Cloud migration: creating a strategy for success
Whether it’s a desire to save money, increase flexibility, reduce downtime or simplify IT management processes, there are plenty of reasons why companies migrate to the cloud.
Whether it’s a desire to save money, increase flexibility, reduce downtime or simplify IT management processes, there are plenty of reasons why companies migrate to the cloud. Little wonder then that the percentage of organisations using an external cloud provider’s managed services is expected to reach 60 percent by 2022, up from 30 percent in 2018.
The process has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. When everyone is working from home on-prem IT infrastructure becomes a problem rather than a benefit. According to a 2020 survey, 87 per cent of global IT decision-makers say the pandemic will accelerate cloud migration.
Whatever the driver for cloud migration, businesses need to take the time to get organised and put plans in place. This article explains how.
Why migrate to the cloud?
Your users and the applications they depend on should be the IT team’s primary concern. Maintaining infrastructure and servers is a distraction from that. You want your team focused on tasks that improve revenue, not on plugging-in boxes!
Maintaining a round-the-clock service requires a dedicated team that must be recruited, trained and managed. Even then, the person on-call at any given time may not be an expert in whatever system has a problem. Companies that don’t offer this kind of support are unlikely to have the appetite to start. Those that do, meanwhile, could probably get more value from those staff by deploying them elsewhere.
In contrast, a cloud provider offers 24-7 support for global operations and ensure your users can always reach the right expert when there is a problem. They can provide a better service than firms can for themselves and remove a distraction from the IT team at the same time.
One final benefit of cloud migration is the shift from CAPEX to OPEX spending. This is good news for the CFO but doesn’t directly affect the IT team. There are benefits, however. With CAPEX billing, every new piece of hardware creates a piece of work or an entire project for the IT team. That comes with a cost, because it fills time they cannot spend on their main priorities. If something goes wrong, then it will take even longer.
That isn’t an issue for a cloud provider because they will have the spare resource ready and waiting. It just needs to be added to your service. If there’s a problem, they will deal with it and make sure the new resource is ready for your deadline.
Preparing to migrate
The benefits are clear, so how do you get yourself ready for a cloud migration? The first step is to audit your current infrastructure. Many IT teams do this regularly but it’s common to find organisations that don’t. A cloud provider can do it for you, but they will charge. Doing it yourself is often better because your team has a clearer understanding of the IT estate.
After the audit, you should have clear documentation of how your infrastructure is set up, who uses it and for what, as well as how they will know if it’s broken. The process should help you to refine your objectives for moving to the cloud and will simplify discussions with cloud providers.
The initial panic about just how much has to be migrated often subsides after some housekeeping and a thorough audit. Some redundant servers might have remained on the system because nobody got round to retiring them, for example, 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. There are too many variables to go into detail here, but you will need to consider your particular needs. Public cloud will suit some organisations and private cloud will be better for others. Many will require a hybrid arrangement. Some uses, such as machine learning, will require specialist providers.
Making the move
When your IT is on-prem and a problem arises, it can be tempting 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.
It makes a lot of sense to have a cloud provider handle the migration for you. A specialist like Cloudhelix can build cloud provision that works for you wherever you want it hosted, and select tools that will work across cloud platforms, so your team need only learn them once. This helps you to avoid lock-in. Then we can handle the migration too – and lighten the load on your already busy team.
Cloudhelix is even offering three-to-six months of free cloud services for new clients to help them work around budget freezes and other delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. That means you can deploy the tools you need now and continue to compete in a challenging economy.
The value of cloud migration is clearer than ever for companies all over the world and those who haven’t yet followed them – or who could go further – must be focused on making the right move as soon as possible.
Our specialists have the answer