Cloud computing is on the rise with enterprises shifting their applications, data and IT infrastructure to cloud environments. A recent IDC survey found that 58 per cent of companies are using web-based, on-demand computing services, including both public services such as Amazon Web Services and private cloud facilities, for two or more applications, up from 24 per cent just 14 months earlier.

[easy-tweet tweet=”For most decision-makers, the question comes down to whether they need private, public or hybrid #cloud”]

The future of the cloud, whether private, public or hybrid, is without doubt secured. Digitisation strategies are being rolled out across enterprises to gain all the benefits of low latency, agility, elasticity and economies of scale the cloud brings, while helping businesses innovate by virtue of its inherent flexibility. With this in mind, what should enterprises consider when starting to migrate to a cloud infrastructure?

No two businesses’ IT looks the same and as IT structures vary greatly from one company to the next, a different outlook on migration according to specific needs is required. For most decision-makers, the question comes down to the type of cloud implementation they want to pursue – private, public or hybrid. Private cloud setups are often reserved for large-cap corporations with a surplus of resources and technical expertise, while the public cloud offers fast and easy storage for a better price. However, organisations typically seek to incorporate elements from both styles of services and create their own hybrid cloud solutions that better fit their computing requirements and long-term goals.

A smooth migration to the cloud is essential to gaining the maximum value from an enterprise’s cloud investment. Conversely, a poorly thought-through and planned migration can prove more than a headache; it could cost a business a great deal of money, time and effort.  A comprehensive strategy is the most important trait for any successful cloud migration, so what are the steps to getting there?

Cloud migration doesn’t have to happen all at once, companies have a great deal of flexibility to move their resources gradually if they wish

  • Assessment: The first component of any effective, comprehensive cloud migration is the assessment. This assessment must take into account the likely impact migration will have on every aspect of the organisation. In the majority of cases, this will include the entirety of the company’s existing infrastructure, all of which must be audited, inventoried and analysed.
  • Planning: Once the assessment phase is complete, it is essential to plan out the migration in detail to minimise complications and ensure security and compliance standards are maintained at all times. Expertise and experience are essential to this phase. Every organisation’s cloud migration is unique, and failing to address these distinctions will inevitably cause problems throughout the migration process. Yet actually designing a migration strategy that accounts for these differences in the most productive, efficient fashion is really only possible with the benefit of tremendous experience in these specific matters.
  • Oversight: It is critical to keep an eye on the effectiveness of the migration strategy, both during the actual migration as well as in the immediate aftermath. Considering the complexity of cloud deployments, there’s always the potential for issues to arise. With keen oversight, these problems will likely prove minimal and can be handled before they cause any significant delays or inefficiencies.

For example, moving a large database to the cloud is no small task. The database needs to be assessed for potential issues migration may cause, from evaluating all the current applications through the practicalities of running the database in the cloud.  In some cases, it may make sense to completely move database providers rather than stick with an inflexible legacy product. In planning we need to consider how to physically move the core data, which may run to many terabytes in size or be constantly updating. It may make sense to run the new cloud-based database in parallel with the legacy database, or it may be better to plan a “big-bang” move over one weekend. Oversight by a trusted partner will guide you through the steps of through testing and the go-live phase.

Migrating business critical applications and processes needs careful planning and execution, the CIOs or decision makers of the project must select a provider they trust. Any potential concerns, for instance, around reliability and security, need to be addressed well in advance. Cloud migration doesn’t have to happen all at once, companies have a great deal of flexibility to move their resources gradually if they wish. Once the benefits have been experienced and the system is tried and tested, businesses can move more of their assets to the cloud.

[easy-tweet tweet=”With a trusted partner and careful planning, the risks associated with migrating can be reduced” hashtags=”Cloud”]

With a trusted partner and careful planning, the risks associated with migrating can be drastically reduced and even the most complex IT ecosystems can be moved to the cloud. Businesses can now reap the benefits of a move to the cloud and future-proof their business with the agility and flexibility that the cloud offers them.