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Blog October 29, 2019

6 Ways to Avoid a Cloud Migration Failure

A recent research study on the success of cloud migrations has some disheartening news for organizations looking to migrate on-premises workloads to the cloud:

  • 62% of executives surveyed said that their cloud migration projects were harder than expected or that they failed altogether.
  • 30% said they expected their migration to take between one and two years to complete.
  • 43% said they expected it to take more than two years.
  • 55% of projects went over budget.

Taking your time on a migration project and doing it right is important. But, two years is like an eternity in the tech industry. Workload and organizational needs change. Platform capabilities change, too. If it takes two years every time you want to migrate a workload to the cloud (or between cloud platforms), your ability to respond to the needs of the business will suffer.

Note: If those two years involve the upgrade of a mission-critical legacy system, e.g., ERP, to a more modern, cloud-native application, then you might get a pass. After all, more agile systems lead to a more agile organization. However, it’s doubtful that almost half of all respondents were undergoing a legacy application upgrade at the time of this survey.  

So, assuming your IT team has better things to do than babysit a cloud migration project, here are six ways to improve your odds of migration success:

1/ Ensure executive support. All major initiatives should start with gaining executive support, and a cloud migration is no different. If senior leadership is lukewarm about migrating workloads to the cloud, you could end up spending valuable time justifying your decision every step of the way. And, if there are any speed bumps in your project, you could find your support pulled.

2/ Create a migration plan. Planning is an important part of the process, but it’s not a once and done task. Think of your migration plan like a game plan. You start with a high-level project plan. Then, as you study the dynamics (cloud platforms, internal skills sets, IT security threat landscape, etc.), this plan gets revised and updated.

Tip: If you’ll be migrating sensitive data, such as PHI (Protected Health Information), remember to ensure your data will be secure in your new environment and during the migration.

3/ Hold people accountable. Establish a regular cadence of progress reports/meetings with senior leadership and other key stakeholders. Keeping them informed on the progress of the migration will help keep everyone, including any external resources, accountable. Don’t hesitate to hold stakeholders accountable, as well, if there are obstacles only they can address.

4/ Choose the right cloud. Nothing extends the time and expense of a migration project like deciding you’ve chosen the wrong cloud platform just as you’re nearing go-live. Your team will be understandably eager to move forward, but don’t skimp on the discussions around cloud platform pros and cons – especially when it comes to security and compliance.

Another key factor in this decision will be your applications themselves. Many newer applications are architected for a public cloud environment such as AWS or Azure. Other applications might do better in a private, hosted cloud. Still others may require a specific type of platform. For example, Connectria’s data centers can house both X86 as well as IBM i and IBM AIX applications.

5/ Call in reinforcements if necessary. During your planning stage, you’ll get a good feel for the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. If your IT staff is light on experience for the platforms you’re considering, you might need to call in reinforcements. If you’ve never migrated workloads to any cloud, you should definitely seek out someone with more experience. A qualified Managed Service Provider can help you evaluate platforms, create a migration plan, and execute that plan to minimize any disruptions to your business.

To put a finer point on the need for experience, consider this: In a recent analysis, McAfee found that 99% of platform misconfigurations go unnoticed. Don’t let the assumption that your team “has it covered” jeopardize your security and compliance.

6/ Invest in a cloud management platform. No cloud migration initiative can truly be considered a success if, once in the cloud, your team fails to manage cloud resources effectively. Many cloud platforms come with tools to help manage aspects such as security, compliance, and performance. However, if you have workloads housed in more than one cloud instance or type of environment, you may want to consider investing in a cloud management platform that provides visibility across all of them from one console.

Connectria provides dedicated cloud hosting services as well as managed cloud services across numerous platforms including AWS, Azure, GCP, and IBM. We’ve helped hundreds of organizations migrate workloads to the cloud securely and efficiently. To learn more about our cloud migration services, visit us on the web.

Related resources:

What Should You Look For in a Hosting Provider?

4 Ways to Vet a Cloud Provider

Migrating to AWS: Your Preflight Checklist

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