Cloud migration: achieving a smooth transition

nine Team Jan 4, 2018
Cloud migration: achieving a smooth transition

Change, for good or bad, wouldn’t be change if there weren’t some hurdles to overcome to get to the other side. I am interested in how businesses cope with the transition to the cloud, and what difficulties might arise throughout the journey. I want to offer some useful advice in this post, covering which cloud providers might be the best for your business, and which important steps you should take to ensure a stress-free migration.

Why migrate?

Enterprises, whatever their size, want to move to the cloud to increase their agility and decrease the burden on stretched IT resources. Freeing your operations from a static infrastructure can hold numerous benefits, from more cost-efficient IT, to simpler administration.

What are the challenges?

Actually making the move to the cloud is more complex than the physical relocation of data. Firstly, how do you choose which cloud service provider (CSP) is right for your business? Secondly, you need to make sure the service you choose is up-to-date with all the relevant features which are applicable to your needs. Here are some indicators of the challenges you might face during your cloud migration:

  1. Control and security – moving sensitive data to an external environment can be risky and requires intense authorisation. Security comprises one of the biggest management challenges, despite the public cloud providing better security than traditional computing platforms. If managed appropriately, off-site cloud environments can be more secure and better backed-up than those hosted on-site.
  2. Visibility – Measurement tools are crucial for cloud migration: many businesses struggle to keep track of their cloud footprint, especially when the transition takes place over time. Ensure your data remains visible and trackable.
  3. Costs – in the long run, migrating to the cloud enables huge savings. But many businesses fail to monitor their cloud usage and therefore cost monitoring falls flat. Fixed vs. variable costs can add confusion to the mix, but the best service providers tend to be those which offer flexibility between the two.
  4. Expertise – IT staff require a certain level of expertise to manage their services in a cloud environment, and to keep up to speed with the constant advances in cloud technologies.
  5. Performance – choosing the right CSP will help you overcome the performance hurdle. You need the right management tools in place to track performance and ensure that you don’t fall ill to variable vendor performance.

An easy, step-wise transition

Successfully transitioning to the cloud depends on the complexity of the application architecture, the degree of application coupling, and the amount of effort you’re prepared to invest in migration. The phase-driven approach, shown in the diagram below, depicts the popular incremental method most organisations take to cloud migration.

phase-driven transitioning approach by nine

Your new CSP will play a vital role in supporting your future IT and business goals. This is why choosing the best CSP for your organisation is a crucial step towards transitioning to the cloud. To do this, you first need to identify your business needs, and then choose a service provider that surpasses these. You never know when these requirements may grow, and switching CSP can be as difficult as switching energy provider! If a total cloud makeover is daunting, moving to a virtual server can be a good stepping stone, so engaging in honest conversations with providers will help them understand how they can help you. CSPs use different methods of cloud provision: private cloud, community cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud, each of which will suit certain company’s business and security needs.

Workload disruptions can be minimised during the transition phase by integrating data management into the premises-cloud bridge. It may sound obvious, but backing up all your data before the transition is a must. Remember to plan for monitoring and adjusting to your new cloud: which metrics will be used to ensure that expectations have been fulfilled?

Real-life solutions

Wrapping your head around the abundance of CSP choices currently available can be overwhelming, and that’s even if you know what you’re looking for. The challenges are multiplied when you’re unsure of the best provider for your organisation’s unique needs. nine provides advisory and managed services for cloud hosting, allowing you to focus on the core of your business, rather than your IT infrastructure. By using Amazon Web Services (AWS) architecture consulting, you can receive the Managed Amazon Cloud, combined with the best of AWS, with management by nine.

Do you wanna know more about cloud migration? In our whitepaper "Companies in the cloud" you'll learn more about the cloud, its potentials and opportunities as well as its limits. Interested? Here you can download the whitepaper.

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