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Moving to the cloud is sought after these days. As technologies have matured to ease migration pains, the rush to the cloud has entered a new chapter, enabled by the COVID-19 crisis.
If you are still not sure whether to embrace the cloud, you were already behind 90% of companies worldwide even before the pandemic. The limitations placed by the crisis on in-person interactions have only accelerated cloud plans. Every enterprise has its own reason to get rid of on-premises hardware, from cost savings, scalability, better performance, or security to enhanced social distancing, a new priority on the list.
It is no longer a question of why companies are moving to the cloud. Rather, it is a question of how to deal with cloud migration challenges and make your project a success. The sad truth is, one-third of cloud deployments fail. Sometimes utterly. Like it was with UK-based bank TSB.
Make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes.
We’ve compiled tips and insights drawn from our extensive cloud deployment expertise and global best practices on how to avoid them. Dive in!
Basically, there are three strategies for going to the cloud:
Lift and shift.
This strategy, also known as rehosting, is about moving an application to the cloud as it is without code or architecture adjustments (and often moving all the problems along too). It’s simple. On the downside, you don’t realize the full benefits of cloud capabilities.
This approach involves slight code tweaking to optimize your application for the cloud. For example, you can modify interactions with the database to take advantage of automation or add new features for better scaling.
Refactoring / Rearchiteruing.
This is a more complex approach that involves serious changes in the code or architecture to benefit from the flexibility and elasticity that come with the cloud. Such changes imply a complete redesign of your systems, such as transforming a legacy architecture into independent microservices, to give you the agility you are after.
As with all things in IT, it depends which option is right for you. Leading companies use a combination of them and even, wisely enough, choose to keep some applications or data on-premises.
Replacing physical machines on the enterprise’s side, the cloud reduces infrastructure costs and IT management efforts. Easy scalability for data storage or processing power through virtualization is another why companies move to the cloud. The cloud also provides elasticity thanks to its ability to grow or shrink automatically in response to demand changes, like a Black Friday spike in web traffic.
However, not all cloud deployments deliver on these transformative promises. Some companies see their systems hit performance issues post-migration. Some see costs multiply. Many even move back to on-prem infrastructure.
The top challenges in moving to the cloud are strategic, boiling down to making the right decisions, lack of business vision. Peer pressure is increasing, with businesses getting swept up by the transformative power of the cloud. But cloud migration is not a fad, and keeping up with the Joneses or just ticking the box is not a strategy.
A bad strategy is also doing this when IT says that redesigning and moving systems to the cloud can potentially save costs, and management decides that they should go to the cloud immediately, hearing “lower costs.” Before the shift, it is necessary to consider a number of things.
Critical questions for your business case:
Cloud deployment projects often go awry because of the wrong migration approach. Not all applications are created equal, meaning that some of them do not belong to the cloud in the first place, while others – which, for instance, require high-volume transactional databases — can hold unpleasant performance surprises after the migration.
Not allocating sufficient time to get a thorough picture of your infrastructure, how your apps communicate with each other, and how they will function in a cloud environment is also a recipe for disaster. Setting overly tough deadlines without leaving room for proper testing and migration process optimization is not a good idea either. You will risk a lot of mistakes translating into higher implementation costs and delays.
The questions to answer when planning your project:
Competition for cloud experts has skyrocketed, as increasingly more companies are looking to migrate to the cloud. According to Gartner, more than 60% of senior executives cite a talent shortage as one of their organization’s major concerns.
You can roll out internal training programs or look for outside expert assistance, which can significantly improve your cloud adoption, but anyway make sure that you have cloud pros on your team to take full advantage of the benefits of moving to the cloud. You don’t want to end up with limited scalability or other missed cloud opportunities, right? A successful cloud deployment requires both highly specific cloud expertise and knowledge of old technologies.
We sat down with our cloud experts Alexey Zhadov and Michael Pranovich who have successfully completed dozens of migration projects to discuss their experience. Cloud deployment is seldom an easy task, but it is riskier to delay the shift accumulating technical debt, they say.
Cloud adoption is already mainstream. Your cloud project can be pretty straightforward or incredibly complex. No matter the complexity, you should be very clear about what you want to achieve and what is involved. The cloud enables great agility, so make sure to take advantage of it or partner with someone who can help.
If you have more questions about how to move the cloud successfully or are not sure how to get started, feel free to contact our cloud experts.
Previously published here.
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