Cloud Migration Objectives, Challenges and best Approaches

Migrating applications and data to the cloud platforms provide a wide range of opportunities. The benefits range from flexibility and lower operational costs to scalability, security, and global access. It provides organizations with the ability to access and manage their applications and workloads much better than when using on-premise data centers.

The platform is generally appealing to a wide range of organizations. However, the main drivers may vary depending on the current infrastructure and objectives.

Generally, the cloud is suitable for organizations looking for;

  • Cost-effective, secure, scalable, and efficient Infrastructures that easily and quickly adapt to dynamic workloads.
  • Ways to reduce operational costs, expensive hardware upgrades, large on-premise datacenter footprint, highly skilled IT maintenance staff.
  • Support for the geographically-distributed workforce, mobile device users and teleworkers
  • Reliable and fast backup and disaster recovery solutions
  • The platform that supports office-based and mobile workforce as well as different geographical locations.

Other than the performance improvements, the cloud platform offers an infrastructure with a predictable expense. Although moving applications and data to the cloud seem like a straightforward process, the differences in the two environments may lead to some issues. Organizations may face challenges unique to their environment, requirements, and goals.

Challenges organizations face when migrating to the cloud

Lack of in house skills or expertise, inadequate planning, high bandwidth costs, complex processes, and bad practices often result in poor performance, lengthy downtimes and inability to access some files and services.

Challenges that companies without skills struggle with when migrating include;

  • Determining the requirements for the migration, such as the scale, cost, speed and time when dealing with a large number of applications and huge amounts of data.
  • Lack of adequate knowledge about the application dependencies, components, and other complexities
  • Determining the best migration approach for specific applications or data
  • Establishing the best sequence and execution of the migration processes
  • Migrating the critical applications with zero downtime

A recent survey by Velostrata established that about 95 percent of respondents from different industries had completed, was in the process, or considering migrating to the cloud. Out of these, over 40 percent have or were facing challenges such as over budget, running behind schedule and other issues.

Satisfaction levels

Despite the budget overruns, exceeding timelines and other challenges, most of the cloud migration projects achieve favorable satisfaction levels and overall successes.

About 59 % migrated on budget and time while meeting all the business objectives. Also, 33 percent of businesses, despite the budget or time overruns, were able to achieve all their migration objectives. However, the remaining 8 percent were unsuccessful and the cloud did not satisfy their business needs.

Lack of skills

Another cloud migration survey reveals that a lack of skills and expertise is one of the major challenges. Over 40 % of surveyed organizations cite lack of internal skills while those with a larger number of servers fear the technology adoption complexities.

Finding the staff or professionals with the right skills to provide an efficient cloud migration plan and execution roadmap is often a challenge. To address this, most organizations rely on a combination of their internal teams and experienced external cloud migration experts.

A typical approach for a successful cloud migration

The project starts by first understanding the needs and objectives of your organization. From here,  an internal or service provider team will need to find out the best way to achieve the organization’s goals, overcome the challenges and provide the best cost-effective solution.

Most often the migration experts will use different approaches based on a client’s requirements. However, the experts should work with all the relevant teams from the in order to;

  • Define the organization’s specific objectives
  • Evaluate the organization existing system, applications and data to migrate
  • Assist with migration and financial planning
  • Come up with estimates for the proposed solution
  • Develop a clear technology and execution roadmap
  • Strategize and implement measures to address the data safety, backups, compliance, security, disaster recovery and more.

Conclusion

Migrating critical workloads and data requires proper planning and execution. Generally, the migration projects require careful analysis and understanding of the organization’s needs and objectives, and this enables the teams to come up with a workable solution.

The next phase involves proper planning and execution of the migration while addressing any challenge within the shortest time possible. Ideally, the migration should be flawless with little or no zero downtime – depending on the workload.

Finally, the organization must ensure the security of the applications, data, and accounts both during transit and in storage. Other considerations include backing up all critical applications, data and configuration files. In addition, it is important to deploy a reliable disaster recovery solution.