Today, cloud computing has become vital for businesses to achieve end-to-end digital transformation. After the pandemic especially, more and more businesses have accelerated their move to the cloud. New advances in cloud computing are, in fact, helping businesses around the world reopen, reinvent, and outrun uncertainty. Migrating their data, applications, and operations to the cloud is an increasing demand among businesses. However, surveys have shown that up to 30% of cloud migrations fail because companies tend to neglect a few crucial issues for the process to be successful. In this article, we briefly understand cloud migration mistakes and then look at the 13 most common mistakes made in cloud migration projects, along with their potential solutions.
Cloud Migration refers to moving an organization’s digital assets, database, services, IT resources, and applications—either partially or completely—to the cloud infrastructure. Cloud migration can also be defined as moving from one cloud to another. It is the shift from traditional business operations to digital ones.
The cloud, short for cloud computing, is a pool of computer services accessed over the internet and allows the storage of data on massive data centers worldwide. Some popular public cloud service providers are AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
One of the biggest reasons businesses migrate to the cloud is that it gives you virtually limitless computer resources. Some other benefits of cloud migration are mentioned below:
Flexibility: Organisations experience different demand levels at different times. Running an app on the cloud infrastructure allows businesses to scale up/down to meet the demand, thereby applying only the needed resources.
Scalability: Cloud computing allows businesses to scale to support larger workloads by enhancing the existing infrastructure allowing apps the space to grow without impacting work.
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Agility: Apps must remain elastic enough to respond to rapid modifications within tech resources. Running apps on the cloud decreases the time needed for procuring new storage and inventory, allowing faster updates and responses.
Security: The clouds facilitate security by centrally storing data. Most cloud providers offer built-in aspects such as cross-enterprise visibility, security analytics, periodic updates, etc., to ensure data security.
Productivity: Cloud service providers take care of the infrastructure complexities allowing businesses time to focus on productivity.
Profitability: Cloud computing models typically work on a pay-per-use model, meaning businesses are not required to pay for resources they aren’t using. Organizations also don’t have to invest in training, maintaining, making, and updating space for multiple physical servers.
Businesses today can choose from at least 4 different cloud scenarios:
There are at least 4 ways organizations can migrate to the cloud.
Rehosting: Also called the lift-and-shift approach, this is the most generally used way of cloud migration. It holds a business application and then drops it into the new hosting platform without changing the app’s code or architecture.
Re-platforming: Also called lift-tinker-and-shift, this approach includes optimizing an app for the cloud without changing its core architecture. This strategy is most suited for organizations that are either unprepared for configuration and expansion or wish to improve trust within the cloud.
Refactoring: Refers to rebuilding our applications to include cloud-native abilities. Being one of the most expensive and time-consuming approaches, it has a potential disadvantage of a vendor lock-in since it does not allow organizations to perform auto-scaling or serverless computing. It is also future-proof and allows organizations to benefit from standard cloud features.
Re-purchasing: Defines replacing the existing application(s) with a new Software-as-a-Service and cloud-native platform. The organization does not redevelop its own native app from scratch but migrates to a third-party, prebuilt application provided by the vendor instead.
Businesses and IT leaders around the globe are replacing legacy tech with cost-effective, flexible, and scalable computing power in the cloud. But why? In this section, we highlight the 8 main reasons organizations choose to migrate to the cloud.
Reducing IT costs: Migrating to the cloud allows businesses to cut wasteful spending. Instead of estimating capacity needs in advance, businesses can adjust as they go while eliminating unnecessary hardware.
Improving Security: Cloud computing allows organizations to modernize their IT infrastructure and protect their apps from hackers.
Consolidate Data Centres: Organisations can say goodbye to managing their own on-premises data centers by outsourcing backend responsibilities to third-party cloud providers and reallocating resources to better-yielding opportunities.
Accelerate Growth: Cloud organizations can easily integrate new acquisitions into existing platforms. Moreover, auto-scaling functionality and flexible data management services allow businesses to scale rapidly.
Enable Digital Transformation: With the recent advances in cloud computing, businesses can digitize core functionality, increase workforce productivity, innovate, and unlock new revenue sources.
Eliminate End-of-Life Concerns: The cloud bypasses the issue of having to deal with rigid licensing agreements. Cloud computing gives enterprises the freedom to pay for important cloud capabilities and benefit from the updates as they become available. Businesses can access the recent-most technology without having to sign any long-term contracts.
Leverage New Technologies: Migrating to the cloud comes with virtually endless opportunities for businesses. For instance, organizations can take advantage of AI and Machine Learning—something that would not be feasible on the premises.
Increase Business Agility: Access to flexible, on-demand IT resources allow businesses to keep up with rapidly changing dynamics. Businesses don’t need to wait for weeks or months for hardware installations. They can lease whatever the cloud providers need and get to the market quickly.
Most organizations think migrating all the data to a cloud at once may be the quickest way. However, more often than not, it’s obvious. Doing so is both an organizational and technological challenge. It is recommended that enterprises start their cloud migration process with smaller chunks of data and apps. However tempting it may be, moving your entire infrastructure at once will only increase your costs. Cloud migration can take months or years, depending on the amount of data, applications, and infrastructure.
Keeping this in mind, cloud migration should be done in stages—starting with non-essential data and gradually moving to more sensitive data. Enterprises should also remember that migrating all the data to the cloud is not mandatory. Some sensitive and highly confidential data can, and should ideally be, stored in on-premises systems.
