Cloud Migration: Common Mistakes
By now everyone has heard of the cloud and how it is revolutionizing the computer industry. Most companies are either in the process of migrating to the cloud or planning a cloud migration. The public cloud allows companies, big and small, to host their applications in virtual servers at a lower cost than a traditional data center. According to the 2017 RightScale State of the Cloud Report the top reason companies are interested in the cloud is cost savings. However, because the cloud could save you money it does not mean migrating your applications to it is going to be an easy task.
Here are some of the mistakes people make when trying to move their applications to the cloud:
Lift and Shift
Lift and Shift is a common approach to cloud migration. The idea is that you can take your infrastructure (servers) and applications (code) as they are currently deployed, either on premises or at a data center, move them to the public cloud and everything will just work - most of the time that is not the case.
Not only is lift and shift hard to accomplish but it may not be the best, or the most cost-effective, option for migrating your applications to the cloud.
The public cloud is built for automating resiliency, scalability, and high availability. The nature of these features makes it a completely different platform to work with than a typical data center. Moving your applications to the cloud using a lift and shift approach may not allow you to take advantage of the features the cloud offers.
Before migrating your applications to the cloud using a lift and shift approach make sure that is the best option for the application you are migrating.
Lack of Design, Planning, and Testing
Most applications currently hosted on premises or at a data center will have to be redesigned in order to take advantage of the features the cloud offers.
Here are a few things to think about while redesigning your application for the cloud:
- How will you achieve high availability?
- How will your application scale?
- What will your network look like on the cloud?
- How will you secure your application?
- How will your application be deployed?
Taking the time to redesign your application, coming up with a plan of attack, and making sure your design is thoroughly tested are all things you should consider before migrating your applications to the cloud. Not only will this make your cloud migration easier but it will help you take advantage of the cool features the cloud offers.
Lack of Training
Running applications on the public cloud is different than running then on a data center. For most people who have been working in IT for many years the thought of moving things to the cloud could be a bit intimidating - especially if they don't have the proper training. Making sure your IT staff goes through the proper training for the specific cloud vendor to which you are migrating can make the difference between a successful cloud migration and a frustrating one. Not having the right training could make a cloud migration take longer than expected.
Simple things like security can cause confusion for someone who is not familiar with how things work on the cloud. A 2017 survey found that IT professionals lack consensus about who is responsible for protecting data and applications in a public cloud. The survey found that about 43% believe cloud providers are ultimately responsible, while 39% believe internal IT departments should be in charge.
AWS for example, has a shared security model. AWS is responsible for the security "of" the cloud and you are responsible for protecting your data and applications running "in" the cloud.
Another important point to take into account is cost. After all, that is the main reason most companies want to migrate their applications to the cloud. However, we find that most companies are not sure how to manage costs on the cloud.
One of the most expensive parts of migrating to the cloud can be the cost of moving your data. If you have large amounts of data it might take a while to move it to the cloud thus causing delays in your migration. Planning accordingly can help keep your cloud migration costs lower and help you keep in line with your timelines.
Managing costs on the cloud is a function of balancing usability, performance, and scalability. You need to take into account your average usage for each component of your application, determine how critical the performance of those components is and how quickly you need those components to scale during high usage periods.
Migrating your applications to the cloud is not enough if you don't take advantage of the cost savings the cloud can offer.
Migrating to the cloud is what you need to do to keep up with the competition. However, not planning accordingly can have costly consequences for your company. Avoiding all the aforementioned pitfalls is a great start to migrate your applications to the cloud but if this is your first time you might run into other issues. Using the services of an experience and certified Cloud Service Provider can be the difference between a successful cloud migration and one that ends up costing too much and taking too long.