6 Pitfalls DevOps Should Avoid When Migrating to Cloud
Cloud computing is changing the way we work and do business. The cloud offers a reality where physical and virtual resources can be gathered, put to work, and returned within seconds. Effectively, it provides businesses instant access to robust infrastructure from anywhere with network connectivity.
For most organizations today, the question isn’t so much will they migrate to the cloud, but when. Of course, many will attempt to hold onto on-premises infrastructure and legacy systems for as long as possible. The reality is that you should already be adopting cloud technologies for at least some of your business processes.
What Are the Main Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud?
Cloud computing services offer many features and benefits for organizations, far too many to cover in this article.
Here are some of the main benefits of cloud migration.
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Cloud solutions are services. This means you pay for them as a monthly or annual subscription. Barring hybrid and private cloud implementations, they can alleviate the need for businesses to purchase and maintain IT equipment and reduce the overall infrastructure footprint.
You can share resources with the cloud. You only use the resources temporarily and then return them when not needed. Because of this, most providers only charge you for what you use—every penny you spend has a purpose.
Cloud-based applications offer ultimate flexibility for remote and hybrid workers as well. It is becoming important, as a recent Gallup poll found that 67% of white-collar employees were at least partially working from home.
When you migrate to cloud services, you also give admin and leadership the ability to change things on the fly. Many cloud-based systems can connect to other tools with native and third-party API integrations for easy data sharing and rapid process velocities.
Legacy systems require physical hardware, user licenses, and other things. With a cloud platform, administrators can add and remove users with just a few clicks. For example, a cloud-based small business phone service could add another line in minutes. The next bill will include all additional user fees. Extra features and capabilities can also be added if and when necessary to scale with growth.
Enhanced Security and Compliance
Cloud providers must meet very high standards for data protection and security compliance. It means that even small teams can have instant access to enterprise-grade security simply by migrating to a cloud-based tool.
When a business migrates to the cloud, it can rest easy regarding emergency preparedness. Cloud vendors will have a host of redundant data centers spanning the globe. The cloud architecture allows for continuous and automatic backups of all your data.
Should disaster strike—computer failure, a virus, an office fire—have no fear. Once you sign onto a service, all your data will restore with merely a click or two.
Migrating to the cloud helps businesses connect all important data in one place. From customizable dashboards’ management can monitor, track, and adjust business processes in a central hub.
Save Time and Money Through Automation
Many cloud technologies are backed by powerful AI and machine learning. Cloud migration offers a fast and effective way for businesses to tap into these rich resources. Automation can help to eliminate time-wasting, but also enhance productivity. For example, an enterprise VoIP provider may include AI-powered virtual assistants that can deflect calls from your support team.
6 Common Cloud Migration Pitfalls to Avoid
1. Not Using the Best Partners and Team Members
Regardless of which model and cloud providers you decide on, every merchant will insist that migrating will simplify nearly everything for your business. These companies aren’t being disingenuous. But the picture the paint lies in is somewhere in the future. It requires a lot of effort and resources first.
Where many organizations fail is that they assume that migration will be a cinch or at least routine. They opt to do everything in-house without stopping to ask whether they have employees with the right skillset. Or they may push the project onto less experienced and junior team members.
In these cases, under-qualified teams are too far in over their heads before realizing the situation. You can avoid this by auditing the skills and knowledge of your DevOps and IT departments. When necessary, bring in the best consulting partners or sign up for digital libraries like the IEEE Computer Society to keep your team up-to-date.
Find services that offer tech knowledge and change management capabilities; pair them with your most valuable team members. You may spend a bit more on cloud migration, but you will save money, time, and frustration in the long run.
2. Runaway Costs
One of the beautiful features of working in the cloud is its efficient cost. Most standard packages run on pay-as-you-go. You only pay for the bandwidth, modules, containers, virtual machines, and other services you use. It sounds great because it helps you avoid paying for unused resources.
When migrating the bulk of your business systems, these costs can get out of hand rather quickly. It happens because many departments and stakeholders get on board. With so much to do, these departments will each own their cloud migration and onboarding.
While good for getting things done quickly, this autonomy can lead to siloing of all cloud adoption. Most organizations will have to run their due diligence on all the fine print before signing a contract. Unfortunately, many will fail to account for and understand what visibility measures are available for service usage.
A report in 2020 found that businesses waste 30% of their cloud computing spending. You avoid this massive waste of resources and inevitable sticker shock. It starts with your organization putting a data strategy in place.
A migration roadmap should depict how each department will adopt and use the new services and must be informed by every team leader. When in effect, the guide will help you more accurately forecast cloud spending and monitor it for red flags. This centralized system will allow your team to eliminate inefficiencies and duplication of workloads.
3. Lack of Cohesion
Any cloud solution you choose will come with built-in management tools. At first glance, these may seem perfect for anything you need, but a deeper look can be revealing. Unsurprisingly, these tools and add-ons are bespoke to the provider’s infrastructure. In other words, they don’t necessarily work as plug-and-play with your existing business tools.
Depending on your business, there’s a good chance you will need multi-cloud solutions to support your enterprise architecture. This means you are already adding variables when connecting tools and data from different sources. The goal of abandoning legacy systems is to solve problems and increase efficiency.
