(Presentation PDF is at the bottom of this page)
Migrating your business data and application to the Cloud outside the company firewall is not a trivial issue. Therefore, for your migration process to be successful, verify the following six tasks.
1. The Data and Applications Involved
Identify the type of data and the nature of the applications to be uploaded to the Cloud. Not every application is suitable for the Cloud. Sensitive data (such as credit card information), mission-critical workloads, and some resource intensive legacy applications might not be appropriate for the public Cloud. Oftentimes some applications require a large volume of resources which may not be available for efficient performance of these applications in the Cloud. Volume, load, the 'heaviness' of the application logic, and the required bandwidth needed are primary concerns.
To benefit from Cloud computing without risking corporate-sensitive information, businesses can use either a private or hybrid Cloud for their data center migration approach.
2. Cost Appraisal
The cost efficiency of Cloud computing makes it appealing to many businesses since this model reduces hardware and IT team overheads. However, the financial benefits are dependent on the type of application. Applications having varied levels of demand, such as mobile applications, yield a higher return on investment when migrated to the Cloud, whereas many applications using legacy enterprise hardware which are more costly to run in the Cloud.
There is need to evaluate costs of network and bandwidths. There are pricing calculators (Microsoft Azure Pricing Calculator and Amazon Web Services CloudWatch) though to be honest they are often inaccurate [ie your testing of a typical app load on AWS will render a 'price', which proves to be utterly invalid after you actually start using AWS....]
3. Select Your Cloud Deployment model
Apart from the cost and application concerns, it is vital to choose the right Cloud environment. Determining the suitable model is essential as there are private, public, and hybrid Clouds. Public Clouds offer highly scalable environments but are not suitable for tightly regulated industries like the financial services. Private Clouds are more secure but the onerous tasks of control and management belong to the users. Hybrid Clouds offer the best deployment model in our opinion for most firms, yet issues of dependency and latency could still come up, if the underlying resources and architecture of the Hybrid Cloud are not properly designed and implemented.
4. Control and Security
Migrating to the Cloud can disturb a company’s management and control strategy; in that, methods which worked for the traditional on-premises systems may not work for the Cloud. Once the company moves to the Cloud, the range of control is drastically reduced, and the Cloud providers have more responsibility to ensure consistent and secure performance. Consequently, there is a need to examine the level of security and control that the Cloud providers are providing, and to plan for a likely shortfall in their promises.
5. Be Ready for Cloud-to Cloud Migration Challenges
There may be a need to move from one Cloud deployment model to another; or from one Cloud environment to another; depending on the providers and the quality of services received. It can be difficult to migrate from the public Cloud to the private as it will involve complex configurations and architectural issues. Consequently, such challenges should be envisaged and prepared for. This is called the 'portability' issue, or the freedom for a firm not to be locked in to a single Cloud deployment strategy, or to a single Cloud vendor.
6. Plan Your Cloud Migration Strategy
Having considered factors such as data, security, and Cloud-to-Cloud migration issues, the next step is to come up with a migration strategy from your current Legacy System to the Cloud deployment model that has been chosen. See here for tips on how to do this.