Almost every business owner who uses an application, or has a lot of data, or simply exists in 2017, has questioned the migration to the cloud. Now, if you haven’t made that switch yet, here are some of the things that you will need to take into consideration.
If you currently host your data in-house and ever thought to move your data to the cloud, there are some challenges migrating to the cloud you need to keep in mind.
You get to the point where it’s too expensive to keep your own mini-datacenter. At the same time, you want everything to be easy to scale. 5 more users; not a problem, 10 less same thing. That type of ease of use, scalability can be obtained through cloud. And then you make the decision of migration your work, your precious app to a cloud provider.
Cloud migration challenge number one: Security
Public, private, hybrid?
As you might expect, security is the first thing that comes to mind of a manager who considers a cloud migration, and one of the most important cloud migration challenges. You have sensitive data, be that the contact details of people who have applied for a job, your own accounting data, your clients’ data, and the list can go on and on. Main point: that data needs to be safeguarded against any attack and you also need to be sure that during the migration something does not get lost. On the other hand, you’ll have to analyze the type of cloud you want to use. If you need some extra layers of security and severely restrict access to that specific server, you will go with the option of a private cloud. It will, however, be more expensive.
If you don’t require a lot of space, or have limited resources, you can go with the public cloud, which means that you will share your server with other companies. Last but not least you have the option of a hybrid cloud, some data, which can be stored on a public cloud and the very sensitive ones, in a private one. You will have to analyze your security needs since you are transferring that concern to your cloud provider. These aspects need to be clarified in depth prior to you transferring anything in cloud, of course.
One other thing you’ll need to decide upon is what to move and what to keep. Do you transfer everything in cloud or just some minor things? The more important the data is to your business the harder the decision to take.
In the same area of security, you need to make sure that all transfers are made under proper firewalls, and that you don’t get your info all over the World Wide Web. A security breach can lead to serious problems, especially since you have guaranteed to your clients and partners that all their data is safe. So make sure that the migration is made by professionals.
As far as security goes, the human factor needs to be taken into consideration. You need your data handled by people that know what they are doing and not just upload sensitive info onto a server where anyone can find it. And remember: encryption, encryption, encryption. Just because it’s in cloud, it does not mean it’s safe if it’s not encrypted.
The SLA is yet anothing thing to have in mind when migrating your application and work to the cloud. A clear, clean SLA can save you not only future headaches but money as well.
The SLA comes to help you both manage your responsibilities. In the end, security is important, and an important part for your provider to take care of, but at the same time you need to see who gets access to what from your company.
You will have to decide who on your team will have exclusive rights when it comes to making business altering changes, who will only have access to some features, and who will have limited access.
Talk to your provider about downtimes, compensations to make sure that if there is trouble you are covered.
Cloud migration challenge number two: Interoperability
Now that we covered security and risks, when considering cloud migration you also need to analyze interoperability. Why is this a cloud migration challenge? Because you want all your systems up and running. So, if you have something custom made for you, or special business needs you need to make sure you discuss them with your provider so that everything that comes from you is operational.
The more specific your tech is the more problems you might have with finding a provider that can work with that exact tech and after that having the possibility to maintain it. Also, if you have very specialized hardware, finding an IaaS provider with the right blend might also be tricky.
Using a tech that works on multiple platforms helps not only now, when you are making the first transfer into cloud, but it will help should you ever want to switch between cloud providers.
One other thing you could use, is a container platform. You can basically re-create your application using this new system, and thus making it available on a large number of devices. Containerized applications are portable between infrastructures without code rewrites. You can have a look at Docker and what it offers for instance.
Cloud migration chalenge number three: Refactoring / Re-architecting
If you migrate from an old tech to a newer one, you might also need to take into consideration that some code changes might be needed, so most likely extra costs. Check out here our article about migrating Domino apps.
At the same time, if your application is based on old tech, you might want to take into consideration switching platforms for your applications. That will mean more work from your team and at the same time, you would need a cloud provider that has experience with the platform you used and with the platform you plan to use.
At this point you’ll also most probably analyze what you keep and what you get rid of. Which functionality is no longer needed and thus can generate some savings money-wise. This approach will also help your team focus on the things that people use and help you with securing everything.
So, you will need to make sure that your whole system is portable, or you’ll have to bring some very specific specifications to your cloud provider. Lack of portability and interoperability might limit your options in terms of providers, so being flexible or having a team that can work with multiple environments is a big plus and one less headache for you.
Cloud migration challenge four: Costs
Yet another thing you need to have in mind is the whole cost of the migration. One of the reasons companies go for a cloud hosting environment is that it becomes too costly to maintain the whole system in-house. Technology advances with the speed of light, and you might not want or can’t afford to change hardware every year or so. But even here, there is a cloud migration challenge: you want the downtime to be as low as possible, since time means money and you want your system up and running fast.
In that regard, you might take into consideration a step-by-step migration: migrate the most important files, apps, the backbone of your company first, and then the rest, rather that doing it all in one sweep, thus ensuring that you’ll be operational in a reasonable amount of time.
You might need to have your team pull some overtime to make sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be, but if you choose wisely your cloud provider, you should be able to make the migration run smoothly and with little cost for your business.
One other thing that you might want to include in costs is migration. If you need to migrate your application from an old tech, that will mean extra money and that also needs to be put into the project cost estimation.
Cloud migration can be challenging and does require a bit of preparation, but with the right team, and with some planning all those challenges can be overcome with ease. One must keep in mind that each business is unique and that it’s hard to find a one size fits all solution. Remember: technology is there to help your business, not make your life harder.