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Mission-critical migration just like an 'Extreme Makeover'
Mon, 21st Jan 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

If you've ever watched a home renovation program, you've probably marvelled at the complete makeover that (allegedly) takes less time than it would take you just to clean out the clutter at your place.

When it comes to making your mission-critical migration to the cloud, the contrast between the expectation and reality can be just as stark.

Cloud migration is a different experience than cloud adoption – like the difference between renovating an existing house and building a new one on an empty block of land – but too often they get spoken about and approached interchangeably.

When we do, we risk making the migration harder than it should be. Or worse, erode the benefits that were supposed to be gained from going to the cloud in the first place, such as cost savings.

There's not yet a reality TV show dedicated to poor outcomes on cloud migration, but perhaps there should be. Like home renovation shows there are plenty of stories about jobs taking much longer than expected and blown budgets.

Such complications may deter some from making the migration, but the risks of inactivity are far greater. This is not about, say, being stuck with old-fashioned beige minimalist décor in your house. Without the right migration, your organisation can't make its digital transformation, imperilling its future.

Real world behaviour bears this out. Research by Forrester shows that 65 percent of IT decision makers are moving their mission-critical applications to the cloud. They cite operational efficiency, revenue growth and the need to respond to change as their main motivators.

The key to mission-critical migration is having a clear view of what you're doing, so you can avoid the common errors. During the planning, you need to ask yourself the following:

What's the right way to progress?

You don't always need to go all-in with mass migration, often it makes more sense to go on an app-by-app basis.

This doesn't mean moving apps indiscriminately, but laying out a blueprint, getting the quick wins and experience to inform the next migration.

It's also likely that approaches will be different for various apps. Some you can lift and shift to the cloud, others require a hybrid extension, a SaaS replacement or a complete rewrite.

Besides, as most organisations opt for multi-cloud to ensure they are getting the right tools for each job, moving everything at once is unnecessary.

Do you have a clear picture of all the costs?

Just like that renovation at home, if you don't consider all your expenditure, it's hard to make informed decisions.

Expenses you need to factor in include the cost of application rewrites, data transfer and attracting the right migration skillset.

Then, once you're up and running, unused or improperly configured instances can add to your bills. Having the right management system that's unified and cloud-agnostic gives you better control over resourcing.

Are there potential performance hits?

Without adequate planning, issues with performance are another common risk. Much of it stems from getting cloud and on-premises applications to play nicely.

Otherwise, you risk things such as latency as you move from one environment to the other, or legacy applications that are architecturally incompatible with the cloud.

Geographic proximity to the cloud also needs to be considered to avoid lags when moving between on-premise and the cloud.

Is the data locked down the whole way?

Sure, your cloud provider takes on security obligations, but the onus remains on you, not only to ensure you have the right level of security for the needs of your most mission-critical workloads, but also protects your data as it moves throughout your environment.

Do I have the right partner?

With projects as big as this, you don't want someone who only sells you a product, any more than you'd want someone to just supply the lumber and bricks for your renovation.

You need a partner who can bring their expertise to your big picture and provide you with the solution and guidance you need to get there.

Like a big renovation, making a mission-critical migration is a project that requires planning and a trusted partner that can guide you through the challenges and pitfalls to get the results that sets you up with something that makes life better not just now, but years into the future.

Click here to find out more about cloud migration.