While many organizations migrate to the cloud as a way to more effectively allocate their IT budget and resources, the cost of a cloud migration can be hard to predict. In this post, I’ll offer cloud migration best practices and a solution to help keep these cloud costs under control.
How cloud migration helps control cloud costs
Best practices are, by definition, designed to help you avoid issues that can drive up costs. These cloud migration best practices are focused on the kinds of missteps I see most often in cloud migration projects.
1. Identify infrastructure issues early
My most memorable example of an infrastructure issue was with a customer in Europe that wanted to migrate workloads to our data center in New York. They had planned out exactly how they wanted to get it done and by when. Unfortunately, they hadn’t considered the lack of connectivity and the slow internet speeds in their geography. They would have been transmitting data for months (well past their target go-live date) had we not intervened to suggest a better way.
2. Assess your skill set honestly
Since migrating workloads to the cloud has become easier, many business leaders just assume their in-house staff can manage the project. Maybe they can, but if they’re new to a platform or don’t have the bandwidth, augmenting internal resources with external expertise saves everyone from a lot of headaches..
3. Look at applications realistically
Is your ERP system really ready for the cloud? Or does it need to be refactored or replaced to ensure data security and performance? Migrating a monolithic, data-intensive, and mission-critical application like ERP is challenging enough. The last thing you need is to decide mid-migration that the application will create more problems in the cloud than it’s worth.
4. Plan for the migration holistically
So, you’ve decided to leave your ERP application on-premises while you migrate more cloud-ready applications. Make sure you understand the interdependencies between applications, so you don’t break any essential connections during the move. When we work with migration customers, we use a special tool to assess interdependencies and then group the migration project into phases to ensure nothing gets broken in the process.
5. Factor in the human element
One of the costs that I see underestimated time and time again is the human cost. Generally speaking, planning for a migration is a big job that can last for months. Depending on the role they play, staff can find it challenging to do their “day job” while also working on the migration project. And, because the actual migration work is often done on nights and weekends, it may not be feasible for some to work the extra hours.
6. Create a cloud governance framework
Ignoring your cloud resources can create all kinds of headaches – cost, performance, security, compliance, unplanned downtime, etc. A cloud governance framework covers the policies and practices you will use to ensure your cloud continues to meet your objectives.
Cloud Readiness Assessments augment cloud migration best practices
A well-planned migration project can help you control migration costs, as well as ongoing monthly costs. A Cloud Readiness Assessment is the first step. This readiness assessment can help you control costs by in many ways. Here are just five:
Uncover unforeseen obstacles
Easily the most dangerous obstacles in any migration project are the ones you don’t see ahead of time, and therefore, can’t plan for. These obstacles often require you to backtrack the migration, redo work already completed, and sometimes even start from scratch. The Cloud Readiness Assessment looks at people, processes, and infrastructure to ensure that everything is in alignment.
Align IT to the business
What are your cloud migration objectives? When we ask this question of IT and business leadership, we often get very different responses. This can lead to poor decision making, not because those involved didn’t know what they were doing, but because they had different end goals in mind. Gaining alignment is a core goal of the Cloud Readiness Assessment.
Build a better business case
Our Cloud Readiness Assessments typically include a cost/benefit analysis to help you build the business case for your cloud strategy. A natural benefit of this analysis is an estimate of migration costs as well as monthly costs.
Identify cost savings opportunities
During the Cloud Readiness Assessment, we’ll work with you to validate your choice of cloud platforms. As part of the assessment, we’ll also help you identify specific cloud features, like Reserved Instances, that can help you save money.
Visibility isn’t a cost-savings benefit, but it can help you budget appropriately for each phase of the migration. Laying out the roadmap during the Cloud Readiness Assessment helps ensure everyone knows what to expect and when.
While it may seem unimaginable to execute a cloud migration without a readiness assessment, it happens. In fact, a Forrester Study from a couple of years ago found that only 68% of enterprise infrastructure decision makers believed that developing a comprehensive cloud strategy was a critical priority.
We can help you with your cloud migration
Even if you plan to handle every aspect of your migration project in-house, it helps to work with an outside provider, like TierPoint. Because we’ve managed hundreds of migration projects, chances are good we will spot pitfalls your internal team can’t see. If you’d like to learn more about our Cloud Migration services, visit us on the web or reach out to one of our Cloud Migration advisors.