As organizations evaluate their options for expanding their digital infrastructure and bringing their IT costs under control, cloud computing platforms have become an increasingly popular choice. When it comes to migrating infrastructure and moving to the cloud, however, there are many important factors that need to be taken into consideration. Failing to address those issues could result in significant cloud migration challenges.
Why Companies are Moving to the Cloud
There’s plenty to like about the cloud. It requires very little in the form of upfront investment, which is appealing to companies just getting off the ground as well as those that are growing tired of maintaining their own infrastructure. Shifting IT costs from CAPEX investments to the more manageable OPEX side of the ledger remains one of the most appealing motivations for migrating to the cloud.
When it comes to performance, cloud computing offers critical advantages in terms of flexibility and scalability. For organizations that may not know what their capacity needs will be six months from now, having the ability to rapidly provision additional cloud resources allows them to pursue business opportunities without having to worry about whether or not their infrastructure can handle an increase in demand. As a company evolves over time, having versatile cloud resources at its disposal can allow it to roll out new services and functionality (such as taking advantage of big data processing) without having to completely rethink their infrastructure.
4 Common Cloud Migration Challenges
Just because cloud computing offers several advantages doesn’t mean organizations should rush blindly into migrating their data and applications. A data migration is always a complex undertaking that should never be rushed or taken for granted. Unfortunately, many companies make the leap into the cloud without taking the time to develop a comprehensive data migration plan that identifies and mitigates potential risks well ahead of a single byte of data being moved.
Problem 1: Lack of a Cloud Strategy
Moving to the cloud is one thing, but having a plan for how to use cloud computing resources once everything is moved there is quite another. Many organizations don’t think beyond the potential cost savings of moving to the cloud, which leads them to execute sloppy migrations that leave them unable to take full advantage of the platform’s potential. Ironically, it can also end up costing them even more money in the long run. If a company simply “lifts and shifts” its data and applications into the cloud without thinking about how it will build out new functionality in the future, it will probably wind up a poorly configured network that falls short of performance and reliability expectations. Any migration to the cloud needs to consider how the new environment will function in the future, which may require significant retooling of existing applications.
Problem 2: Migrating Too Fast
The versatile power of cloud computing platforms can be seductive, creating the impression that any system can simply be transported to a virtual cloud environment and continue to operate without any problems. Not only is this simply not the case, but it also fails to consider that every migration has the potential to uncover problems that long escaped notice in a company’s current IT environment. Depending upon the complexity of network systems, the longer they operate, the more likely they are to develop a number of unique quirks and workarounds that allow it to keep functioning smoothly. These solutions usually take the form of unusual configurations or customized scripts. Transitioning them into another operating environment can cause them to stop functioning properly or create unexpected errors. That’s why it’s important to do a thorough evaluation and inventory of all IT assets prior to a migration and to identify any potential problems. In some cases, complex programming workarounds that were necessary in a legacy system may not be needed at all in the new cloud environment, but the migration team first needs to know that those workarounds exist to avoid migrating them over with the existing applications and data.
Problem 3: Miscalculating Costs
Most organizations point to cost savings as the primary motivation for moving to the cloud, but some of them receive quite a bit of sticker shock once they’ve migrated over. In many cases, they find that they’re not saving much at all. While this is sometimes due to hidden fees or complicated “pay as you go” billing models that make scaling cloud services expensive, it’s often due to poor optimization of resources. When a company migrates its infrastructure from an on-premises data solution, it often takes a “one to one” migration approach that provisions enough cloud capacity to match its original server capacity. The problem, however, is that organizations routinely overestimate their capacity needs due to poor optimization and server sprawl. This leaves them paying for far more cloud computing resources than they actually need.
Problem 4: Forgetting About Security and Uptime
While public cloud platforms have dispelled most of the security concerns that plagued their early days, organizations are still understandably hesitant to store their mission-critical data and applications in the cloud. Just because the cloud provider takes steps to protect its users from external cyberthreats doesn’t mean that individual customers can afford to ignore their own security controls. Compliance standards still require them to develop strong information security policies to safeguard essential data and manage access to critical systems. There’s also data availability to consider. If a cloud provider only offers 99.99% uptime, companies using that platform to host their essential systems and services won’t be able to offer better data availability to their own customers.
Overcoming Cloud Migration Challenges with Colocation
One way of coping with cloud migration challenges is to partner with a colocation provider that can host essential systems on physical servers while offering direct on-ramp connectivity to the world’s leading cloud platforms. These hybrid IT arrangements allow organizations to reduce costs by taking advantage of the efficient power and cooling infrastructure of a state-of-the-art colocation data center while still retaining access to the scalable power of cloud computing. These data centers can also offer much greater levels of uptime than the leading cloud providers. All vXchnge data centers, for instance, offer 100% uptime SLAs to ensure the highest possible level of data availability and application uptime.
Colocation arrangements also offer much more control and visibility over data assets than cloud platforms provide. Customers in vXchnge data centers can use the award-winning in\site intelligent monitoring platform to monitor power and bandwidth utilization in real-time to get an accurate picture of their networking and IT needs. They can also use in\site to issue and track IT support tickets to resolve issues quickly, something they’ll rarely receive as one of many millions of cloud platform customers.
Build Your Hybrid IT Environment with vXchnge
With multiple data centers located in key growth markets around the US, vXchnge is well-positioned to help organizations build the hybrid IT environments that allow them to retain control over their vital data assets while accessing the expansive power of cloud computing. To learn more about how our colocation services can help you take advantage of the cloud without exposing your organization to unnecessary risk, contact one of our data center experts today.
About Ernest Sampera
Ernie Sampera is the Chief Marketing Officer at vXchnge. Ernie is responsible for product marketing, external & corporate communications and business development.