Once upon a time, moving to the cloud meant deciding between a public cloud or private cloud environment. There wasn’t much in between. Today, however, there are many options in cloud environments, and most companies have two or more cloud providers or platforms. This diversity makes cloud migration planning much more challenging, notes Bryan O’Neal, director of product management for TierPoint.

Cloud configurations and options make moving to the cloud cloudy

“There are a dizzying number of cloud models out there. There is still no one cloud model that fits all requirements,” said O’Neal, speaking at a recent webcast on hybrid and multicloud environments.

Here are just some examples of cloud options and configurations:

  • infrastructure services, such as cloud storage or compute services
  • public cloud platform services, such as Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure platform
  • software as a service, which provides turnkey cloud applications like Office 365 or Salesforce.com
  • hosted and on-premises private clouds

Also read: What Are the Different Cloud Platforms and How Do They Work?

Many organizations also have hybrid environments with both cloud and non-cloud options, like equipment in a colocation facility and on-premises legacy systems.

New technologies and cloud architectures are also expanding the range of options. Edge computing, IoT, 5G wireless, and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) all offer new capabilities as well as greater complexity.

What kind of cloud migration should you consider?

Companies differ in how much technological change they can tolerate, so a migration plan should take this into consideration. O’Neal identified three basic approaches to cloud migration, based on the company’s ability to handle change and the associated risks. A migration path may be conservative, moderate, or aggressive in the speed and sophistication of the cloud environment. Here’s what conservative and aggressive migrations looks like. A moderate migration includes elements from both types.

Conservative cloud migrations

A conservative migration path may be best for organizations with mostly on-premises systems and minimal experience with the cloud. The organization might start by moving one or two systems to a colocation provider, ideally one which also offers cloud services. A few months or a year later, it might expand its storage or compute capacity by adding cloud infrastructure services, or implement a small, hosted private cloud to provide additional storage or computing capabilities.

Aggressive cloud migrations

Alternatively, organizations that already have some cloud services might want a faster, more aggressive path to cloud adoption. An aggressive approach might start with a hybrid IT environment that combines cloud services and on-premises legacy systems, and progress to public software-as-a-service applications for marketing or project management. The final goal for an aggressive cloud adoption may be moving to a public, hyperscale cloud platform, with plans for developing future cloud-native applications.

 

Trusted advisors help businesses overcome cloud migration roadblocks

Whether conservative, moderate or aggressive, all cloud models will require expertise in areas such as cloud migration, workload sizing, cloud application development, multi-cloud integration, and other specialized skills. Even companies that have already adopted some cloud services will find they need more skills then they have in house. According to O’Neal, 86% of businesses surveyed say they have one or more skills gaps that hinder their ability to plan and implement cloud applications.

The most common solution is to turn to a managed services provider for help.

“A major challenge is the lack of in-house cloud expertise,” he said. “Instead of ramping up internal skills, it often makes more sense to bring in a trusted advisor that has invested in expertise across a wide variety of cloud technologies.”

A provider with a track record of experience in cloud and legacy technologies can save an IT department considerable time, money, and anxiety during their migration. Leading providers such as TierPoint work with multiple platform providers and network carriers and can give valuable advice on designing a hybrid cloud environment using best of breed solutions.

Also read: Top Cloud Migration Best Practices for Controlling Costs

A provider typically starts with a cloud readiness assessment and cloud migration strategy. They may also offer management services for clients that lack the expertise or desire to manage their cloud environment. For instance, they may offer performance monitoring, managed security services, tech support, or disaster recovery services. Many also have colocation facilities for legacy systems that can’t be migrated.  

“There’s considerable value in having a trusted advisor who knows multiple cloud platforms and understands the complexity of hybrid cloud environments,” said O’Neal. “They are important allies for any enterprise looking to navigate a cloud migration.”

Learn more about moving to the cloud

Bryan O’Neal presented on ActualTech Media’s Supporting Public, Private, Hybrid, and Multi-cloud Efforts Megacast. Bryan’s presentation demonstrated how a trusted hosting cloud provider can help you migrate to the cloud more efficiently (and with less headaches. Watch the full presentation below. 

 

Have any questions about your cloud migration? Contact us today to see how we can help your business find the right cloud or mix of cloud platforms.

IT Strategy Workshop - when an important decision needs to be made about Cloud, Security, or Disaster Recovery. Learn more...

Subscribe to the TierPoint blog We'll send you a link to new blog posts whenever we publish, usually once a week.