Moving data to the cloud offers a number of benefits for any business – from flexibility to scalability and increased productivity. However, to do this effectively, companies moving IT infrastructure must carefully plan their approach and have the right team and skills in place to ensure the transition is successful.
With that in mind, here are the key elements to consider before any business embarks on an effective cloud migration.
Getting the right skills in place
The first step of any cloud migration is enlisting the right team. Ensure the project leads have the right mix of relevant technical skills, a clear understanding of the wider business requirements, and essential project management experience. Having this in place – whether it’s via internal employees or an external provider – will make a world of difference from the onset.
Migrating to a cloud solution involves a variety of factors that must be considered, so having an experienced, knowledgeable project manager to guide the process can mean the difference between a cost efficient project, and one which could exceed both time and budget. A project manager should be tasked with mitigating common cloud computing challenges and ensuring all internal and external teams are in sync. In addition, a project manager with experience in agile processes can help to manage time efficiently with the prioritisation of tasks – breaking down large projects into shorter stages, resulting in a stable process and greater collaboration between teams.
When it comes to technical expertise, cloud infrastructure knowledge is essential for companies looking to configure and deploy a strong networking solution that aligns with their business objectives, and is arguably the most important skill for successful cloud migration projects.
Alongside this, solidifying the team with DevOps expertise will optimise how an organisation manages transitions to a cloud environment.
Ultimately, ensuring the team is complete with a mix of both business and technical skills will mitigate cloud migration challenges, increase time and cost efficiency and optimise the final result.
Choosing the right option for the business
Once the right team is in place, businesses should lean on these individuals to ensure the correct solution is chosen to suit the business’s needs.
Investing the time to work with senior business executives from across the organisation at this stage will ensure the management team understands the productivity and efficiency benefits of the different options available. Businesses should take the time to run through options and ensure the right solution is considered for the company’s workloads.
Public cloud, where a third-party provider hosts and manages the data, is often deemed the most popular choice. However, not all businesses are the same; different workloads, employees and teams means choosing the ideal solution to suit the individual needs is essential.
To create a successful cloud strategy, businesses should explore both hybrid and multi-cloud options, which can adapt to suit a business’s needs. Hybrid cloud combines a private cloud with one or more public cloud services, enabling additional agility and control, while multi-cloud is the use of several different public cloud services, meaning the business uses a mix of IaaS services, sharing the workloads between each.
Finally, the enterprise cloud, a corporate cloud solution that offers a modern IaaS platform, is secure, reliable, has fast software-defined networking, and is often a good choice for businesses.
Planning now will save time in the long-run, so it is vital that businesses research their choices, both discussing internally with their teams and seeking advice from cloud architects to ensure the right option is selected for the business.
Taking the right steps when migrating
From an infrastructure perspective, the migration process is straightforward: analyse workloads, servers and applications; decide on the resources needed and deploy them; monitor the resources, and scale up or down accordingly.
The next step is to assess the load cycle of the applications and understand the requirements for a functional cloud server. If there are seasonal peaks or quieter, out-of-hours cycles, map the details and architecture for those usage patterns. Shutdown systems when they’re not needed, and scale systems during on and off-peak times. Planning can help save costs, prevent future issues, and ensure maximum efficiency.
Finally, taking it a step further, if the business is looking to reduce consumption of resources, then exploring Managed Kubernetes and utilising the host of PaaS offerings cloud providers have could be the best solution.
What common mistakes are made?
We often come across three core mistakes that businesses make when migrating to the cloud.
One of the most common approaches when integrating with the cloud is to migrate all data across, and then to re-factor, re-architect and re-strategise. While this seems a reasonable approach, often not enough time is allocated to finalise the project completely, leading to higher-than-expected costs and a poorly-designed infrastructure with limited cloud functionality.
Another common mistake is thinking that all cloud infrastructure will follow the same requirements and rules. No two businesses are the same, so nor will be the cloud infrastructures. This also applies as the business evolves. As a company grows, prior infrastructure is not likely to fit new business requirements. That’s why it’s important to re-consider every factor that contributed to the current infrastructure, as most decisions were made within the boundaries of that original set-up. Regular infrastructure evaluation provides the opportunity to re-align the technology to meet current and future business needs and data strategies.
The third recurring mistake is over-provisioning, or the activation of increased cloud capacity, which is not immediately needed. While planning for the future can be helpful, continuously re-adjusting resources to meet a business’s needs in the short-term is often a more efficient and cost-effective way of managing the cloud.
Another important consideration when developing a multi-cloud is avoiding vendor lock-in. Manage Kubernetes can help, but it’s essential to make workloads as portable as possible should there be a desire to utilise multiple cloud providers.
When it comes to cloud migration, the key elements are preparation, planning and ongoing optimisation. A business must truly embrace cloud technologies, and should not be afraid to explore multi and hybrid-cloud options to make cloud-based systems and services the best they can be. The result will be a well thought-out and successful cloud strategy, ensuring businesses can truly enjoy the full benefits of the cloud.
Russell Barley, Cloud Architect at IONOS, has 20 years’ experience within IT, empowering him with vast experience with technology and the application of that technology to meet business needs. Russell’s expertise areas include IT strategy, cloud transformation, virtualisation and data center design. Outside of his day-to-day technology skillset, he has a keen interest in emerging and disruptive technologies. For more information on IONOS and its Enterprise Cloud Solutions, visit: https://cloud.ionos.co.uk/compute