All cloud environments are built differently. Every cloud service provider has his/her own specifications, usually in the form of different architecture, infrastructure, and applications. When choosing between cloud service providers, enterprises should learn all the differences and evaluate them against the enterprise’s needs.
While some data and apps are ready for migration immediately, they will need adjustments to be truly compatible with the cloud infrastructure. Enterprises may have to replace some apps with a cloud-ready solution, while others may need to rebuild with cloud-native features. Even in the lift-and-shift approach, certain changes in configuration and monitoring will be necessary to ensure that the app is working smoothly. It is recommended that businesses assess their infrastructure before starting cloud migration. This helps avoid potential roadblocks and manage costs.
Enterprises shouldn’t just migrate for the sake of it. Businesses must consider the data, workflows, and/or apps that will benefit, if at all, from migration. Cloud computing has proven effective for many businesses, but not every organization, operation, or data fits the cloud. In addition to all the amazing benefits it provides, cloud computing comes with challenges.
Privacy is a big concern in cloud computing; you may be just one misconfiguration away from exposing your data to malicious parties. The price factor should also be taken into consideration. Though cloud computing is appreciated as a cost-effective alternative, in some cases (such as re-writing in-house developed software for the cloud), the costs may rack up. Sometimes, vendor lock-in issues arise, and over-dependence on one provider may cause more complexities than convenience to businesses.
As mentioned in the above paragraph, privacy is a big concern in cloud computing. On-premise infrastructure actually gives businesses complete control over their digital assets. With cloud computing, the control usually rests with the service providers. That is why enterprises need to check how their provider defines security and what measures are taken to protect data against breaches.
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Misconfigurations, exposure of dev, staging environments, and lack of IAM are some of the many security risks that stare cloud computing in the face. The cloud migration process is highly vulnerable, especially when large amounts of sensitive data are moved without proper security measures. Encrypting all the data (in transit and at rest), implementing required security controls and configurations, employing multi-factor authentication, and isolating individual workloads are ways enterprises can ensure data privacy during the cloud migration process.
The process of cloud migration can be a costly one. Businesses considering cloud migration must factor in the estimated budget required for the move. This can be done by taking into account issues such as:
Because every migration project is unique, businesses should carefully estimate the costs and timeline.
To have a cloud migration that aligns with your company’s strategy, you need an experienced team with the essential knowledge to avoid cloud migration mistakes. Implementation teams bring a combination of managerial skills and knowledge of the cloud environment, which helps businesses take care of maintenance activities, problem-solving, knowledge sharing, and optimization.
Another expert of gearing on expertise is training the organization’s staff to handle the new use of technology. Untrained employees can translate to unintentional misconfigurations and data leaks with irrevocable consequences. It should be noted that staff training concerning the cloud should be an ongoing, engaging process, including working with the cloud itself.
Infrastructure as Code, or IaC, is one of the most fundamental ways of optimizing and automating infrastructure provisioning and maintenance. Applying the IaC approach increases a business’s scalability potential and gives them cost control.
Businesses need to take on a global approach to cloud migration. How you conduct your cloud migration will affect company operations on multiple levels. A cloud migration strategy is never a one-size-fits-all affair. Therefore, doing due diligence to find the most effective way to migrate your infrastructure to the cloud is crucial.
The cloud migration roadmap can be developed only after considering your infrastructure’s size, need, and complexity. The first step would be to analyze your present work environment and work out cloud server requirements accordingly. Next, you should decide on the cloud model you want to adopt. Enterprises should always remember to not act too quickly. Setting up a solid foundation is important to ensure that your infrastructure continues optimally even after migration.
It is a given that as an app continues to grow and develop, it will need upgrades. In the case of on-premise infrastructure, enterprises have to switch off their software, upgrade it, and then switch it on again. This causes the users to lose access to an enterprise’s services. However, a wholesome upgrade policy for cloud solutions includes an approach that allows you to upgrade your apps with zero downtime. Therefore, it is recommended that enterprises ditch non-cloud upgrade policies and adopt the cloud-based policies most suited to them.
This is perhaps the most common mistake made in cloud migration. Starting the process with confidential and business-critical data can get way too risky in case some error occurs during the process. The recommendation, thus, is to take care of non-critical data and operations first. It allows you to keep your data safe and gives you time to get acquainted with the service you’ve hired.
One of the big cloud migration mistakes is the unrealistic expectation businesses often have for everything to work perfectly right after the migration. Businesses must observe and analyze processes and applications and reconfigure things when required. Some apps do not work the same after moving to the cloud. Teams must test their apps concerning the cloud infrastructure they’re migrating to ensure everything works properly.
Businesses need to remember that cloud computing is made possible by physical servers worldwide. The geographical distance between your device(s) and your chosen service provider may cause unwanted latency in accessing apps, databases, and services.
One solution for unwanted latency is working with cloud service providers with servers and data centers close(r) to your location. Sometimes, working with a hybrid cloud model helps keep latency issues in check. Furthermore, using APM (application performance monitoring) tools can help you identify whether latency is occurring on the network or the app itself, thus helping you make informed decisions.
Cloud migration seems to offer many benefits to businesses across all industries. With more and more companies transitioning to the cloud, migrations will only increase. However, enterprises must remember that it is a complex process, and overlooking even tiny cloud migration mistakes can prove destructive. Businesses need the right combination of processes, technology, and expertise to migrate to the cloud successfully.
The best way is to hire a team of professionals with the required expertise, resources, and knowledge to complete the cloud migration process for your business with zero to minimize complications.
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