blog October 28, 2021  |  Core

Cloud Migration Strategy: How to Prep for Success

Type
blog
Service
Core
Author
Jake Story
Date
October 2021

Companies migrate to the cloud for a whole host of reasons. There are big, board-level directives like digital transformation and remaining competitive. Then there are more granular, IT-focused reasons like reducing the risk of downtime and streamlining IT management.  

That’s just scratching the surface but, whatever the driver, companies with a cloud migration on the horizon need to get organised internally to ensure a smooth project. This article explains how to put the plans in place. 

Why migrate to the cloud?

Your users and the applications they depend on should be your IT team’s primary concern. Ideally, they should be focused on projects that improve revenue and facilitate growth – with this in mind, maintaining servers and infrastructure is a distraction from value generation. 

Maintaining an around-the-clock service requires a dedicated team that must be recruited, trained, managed and retained. Even then, the person on-call at any given time won’t be an expert in every technology, and that’s assuming you’ve got enough manpower to cover a rota. Since it’s expensive and difficult to get right, companies that don’t manage their own infrastructure are unlikely to want to start. Those that already do can get more value out of their people by utilising them better. 

In contrast, a cloud provider can offer 24x7 managed services and support. This safeguards global operations and ensures your team has access to on-tap expertise as needed. A cloud provider’s entire business is built around supporting cloud platforms, so they can offer a better level of service than an internal team while removing the management distraction at the same time. 

Another benefit of a cloud migration is the shift from CAPEX to OPEX spending. This is good news for the CFO but on the surface doesn’t sound like it directly affects the IT team. With CAPEX, every new piece of hardware creates work for the team. That comes at a cost because it takes up precious time your team can’t spend on more pressing priorities.  

This isn’t an issue for a cloud provider, who will have a large and diverse set of engineers ready and waiting. Even if there was a delay or a problem, it’s their issue to fix, leaving your team to focus on those projects that really move the needle. 

Preparing for a cloud migration

So you’ve heard the benefits before, but how do you get ready for a migration? The first step is to audit your current infrastructure. A cloud provider can do this for you but doing it internally can provide an opportunity for your team to understand the IT estate better.  

After the audit, you will have clearly documented your infrastructure, how it’s set up, who uses what and who is responsible for the different elements. If you don’t have this already, it’s also useful to collate answers for simple questions like “how do we know if this service is broken?” and “what steps do we take when it does break?”. This process will help you refine and stress test why you’re moving the cloud, and will also enable you to have better discussions with cloud providers you may outsource the migration project to. 

After this housekeeping exercise, you’ll have a better understanding of your needs and may even find there’s less to be migrated than you first though. For example, certain servers might just be sat there because no one got round to retiring them, while others could be consolidated. Once in the cloud, you will pay for everything you use, so simplification at this stage will save money later. 

Now you have a clear idea of what you are looking for, you need to find a provider to support the migration. There are too many variables to cover in this blog but think about how the skillset of the provider aligns with your project. There are public cloud specialists and there are those with their own multi-tenanted environments – both offer a different proposition and approach. Some use cases, for example, if there’s a BI or ML element, may require specialist input.

making the move

When your infrastructure is on-prem and a problem arises, it can be easy to get into the habit of throwing more memory at a problem. With a consumption-based cloud model, solving a problem that way will be expensive. Instead, you need to properly evaluate the problem and whether you have the skills or even the time to deal with it. 

The same question arises when it comes to migrating to the cloud. You can handle the migration yourself, but do you have the skills and the capacity, plus contingency if something goes wrong? Is it the most valuable use of your IT team’s time and what tasks will be delayed while they work on this? 

The best-case scenario is that users don’t notice the difference. But if the service degrades, even slightly, they will complain. Your IT team could work all weekend on the migration and then come in on Monday to find a long list of demoralising complaints. 

More often than not, it just makes sense to have a cloud provider handle a migration for you. At Ekco, we’ve performed hundreds of migrations and offer a flexible approach that factors in your target location, platform and tools to ensure a seamless transition that works for your team while helping you avoid lock-in. We’ll then take care of the hands-on project too, to lighten the load on your already busy team. 

To sum up, a cloud migration is a big ask for your IT team on top of day-to-day delivery. Putting in the groundwork yourself can help clarify your needs and improve your understanding of your infrastructure. More holistically, consider where your precious IT resources can have the most impact and question whether that’s managing servers. 

Got a migration on the cards? Chat with our cloud experts today and get free, impartial advice that will help to define or improve your scope. Get in touch today. 

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