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Cloud_Migrations

Cloud Migration: The Unanticipated Delays Faced by Enterprises

Organizations consider migration to the cloud for obvious reasons- its low investment risks and operational benefits of scalability, agility, access, and reliability. However, the enterprises make the mistake of thinking that they can manage the migration process on their own.

Migrating applications to the cloud can be trickier than you anticipate. This only results in frequent interruptions in service, intolerable delays, downtime, and overshooting the allocated budget. These types of projects require expertise and proper preparation. Sadly, very few are successful in completing the projects as originally planned.

Velostrata announced recent research studies, conducted by Dimensional Research. Around 208 IT professionals representing industries of different sizes had participated in the survey. About 75% of them admitted that the migration was not only delayed by over a year and it was becoming difficult to control the budget as well.

An enterprise could come across when implementing a migration plan many problems. These include

1. Taking longer than anticipated:

This is by far the most common problem businesses face. It has its impact on meeting the scheduled deadline. Reasons could be anything- a senior staff handling the project quitting, facing issues in coding and restructuring of some application, inadequate testing, or some internal application issues needing emergency attention from the in-house experts, which have put the migration process on temporary standstill.

2. Finding it more complex than expected:

About 60 % of the surveyed professionals reported that they did not anticipate the cloud migration to be so complicated. This again is primarily due to lack of expertise and skills. Some failed outright which caused revenue losses and waste of time as well as resources.

3. Incompetency in adjustment:

The leading cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud require a different type of proficiency. These cloud giants keep adding new technologies or upgrade frequently making it near to impossible for the in-house experts to cope up with the pressure.

4. It doesn’t work as expected:

This happens always more so with the mid-market businesses. The decision takers made wrong calculations. Either they did not completely understand the new system, expecting things to move faster than possible, or they hoped it would work one way only to find later that they made a wrong estimation.

Read More: Portfolio and Discovery as Drivers of Successful Cloud Migration

5.  Inaccurate estimation of costs:

Overshooting the estimations and budget assessment is another major challenge that was reported by the professionals that had contributed to the survey. The mistake made is incorrectly estimating the cost of service. The calculations go wrong when it comes to expanding over a period of a month or year.

6. People and process:

The biggest challenge sometimes is their employees. The small new companies are all geared up for innovation. The problems come with the old companies that are habituated to the traditional legacy systems and applications. A disinterested project manager can pull down the enthusiasm of the entire team.  Disinterest in the project leads to losing control over everything- the schedule, budget etc. It requires dedication and skills to coordinate and work in harmony.

7. Security strategies

Yet another big challenge is transforming the security posture to the cloud environment.  It will be wrong thinking to assume the cloud provider will manage all the security features. The cybercriminals hover around the internet to look for the smallest loophole and can wreck your complete business. The not so recent D-DoS attacks and the Ransomware attacks are a few experiences organizations will not forget easily.

There could be many more such unforeseen challenges that could be specific to a business or an industry. A welcome news from the Dimensional Research and Velostrata survey is that majority of the participants have appreciated the services of the cloud partners.

While it is clear the big three -Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, dominate the cloud and Google Cloud, choosing the right service partner will play a major role in the migration process to the cloud.

The cloud hosting service providers or managed cloud partners as they are called can assist an organization in choosing the right cloud platform for each of their applications. Multicloud strategy as it is termed can help an organization utilize and build a cloud stack. This will enable them to explore and utilize the service that will work best for their needs. Adopting a multicloud technique will save time and resources in modifying existing applications by using compatible technologies. The partner role in implementing the security in the cloud environment can be more reliable and effective than what an organization could do to manage on their own.

Cloud migration is not a simple task. It needs strategic thinking everywhere right from the time of planning, preparing the staff, which applications are cloud-ready, what needs modifications, what technologies to adopt, and the right costings. The first step is to choose a cloud migration partner service to support their move to the cloud.

