Discovering Where to Start
A big benefit of moving to the cloud is that it isn’t an all-or-nothing decision. You don’t have to try and replace your entire data center on day one. You can start small to see if it works for your organization (my guess is that it will!). You can move just a few apps to the cloud for starters and see how it works. This allows you to reap the benefits of moving to the cloud and then expand your migration from there.
What are some of the challenges that organizations face with on-premise data centers?
Three top challenges organizations face with on-premise data centers include...
Costly Maintenance Budget
An on-premise data center isn’t cheap. You have to have a budget earmarked for managing the servers and keeping them updated and secure and also for making sure you the staff to keep them up and running. You also have to factor in the cost of unplanned downtime and outages. On-premise servers are a pricey budget line item.
Time Not Spent on Core Business Activity
An on-premise environment also gobbles up work hours. When your IT team spends time managing servers, it means your staff isn’t spending time on more crucial initiatives. When you move to the cloud, you take servers out of the mix, moving those efforts to your cloud services provider. Your IT department can spend time innovating rather than maintaining.
No Competitive Edge
With on-premise data centers, you don't really have that competitive edge like you do in the cloud. If you need to shift or expand quickly, such as spinning up 30, 40, 50, or 1,000 servers in a day, you can do that in the cloud. You don't have to wait for provisioning or for capital approval. You can scale up on demand and scale back down as needed.
What Steps Do I Need to Take to Move to the Cloud?
It’s always best to take some time to assess your computing environment upfront and then follow these guidelines to build your cloud journey. It’s not something you should jump into without planning!
First, you’ll want to examine what your current computing environment looks like. Assess what things need to be moved to the cloud and what might need to stay on-premise or in co-location. You’ll also determine if a single-provider or multi-cloud strategy is right for you.
During this phase, you'll review what you learned in the discovery process and create a small proof of concept to see what type of migration plan meets your needs. At this point, you could take on a few preliminary tasks, including setting up required networking, virtual private clouds, VPNs or other access controls.
Once you have a working proof of concept and are certain that the prescribed migration solution fits, it's time to start moving applications to the cloud. You'll want to keep business continuity in mind so your teams can experience business as normal during the migration.
From the planning phases to the final migration, you’ll always want to keep an eye focused on your cloud computing’s ongoing evolution. Planning things like automation opportunities and DevOps, as well as looking for opportunities to define infrastructure as code, will only enhance your cloud experience.
What are the business and ROI benefits of moving to the cloud?
Moving one or two high visibility applications early on in the migration process allows for a much higher return on investment. These typically are your high usage systems, which puts them into the scalable, pay-as-you-go model, which helps you manage costs much more effectively. You’ll also have your key apps up and running and then can focus on migrating less crucial ones.
Once your migration is complete, you'll be able to monitor systems and identify candidates for automation and containerization. You can use the data generated to glean insights that will help drive additional cost reduction and a more holistic view of the data. This will help you make informed decisions on where to spend your IT dollars.