How to carefully plan and avoid costly missteps when it comes to moving to the cloud.
While the steps to move to the cloud may seem straight-forward and budget-friendly, there are costly mistakes and missteps that may put set your organization back after a cloud migration is said and done. These added expenses are not things many business leaders consider beforehand and they lead to headaches and disappointments down the line.
Before you sign your cloud agreement and get everything in order for a move to the cloud, make sure you know what you are paying for and learn from the costly mistakes other organizations we’ve had to help after cloud migrations ended in a disaster of sky-rocketing costs and unrealistic expectations. Most businesses anticipate spending less in the cloud compared to managing and servicing a server in house.
BUT one of the keys to ensuring that you will save money both in the long term and short term will be to head off any issues related in migrating your systems into the cloud. That means moving the right applications in ways that make sure your migration costs don’t get out of hand.
Most business leaders and executives that I’ve talked with know they want to move to the cloud—or at least have an inkling that the cloud is the way to go.
But most haven’t been given a clear blueprint as to what moving their systems to the cloud would entail. For those who are not working in information system day in and day out, it’s quite hard to understand how some of your current systems work. For instance, you may be running an application that is dependent on a variety of components on your network—your migration may not simply be one to one. My concern with these pieces: unless you’ve fully planned out your cloud migration, you likely will not be saving any money migrating to the cloud.
What you can do to ensure a successful cloud transition?
Bring in multiple stakeholders into your discussion.
Make sure that your team understands what cloud computer will be like (what their experience will specifically be like) before implementing a move. Be sure your team is trained and have clear expectations of what is to come from a migration. If you implement a cloud solution thinking you’ll seamlessly transition everyone within your organization, you may very well encounter multiple hiccups along the way that could set you and your organization back.
Make sure you take a close look at what applications your team is using.
Many applications you have been hosting onsite contain a lot of features that were never deployed or features that were never used in your current setup. What we don’t want to happen is for you to have to pay extra to move and support unused applications or features when migrating to the cloud. Get a report of add-ons and applications that your team is using and make sure you are migrating the tools/ applications that are actually getting used or are a part of your team’s workflows. If you simply migrate everything without understanding what is getting used where, you may be paying for much more than you really need (costs on items like this can add up quickly).
Are you moving stale data?
Will you be moving historical data to the cloud? Is there a reason to do this? Do people regularly access this data? Just like moving applications one-for-one from your onsite servers to your cloud infrastructure can cost you serious money, so too can migrating gobs of data that you never will use.
At first look, you might be thinking, cloud storage fees look tiny. The problem is these fees will add up over time. Consider a year’s worth of storage for a minute. Let’s say one server costs 22 cents an hour in the cloud. Now let’s say you double the space because of all the old data you have in your servers. If you run the math out over the course of a year, you are spending nearly $2,000 to host data no one is using. That’s just assuming that you just have one server’s worth of non-essential data (most organizations have much more than this!).
Bottom line: make sure you evaluate what should be migrating to the cloud and clean house as you do. If you have old data that needs to be retained (for instance, if you have compliance demands or guarantees on retention of documents), consider partitioning that data and archiving it rather than hosting it in the cloud.
How to move more effectively into the cloud?
Once you have a plan for what you’re moving to the cloud, you next have to decide how you will transfer that information over to your new cloud solution (not a very simple task).
For instance, let’s say you have 100 TB of data that you need to transfer (this is not an uncommon amount), depending on your internet connection it could take 269 days to transfer this information. 100 TB is not an uncommon amount of data nowadays. Uncontrolled email boxes could easily consume many terabytes of data.
Consuming your bandwidth day in and day simply to move your data to a cloud storage solution out is not realistic. Instead of transferring your data over the internet, you probably should consider physically transporting large stores of data directly to the data center facility to make sure migration does not impact your operational needs for bandwidth.
What about once you’ve moved over to the cloud?
After your cloud migration, instead of accepting whatever comes of your move, make sure you or someone on your IT team is evaluating performance, stability and usage in the cloud (these are routine evaluations that any competent IT team should be doing).
The cloud can be a great option for many organizations. We just want to make sure you are thinking through how your cloud transition will go so that you are prepared for your team to run smoothly afterwards.