How can you avoid risks with Cloud Migrations?
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
The Cloud is here to stay. The Cisco Global cloud index forecast 2015-20, forecasts that by 2020, 92 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers.
One of the challenges faced by IT teams in organizations across the globe, is to plug in a cloud migration strategy into their overall IT business strategy. IT teams need to have a clear understanding of their business requirements, a holistic view of cloud possibilities, risks and mitigation strategies to choose the right cloud computing model and the right cloud service provider for their business.
An overview of the three kinds of cloud computing models (and the typical challenges they create in migration) is a good place to start in the decision making process.
- IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service (AWS, Azure, Google Compute Engine)
- PaaS – Platform as a Service (examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Google App Engine)
- SaaS – Software as a Service (examples: Google Apps, Salesforce)
Cloud computing models
According to Richard Watson of Gartner, “Choosing the optimal application-migration option is a decision that cannot be made in isolation. Any cloud-migration decision is, in essence, an application or infrastructure modernization decision and needs to be approached in the broader context of related application portfolio management and infrastructure portfolio management programs. This decision is not solely an issue of migration but is truly one of optimization: Which cloud platform and migration techniques offer the chance to optimize the application’s contribution to stated and implied business and IT goals? Those business and supporting IT goals, described next, should be driving any cloud migration decision — not a rush to experiment with new toys.”
When considering the various application and workload migration options, it is important that you also consider the risks involved in cloud migration and the mitigation strategies for each of them.
Risks in Cloud Migration and Mitigation Strategies
1. Intricate Architecture:
Complexity or intricacy of the architecture
The chances of a cloud migration failing increase in direct proportion to the complexity or intricacy of the architecture. Data rich applications are most often dependent on multiple elements and environments.
Migration Strategy: Manage only one complex architecture, usually the one existing on-premise. Design architecture in such a way that it interacts with, and consumes data that is based and stored in the enterprise’s IT environment.
2. Multiple Dependencies:
Multiple dependencies with on-premises environments creates problems during lift and shift.
Mitigation Strategy: The best bet is to consider solutions that test before migration and which identify and remedy the differences in environments. Seek the services of a cloud services provider who is able to replicate or offer services that are relevant to your way of doing things on-premise.
3. Data Gravity:
Data Gravity is the situation where it becomes difficult to test if an application plus its data works properly in the cloud, because most replication-based migration tools require data to be moved first, and the application second, thus creating an improper sequencing problem.
Migration Strategy: Only use live migration approaches and tools that stream the whole instance. Live migration eliminates the need for complex system synchronization and thus avoids consistency issues.
4. Management And Control Of The Data Streams Within The Heterogeneous Environment
Databases that require a consistent view and transactional production servers that continuously generate or update data are an issue. Once the data is migrated, the system must track and synchronize new changes to the production application. There are security concerns about storing production data in the public cloud, because of lack of control on multiple and different data repositories across the many different IT environments.
Migration Strategy: Look for solutions that offer direct and secured connectivityin and out of the cloud, and implement them in a highly available configuration.
5. Cloud Gravity
IT teams require workload mobility for effective data and workload migration to ensure it does not adversely affect business or introduce costs.
Migration Strategy: In case of enterprise applications that are data-rich, then evaluate migration solutions for speed and simplicity. And for portability and interoperability of stateless applications in a multi-cloud strategy, using containersis a good idea.
Added latency when using cloud applications over the Internet is an issue that a lot of applications face.
Migration Strategy: Use optimization services from a cloud service provider to help tide over latency issues.
7. Architectural difference:
Modifications may be required as your application design and architecture may not completely follow distributed cloud architectures.
Migration Strategy: The way to go ahead in these cases is to do a piece-by-piece evaluation and move only pertinent features.
Choosing a cloud service provider may seem like a tight-rope walk, in the decision making stage. The best way forward is to study your desired architecture thoroughly and make sure you choose a cloud resource that works for your enterprise at scale, helps manage fluctuations, and supports migration of key applications. All this needs to be done without adding complexity, compromising the data, or locking you in.
Register for the upcoming Microsoft Inspire conference, July 9–13, 2017 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. It is a great place to network, learn and collaborate with large managed cloud vendors.
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