Q&A: The Ultimate Guide to Moving to the Cloud

Posted by Greg Hohenbrink, Director of Solutions Engineering

Oct 25, 2017


Organizations with on-premise data centers face challenges such as costly maintenance issues, limited resources and a lack of competitive edge. Moving your data center to the cloud is a must in today’s fast-paced competitive marketplace.

But as an organization looking to make the move, where do you even start? Here are four key questions to keep in mind as you start migrating to to the cloud.

What are the trends in cloud computing that are driving organizations to the cloud?

We've been seeing four trends that are driving migrations. Companies are seeking cloud computing because they are...

Bridging the Gap

The gap is closing between managing on premise data center infrastructure and leveraging the cloud. The technologies are evolving and coming closer together, letting you move to the cloud much more easily, be more efficient, and customize to do what you need.

Switching Expense Models

There is a business need to shift from long-term capital expenditure models to a more fluid model that can ebb and flow with business cycles. With switching to the expense-based cloud model, you're now able to pay as you go and really only use what you need and scale when you need more resources.


Companies are leveraging the cloud to not only solve for their immediate needs, but also to set themselves up for future success. They don't have to pick one technology or one software now, and they have the ability to leverage new technology that companies like Google are developing and offering to the community.

Discovering Where to Start

Many companies want to leverage the cloud but don’t know where to start. Start small and find a place that you can help your organization evolve and get them into the cloud just to show the power of it. You don’t have to try and replace your entire data center on day one. Prove the benefit and then expand 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...

High Maintenance Costs

The costs for on-premise data centers include managing the servers, having the staff to keep the servers running, keeping them secure, and keeping the patch system updated. So there are a lot of upfront costs that companies see, and they have to budget for them year after year.

Time Not Spent on Core Business Activity

Spending time managing on-premise data centers means not spending time on your core business. With movement to the cloud, you're uncovering that and taking it out of the mix, letting your IT department and very smart resources spend their time innovating your company.

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 quickly or expand quickly, like standing 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 do it on demand when needed, and scale down when needed as well.

How are organizations actually moving to the cloud? What does that process look like?

Moving to the cloud takes planning. We recommend following a process where you will follow these steps...


Examine what your 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 also determine if a single-provider or multi-cloud strategy is right for you.


At this phase, you'll review what you learned in the discovery process and create small proof of concept to see which key migration plans will work for your needs. At this point, you could do a few preliminary things, 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 solution fits, it's time to start migrating applications. 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 always will want to keep an eye toward the evolution of the environment. 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 is the business impact and return on investment for organizations moving to the cloud?

Moving one or two high visibility applications early on allows for a much higher ROI. It also means high usage systems will be migrated into the cloud, which manages costs much more effectively. 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.


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Greg Hohenbrink, Director of Solutions Engineering

Greg takes great pride in his aptitude for technical advising, troubleshooting and analysis. With more than 15 years of experience in the public and private sector, he helps to shape the future for businesses of all sizes. He has a passion for excellence and integrity, and a knack for recommending the solutions that connect businesses to their employees, partners, and clients.

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