Migrating to the Cloud

Top Ten Things to Consider When Migrating to the Cloud

There have been instances when migrations to the cloud have not happened seamlessly. Some companies have actually struggled to migrate their data and operations to the cloud. However, the teams, which experienced such roadblocks, have learnt from their lessons in the past and worked to make things smoother for future migrations.

These are some of the guidelines which may help you go through this process without challenges:

1. To start with, you need to chalk out the role of an architect who will lead this migration procedure from start to finish. The person holding this position will be responsible for the planning and completion of all stages of migration. The key focus should be to define the refactoring needed to make the process successful and smooth. In short, the architect will have to design strategies for the migration, identify public cloud solution needs and determine migration priorities.

2. Before you start the migration process you must also decide whether you wish to opt for a single or a multi-cloud environment. When you want the applications to run in a specific cloud vendor environment, migration is rather easy. The development teams will have to learn only one set of the cloud APIs; the only drawback is that of vendor lock-in. This is because once you have updated an app to make it work with one provider, moving it to another provider becomes difficult. Moreover, when you just work with one cloud vendor, it can also affect your powers to negotiate with the provider on important terms like SLAs and costs. When you decide to go for multiple cloud providers, there are many models to choose from. The simplest form is where there is a set of apps with one provider and another set of apps with another provider. You can also distribute your apps amongst the different cloud providers; so some companies will run parts of their apps in one provider while they run other parts in another cloud hosting provider.

3. Thirdly, it is important to choose the level of integration you want; you could choose either deep cloud integration or shallow cloud integration. For the latter you shift the on-site applications and make very limited changes or no changes to servers for running apps. There is no use of any unique services and all application changes are only to get this app to run properly in the cloud. This is basically called a lift-and-shift model where apps are shifted intact to the cloud. The deep cloud integration, on the other hand, is where apps have to be modified so as to use the cloud features to one’s advantage.

4. You should also gather KPIs or Key Performance Indicators which are essentially metrics which you get about any service or application. These help you to understand how the app or service is performing as against your expectations. So, the best KPIs will tell you how well the migration is moving and it will show you the problems which are still there in the app.

5. Base lining refers to a process for calculating the existing or pre-migration performance of an app to see if the future or post-migration performance will be acceptable. It will also tell you when the migration is over. You may use this procedure for diagnosing problems which may surface during a migration. For instance, you can set baseline metrics for every KPI. When you select a short baseline period, you can move quickly but there are risks of not being able to get representative performance sample. When you choose a longer period for base lining it will be time-consuming but it will give representative data.

6. Another important tip to use when doing cloud migration is prioritizing migration components. Therefore, you must decide whether to migrate whole apps all at one go or migrate an app component wise. To do this, you must identify connections between services to see which services are interdependent. It is better to start migrating services, which have least dependencies. So, the most internal services go first and then the outermost services or ones closest to clients.

Read More: Why are Agile Development Practices Needed for Smooth Cloud Migrations?

7. Another useful guideline to remember is to re-factor whatever needs refactoring. So, you may need to work on some apps before you migrate these. This will ensure that the app can work with multiple running instances for dynamic scaling. Besides, your resource usage can leverage capabilities of a dynamic cloud.

8. You should never start migration without having a data migration plan at hand. Location of data is very important for performance of any app. So, when you shift data to the cloud at a time when data access methods remain on-site, performance is going to be impacted. The migration architect must be involved in this planning process. You can choose a bi-directional sync mechanism where you remove the on-site databases once you have moved all clients to the cloud. You may also use cloud migration services from AWS or Azure.

9. You can also switch production systems from on-premise to a cloud version depending on the architecture and complexity of an app. You could either do it all at the same time or choose to do it bit by bit. So, you may move a few clients at first and then test to see if everything is working as planned. After that, you may move some more customers.

10. Finally, you must review the resource allocations for an application. Cloud has been optimized for dynamic resource provisioning but if you assign resources statically, you cannot enjoy the benefits of the cloud based security solutions. You need to ensure that your teams have a proper plan for distributing resources. You should be able to scale up the resources when you need to.

