Public Cloud – To Migrate or Not: That is the Question
Public clouds provide enormous scale and elasticity. Combined with a consumption-based model and instant deployment methodologies, they provide a platform that is extremely agile and avoids locking of precious capital.
Surely it’s a no-brainer and why every company has plans to migrate workloads to the cloud. In fact, it is so obvious that one actually needs to look for reasons why it won’t be a good idea. It may seem counterintuitive, but it is one of the most important steps you could take before starting on your cloud migration journey.
Regardless of size, migration could be a huge drain on time and resources. One of the most cited reasons for the failure of a cloud migration project is: “The project ran out of steam.” Such projects typically lack enthusiasm, resulting in slow progress. Eventually, corners are cut to meet deadlines and the result is sub-standard migration and eventual failure.
Humans are wired to be more interested in doing something where there is a tangible benefit for them in some way. In addition, they are more likely to remain committed as long as they can see a goal that is clear and achievable.
Migration is not a single-person job. Depending on the size of a company, teams from different business groups are involved in the process and have to work together to achieve that goal. To ensure success, it is critical to get the backing of all the stakeholders through an honest evaluation of the business need for migration to the cloud. It must be backed by hard facts and not just because it’s fashionable.
This evaluation goes hand-in-hand with the problems a company is looking to solve. The most effective pointers to them are the existing pain points. Are costs for running a particular environment too high? Is the company becoming uncompetitive due to lack of agility? It might even be a case of developing the capability to temporarily burst into the cloud when an occasional requirement comes up, instead of locking capital by buying, provisioning, and maintaining own equipment.
Armed with those pain points and relevant data gathered, analysis can be done to determine if cloud migration is the only pragmatic solution. SWOT is a great framework for such an evaluation, and is used by many organisations for strategic planning.
It’s important to have all the key stakeholders present when this exercise is done. This ensures that they are part of the discussion and can clearly see all arguments for and against the migration. Those stakeholders include leaders from the infrastructure and application groups as well as from the business side, as they have the best view of the financial impact of current issues and what it would be if action is not taken.
The focus of this analysis should be to identify what weaknesses and threats to the business exist due to the current state and if migration to the cloud will change them into strengths and opportunities. With prior research in hand, it should be possible to determine if the move to the cloud can solve those issues. More importantly, this analysis will highlight the financial and resource costs of the migration and if it would be worth that cost when compared against the problems it will fix.
Effort spent at this stage is extremely valuable and ensures the decision to migrate to the cloud is robust. Furthermore, the analysis clarifies the need for action to all stakeholders and brings them on board with the vision.
Once they see the goal and how it will solve their business problems, the result is a commitment from all teams to provide their part of the resource and continual participation in the project until its successful completion.