from Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google, provide a highly scalable environment with a pay-per-usage model — but there’s a flip side. Due to lack of control and multi-tenancy, highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and financial services, are poor fits for the public cloud.
Private clouds offer more control in an on-premises environment, but management falls upon the organization’s shoulders. Unlike public cloud users, private cloud users are responsible for security, performance monitoring and more. And although a hybrid cloud offers the best of both cloud worlds — a mixture of private and public cloud services with orchestration between them — performance issues like latency and dependency can still arise.
Assess all the Integration challenges
Organizations needs to put in the effort and resources required to integrate the new cloud application, both with on-premise software and other applications residing in the cloud.
Data management and conversion
Few organization noted it had significant issues getting data converted into a format usable by the cloud-based application. Organizations must have a detailed understanding of the data requirements of the cloud-based application, how the application will interface and exchange data with existing applications, and how they will migrate the data from the legacy application to the cloud-based application in a valid, complete and accurate manner.
When implementing a cloud-based application it can be a challenge to ensure that information security and access management controls are applied to the cloud application. Specifically, organizations that use physical security devices to authenticate systems will have difficulties in implementing such controls.
Organizations should ensure that the single sign-on (SSO) access management is implemented in the cloud. Specifically, organizations need to understand how employees can seamlessly access the various cloud-based applications using their existing access management protocol.
Data Security and Control
To be in compliance with internal policies and external regulations (e.g., privacy laws, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), it is critical to know in advance how data will be secured. Also, it should be understood in which country the data will reside, since different countries have specific regulations that the CSPs must abide by. See the Appendix for more details.
Is Cloud Migration right for my Organization?
Yes, this has to be one of the most important things. Once you’ve considered your data, costs, security and the challenges of cloud-to-cloud migrations, it’s time to come up with a migration game plan. One important aspect of this plan is deciding what to do with leftover on-premises technology. In some cases, an enterprise can repurpose hardware to avoid letting it simply collect dust.
Organizations also need to determine migration timeframes for their data and applications. While some choose to migrate everything to the cloud all at once, this can be a challenging and risky proposition. It’s often more effective to break the migration down by workload, starting with less critical applications.
After taking all of these factors into consideration, determine whether a cloud migration is your best option.
Every day, organizations are successfully adopting cloud services and breathing new life into their IT portfolio by migrating applications to a more agile environment. Cloud can be simple, but it is not always a piece of cake. There are several points that should be considered before moving to it. Do not worry; vendors are getting better and better at meeting your needs. A support constraint can potentially be fixed in a few months and change things.