You’re Ready For The Cloud...Or Are You?
When the cloud beckons, it’s easy to answer the call by trying to move major workloads at rapid-fire pace—especially when senior management is keen on the idea. While the cloud certainly can provide advantages like increased agility and lighter CapEx, cloud readiness is worth examining in closer detail.
As many IT teams have learned, the road to the cloud can often be pitted with potholes. Cloud migration is often more complicated and expensive than it looks, and not every application or infrastructure element will be well-served by cloud migration.
Rather than pursuing a fast migration to the cloud, pause to consider your current cloud readiness. What applications, workflows and infrastructure components are in place today? How often are different systems used? Do you use any older applications that will require significant redevelopment, re-architecting—or replacement—for use in the cloud?
A cloud readiness and strategy assessment will help you better understand what you want to move to the cloud, and why—or why not. By looking at your technology, people and processes from the perspective of cloud readiness, you can head off common pitfalls that have tripped up many cloud migration projects. Further, you will be better be positioned to manage your new environment in whatever form it becomes.
Five pitfalls to avoid on the way to cloud readiness
As your cloud readiness assessment will reveal, you’ll probably need to perform some advance work before migrating workloads. If you want to move your entire data center to the cloud, for instance, you’ll need to virtualize your servers first. If you’re looking to migrate legacy applications, you’ll likely find that some run on operating systems that the major cloud service providers don’t support.
A cloud readiness assessment can help you avoid common pitfalls, including:
1. Underestimating the difficulty. The “lift and shift” approach doesn’t work for every application. Often, it’s best to build new applications rather than redeveloping resources to be compatible with your cloud service.
2. Overlooking cloud governance. Keep cloud strategy from becoming cloud chaos. Incorporating best practices for policy management, account controls, naming standards. A more robust governance establishes rules to control cloud budgets, new applications, and, critically, security.
3. Making security an after-thought. In the race to the cloud, security isn’t always a top priority. Yet, your data in the cloud is only as secure as your security governance. While major public cloud providers offer robust security, they may not cover all your potential risks. Depending on your industry, you may need to pay special attention to data privacy regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, and SOX, which may not be addressed in standard cloud security programs. Here are five questions to ask as you consider migrating to the cloud.
4. Forgetting to manage the change. Moving to the cloud brings change—in your work processes, job roles, and the user experience. You’ll need a plan for controlling your cloud environments to properly provide resources to user groups—or risk underutilizing services and undermining return on investment. Users and IT team members may resist change, too, so training and communication for adoption is critical.
5. Assuming that the cloud costs less. With the explosion of new cloud services and intricate billing models, it can be challenging to avoid surprise costs and vendor lock-in. You’ll need a means of closely assessing real-world usage to avoid paying for more cloud capacity or functionality than you need to achieve your business goals. Working with an experienced cloud partner will help you navigate important questions for potential cloud migration to ensure the best path forward for your organization.
A successful cloud strategy and cloud migration begins with cloud readiness. Once you’ve uncovered issues relating to security, data portability, estimated downtime during migration and other critical issues, you’ll be able to create the cloud strategy and roadmap that will achieve your objectives.