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CIOs increasingly look to the cloud when they need a scalable, cost-effective, and high-availability computing environment. They continue to replace their organizations’ outdated, and often under-performing, legacy systems with the cloud, as well as expand existing computing environments with cloud resources. But transitioning existing data and applications to the cloud isn’t a simple undertaking.

Successful cloud migration requires research and planning to ensure that the new cloud environments can meet all the organization’s needs. Migration is a multi-stage process that requires not only thoughtful planning but expertise in cloud services, security, and development.

What you need to successfully map a cloud journey

There are several strategic components that must be part of any cloud migration plan. Your cloud strategy should include the following elements:

Defined outcomes

What are the benefits or outcomes that your organization wants from its new cloud environment? Will it improve web site performance or reduce IT operating costs? Some of the many reasons for cloud migration include downsizing IT staff, eliminating hardware and software maintenance, increasing uptime, improving IT security, disaster recovery, providing distribute access to applications, or gaining access to new technologies. Defining what you want to achieve helps to keep the project on track and ensures a better return on your migration investment.

Achievable metrics

Metrics will enable you to evaluate the success of a cloud migration. Select ones that best reflect the goals of the migration. These might include average response time or peak response time, data security exposures, application availability, memory and server utilization rates, data storage costs, monthly downtime, change in IT operating costs, and IT productivity.

Workload requirements

It’s equally critical to evaluate the workloads to be migrated to the cloud and consider the pros and cons of doing so. Workloads and applications vary in their requirements and in the type of cloud environments they need. Different workloads may require near-real-time response rates, robust security for compliance, rapid scalability for peak loads, or accessibility across multiple geographic locations. In addition, many will have interdependencies with other applications, meaning these will need to be migrated together. I recommend working closely with application and workload owners to determine the best method for modernizing them. Read more about this in my recent blog post: An App and Workload Strategy for the Cloud (Dell IT Cloud Journey Series).

As you evaluate your workloads, also consider the cloud-readiness of each application. Some may be easily re-hosted to the cloud with minimal modification while others will have to be re-factored or restructured to update the APIs and architecture.  

Cloud services

Another consideration is the type of cloud services you need. Do you require a cloud platform on which to rehost existing systems or to develop new cloud-native applications? Or do you need infrastructure services to augment existing resources, such as additional storage capacity? If you need to quickly implement an off-the-shelf application, you might want a cloud-based application service.

Depending on the cloud services you need, you also must decide whether to develop a private cloud environment, public cloud, or manage a mix of the two. Each offers pros and cons. A public cloud platform uses a shared architecture to reduce costs. A private cloud platform belongs to a single customer who bears all the costs of hardware and software, but also enjoys more control over the environment. Many organizations have a hybrid or multicloud environment that mixes platforms based on the unique needs of the workloads.

Cloud resources

Unless you have all the cloud resources you need in-house--including hardware, software, data center, and IT talent, you’ll need an outside cloud services provider, or possibly several. It’s preferable to have a single, principle provider with all or most of the services and resources you need. Having a single provider will greatly simplify your migration efforts, as well as your post migration management.

Look for providers with experience in cloud services for your industry as well as with new technologies and computing models such as Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), software-defined computing, edge computing, Internet-of-things, and artificial intelligence.

Learn more at the virtual BraveIT 2020

A good provider will start out with an assessment of your organization’s cloud readiness, to evaluate strengths and weaknesses and to inform your cloud migration strategy. It should offer a range of support services to ensure that every stage of your cloud migration goes smoothly, as well as provide management services to fill in gaps in your organization’s cloud expertise, such as managed security services, operations and management, help desk support, and disaster recovery. The best cloud providers are trusted advisors who will support you in every stage of your cloud migration journey, and after.

BraveIT 2020 - Virtual Event | September 16 & 17 | Register Now!Join us for our session, “Empowering Businesses to Thrive in a Multi-Cloud World” at TierPoint’s BraveIT 2020 conference in September. In this session, we will discuss some of the challenges businesses face when adopting the public cloud and how our technology offers solutions to those challenges. See the full conference agenda here. BraveIT 2020 brings IT professionals, technology thought leaders, cloud and infrastructure solution providers together on September 16 & 17 for a two-day virtual presentation of workshops, panels, interviews and peer-to-peer sessions on the future of IT. Register for free tickets to BraveIT 2020.

BraveIT Spotlights are guest blog posts from our 2020 BraveIT sponsors. Kevin Herrin is the Vice President of IT Infrastructure Platform & Engineering at Dell Technologies.

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