The most successful journeys include preparation and guidance. Maps, an itinerary, good snacks, and a guide all contribute to a well-planned, enjoyable adventure. A family’s summer cross-country road trip, a winter ski vacation with close friends, or a months-long walk on the Appalachian Trail all benefit from advance planning that can minimize unwanted detours and maximize enjoyment.
Without having to sweat about how to reach your destination, you’re better able to focus on your surroundings and what you want to achieve en route.
Though COVID-19 threw a wrench into nearly all travel plans for 2020, it helped focus the plans for one journey, in particular: the journey to the cloud. The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report found that 59% of enterprises expect cloud usage to exceed prior plans due to COVID-19.
Today, more than 50% of enterprise workloads and data are expected to be in the public cloud within 12 months and 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy (using 2.2 public and 2.2 private clouds, on average).
But the journey to the cloud—an increasingly popular destination that enables digital transformation—can feel like an unguided ramble. The technology landscape spans thousands of apps and services from hundreds of vendors.
Technologies such as containers, microservices architectures, and serverless models can seem disruptive. The top challenges that enterprises encounter on their cloud journeys include security, how to manage cloud spend, governance, and the lack of resources/expertise are among.
Effective planning can empower you to adapt to any unanticipated speed bumps: economic upturns and downturns, market changes, the unforeseen major events that redefine the concept of business as usual.
Broad and deep visibility into your IT landscape is paramount throughout the entire journey. The clearer the view, the lower the risk of heading in the wrong direction.
( Also Read: What is Cloud Migration? )
3 Steps Can Help Ensure a Smooth and Successful Cloud Journey
Planning for a move to the cloud relies on three main components. First, discover all of the assets in your technology landscape. The discovery process provides an accurate and comprehensive view of your on-premises environment—and helps overcome the top challenge of cloud migration: understanding application dependencies.
A bottom-up discovery identifies all hardware and software resources, along with each application and business services that those resources support, including servers, storage, networking, and other hardware; applications; databases; and operating systems; dependencies and relationships across the landscape (including for apps, databases, and servers); and service maps that illustrate how individual components combine to support business services.
A comprehensive asset discovery process also identifies who owns each asset; how it is used; its cost; software licensing terms, conditions, and renewals, compatibility issues; security vulnerabilities; and end-of-life (EOL) or end-of-service (EOS) dates.
Next, assess on-premises apps and services to determine their suitability for migration. Address concerns such as the level of effort required to migrate an app or service and whether it needs to be rehosted, re-platformed, or rearchitected; which apps and services are better suited to remain on-premises; any architecture, business or customer impact, or security concerns you need to consider; and the total cost of ownership (including maintenance and support) for the on-premises app or service.
Assessment tools can help ease the process by uncovering serious issues that might negate migrating an app or service. They can also calculate the cost of running an app or service in popular public clouds (e.g. AWS, Azure, or Google), providing comparisons of the costs of running an app in a public cloud to running it on-prem.
Finally, prioritize migration candidates to develop a plan and a timeline. Take into consideration the technological reasons (such as heavy storage requirements) and business realities (such as seasonal impacts) for migrating a particular app or service.
Begin by starting with apps and services with low complexity and that have minimal impact on the business. Try internal-facing applications before progressing to customer-facing ones.
Keep in mind your fellow travelers on this journey. Work closely with the owners of the apps or services that you will be moving. Make sure that all stakeholders who will be impacted, including the IT staff that will be performing the move, know what’s been identified in the planning stage—and that they know what to expect.
Best practices for migration include:
- Migrating workloads in manageable chunks;
- Taking on increasingly complex apps and services as you become knowledgeable, fostering a learn-as-you-go approach to building cloud expertise;
- Test driving moves to reveal possible obstacles;
- Leveraging migration utilities (e.g. CloudEndure, RiverMeadow, or Velostrata) for the actual lift-and-shift, while avoiding lock-in with a particular vendor;
- Having technology asset management tools in place to manage cloud-based workloads in advance of moving that workload; and
- Rightsizing computes, storage, networking, and other resources for on-premises apps before moving it to the cloud, in order to avoid wasted cloud spend.
Effective management begins as soon as you migrate your first cloud-based workload. Comprehensive management and compliance process include managing and optimizing software licenses in the cloud, including bring your own software licenses (BYOSL); managing SaaS spend and uncovering shadow SaaS; evaluating IaaS/PaaS spend and allocating costs by the group; optimizing and using automated policies and tools to reduce spend and risk; and proactive governance.
The focus on managing cloud savings is essential in order to gain the maximum benefit from the cloud; approximately 30% of cloud spend is wasted.
Remember that the discovery process, initiated during the planning step, isn’t a one-and-done activity. Cloud environments shift constantly; resources rapidly spin up and down. Automated processes can help keep your eyes on the path ahead of you, ensuring that you’re current and in compliance with your corporate governance framework and security policies.
A well-planned migration to the cloud can yield benefits for everyone who is part of the journey. Cooperation and collaboration with business units, central IT, departmental technology teams, and other stakeholders help ensure that you reach your destination successfully.
Appropriate planning for the move to the cloud can support effective governance and compliance, manage and optimize spend, optimize license use, and maintain strong security.