Journey to Cloud Hosting

Understanding the Basics before beginning the Journey to Cloud

Whatever may be you existing IT ecosystem or your organization’s future plans for cloud adoption, you can chose from a wide array of approaches to realize your cloud migration dream.

Needless to mention, you should tread with caution throughout the process of cloud migration by understanding that it is not mandatory to shift all IT infrastructure to cloud. In short, you must enjoy the journey to cloud by adopting a step by step approach.

It is also possible and advisable to follow a hybrid approach to cloud migration that allows you to retain control of the most sensitive infrastructure within the four walls of your organization. In this post, let us briefly review the most sought after cloud migration approaches.

Retiring the obsolete applications

The very first step towards cloud migration is to understand the extent of obsolete legacy applications that may never be used in future. In any organization there are at least two out of ten applications that are not going to be used anymore. Is In order to discover the usage patterns of different applications, one must revisit the entire gamut of IT portfolio as well as the statistics of metering. This can provide an in-depth understanding of applications that need to be retired in order to achieve a leaner and more cost effective IT environment. In fact, one can also distribute resources that can be freed up by retiring outdated applications including security arrangements.

Journey to Cloud Hosting
Lift and shift

If you are contemplating a large volume migration, then re-hosting or lift and shift approach can be a viable solution for you. It is backed by cost efficiency as well as ease of implementing cloud specific architectures in a highly optimized manner. According to some observers, a company can reduce migration expenditure at least by thirty percent.

This is considered as the quickest and also the easiest way to migrate data center to the cloud. The strategy of lifting and shifting is also known as re-hosting since it involves redeployment of applications to cloud native hardware ecosystem followed by implementation of relevant changes to the host configuration of the application.

In order to enhance appeal of the lift and shift strategy, Amazon Web Services have introduced tools that automate import and export of applications to obviate manual efforts. In spite of this, a manual process of re-hosting guarantees an enriched learning experience of re-deployment. Both approaches are designed to make your applications perform in the cloud environment.

Leveraging provider’s infrastructure

For optimization of applications in connection with cloud a re-platform solution can be an ideal alternative as it allows applications to run on the infrastructure offered by a cloud hosting service provider. It should be noted that there is neither any change in core architecture of application nor does it require spending developer cycle.

On the flip side, a re-platform strategy suffers from the considerable infancy of the market of Platform as a Service. The PaaS solutions fall short of delivering capabilities that many developers are familiar with in the environment of existing platforms.

In a re-platform option, one can use common resources over and over again. This can also include development framework, traditional programming languages and the current caches associated with the vital code of enterprise.

Re-imagine the architectural development

The strategy is also popularly known as refactoring since it is designed to accommodate higher scale or extra features that would support growing business requirements. Refactoring leads to greater performance of applications in a cloud environment since this would be next to impossible in a traditional setup of on-site infrastructure. Applications are re-architected to gain seamless compatibility with cloud ecosystem by making smart use of Platform as a Service.

Service providers are found to enable state of the art tools to developers through a user friendly platform. Whenever an application is refactored, it loses the legacy code apart from the known environment of development framework.

Repurchase as a strategy

Thanks to the extensive availability of commercially developed software applications that are designed to substitute traditional platforms as well as applications, one can implement repurchasing as a strategy of cloud adoption. When any organization is planning to procure SalesForce or any other software package, it is actually going to repurchase application because one or more business functions. The enterprise can easily migrate to any appropriate Software as a Service platform by following the repurchasing option. However there are few drawbacks of the strategy including vendor lock in. Some of the SaaS products can also result in interoperability problems.

Takeaway

Cloud migration strategy of any organization needs to be driven by individual requirements and business objectives instead of an urge to join the cloud bandwagon. It should also encompass the existing portfolio of IT applications because the migration process may also have a deep impact on your onsite IT infrastructure. Cloud adoption allows organizations to revisit and evaluate the existing IT portfolio to get rid of the inefficiencies.