Instead, you are finding that cloud migration creates complex blockers that are slowing down or even breaking your process. Secondly, you may need at least some of your legacy functionality for an undetermined period, but you are having difficulty connecting it to your new cloud architecture (as expected). At this point, your solutions aren’t even performing at their original levels.
You can avoid a negatively performing cloud migration by first looking at the big picture. Find which solutions can work together as one platform to ensure system cohesiveness. You will need robust and resilient platforms that can run automated self-testing or provide rapid crowdsourced testing.
This means technologies that capable AI and machine learning power. AI-powered automation will streamline the process of identifying and troubleshooting roadblocks between your cloud and legacy systems.
4. Forgetting the Stakeholders
Those responsible for cloud migration breathe a sigh of relief when it goes according to plan. This is because there are so many things to get right, and each one that goes wrong can perpetuate delays across the board. Never forget that cloud migration is not a project to take lightly.
Like any high-priority project, a cloud migration requires the guiding hand of diligent governance. Setting up a data strategy and system to ensure cohesion will get organizations heading in the right direction. At this point, many make the mistake of putting IT solely in the driver’s seat.
What happens is a lack of input and accountability from all areas of the business. IT followed the plan, but is finding out that a CRM tool doesn’t work in a critical process for Sales (and the company). Also, security and compliance need addressing as customer data runs through non-standard streams. How did this happen? Those overseeing the migration forgot about the stakeholders).
To avoid a migration strategy that goes off-course, involve all the affected stakeholders from the beginning. Implement a centralized project management platform so that every stakeholder can monitor project tasks and make suggested adjustments as needed.
5. There Is No Baseline
When enterprises consider a cloud migration, they may buy into the sleekness of the technology and its long list of purported benefits. The aim will be to improve or innovate the existing business model and internal processes. Companies will expect monetary efficiency. They want to cut costs and increase revenue simultaneously.
These generally vague but lofty goals are fine if placed on the far-reaching, distant horizon. However, if leadership is focused solely on money from the outset, it can make life difficult for everyone. The board won’t be getting the “performance” they expect, and the stakeholders’ voices will be drowned out.
A good deal of involved may be expecting to downsize IT together. But don’t expect to abandon the need for your software developers and engineers. Cloud migration doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for work, but changes how you will work.
All will likely arrive at the same conclusion: the migration was a failure. In these instances, many organizations may aggressively pivot to reinstate their existing and legacy systems. That’s a very expensive mistake.
We aren’t living in a computer simulation functioning as human batteries (at least, we don’t think so). But if truly “there is no spoon,” the spoon can bend at our whim. Likewise, if there is no baseline for expectations, they can sway, stretch, and transform into something completely unrecognizable.
You can be better than those aimlessly wandering companies. Regardless of big picture company goals, the only way you can weigh the benefits of the cloud is by creating a performance baseline and testing against it. This will serve as a watchdog to monitor dips where pathways or tools are certainly broken.
Take a performance baseline pre-migration and then again post-migration. Consider as many as necessary, such as component running times, application response times, API metrics, test applications, and automation functions.
6. Avoid Trying to Do Everything
Most businesses begin the migration process with some goals and expectations in hand. During the planning and initial project phases, decision-makers can be quickly enticed by the possibilities of the cloud. This leads to a creeping scope of the infrastructure and systems to be replaced.
Before you know it, what was once a relatively straightforward upgrade has now taken on a new life. Implementation is becoming increasingly complicated, and everything is behind schedule. Amid another sprint, your IT team is frustrated that the goalposts keep getting moved. And the stakeholders are wondering if any of the promises can be delivered.
Prevent stretching yourself too thin by adhering to a more practical scope for your migration.
Another thing to consider is there isn’t just one type of cloud migration. There are six types of cloud migration. They are the following:
- Retiring: this involves auditing your systems and ridding the most obsolete; replace these with the cloud.
- Rehosting: copy data and application into the cloud platform; no changes involved.
- Replatforming: you are migrating data, but moving to the OS and applications based on the cloud provider.
- Repurchasing: moving from a legacy system (or cloud platform) to another cloud platform.
- Refactoring: this is the most intensive. It requires building new and native applications in the cloud platform.
- Retaining: the hybrid model where you keep some applications on-premises and move others to the cloud.
Whatever your priorities, pick a cloud provider with strengths that match your most pressing needs. Start with a less complex migration type whenever possible. Chances are that many of your back-end legacy systems can do with an upgrade that will eliminate redundancies with things like automation.
For example, say your business guides customers on how to get started with affiliate marketing. Think about migrating services that boost customer sales and support before worrying about tools for accounting and finance.
Migrate to the New World
It’s time to join the forward-thinking companies of today and plan your cloud migration.
The good news is that with so many options available, your organization can find just what it needs. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel—follow the best practices, and you will avoid the common pitfalls of cloud migration.
Don’t wait until your legacy systems are entirely futile. Get moving now and get a head start on the slow-moving competition.
About the Writer
Tanhaz Kamaly is a Partnership Executive at Dialpad, a modern cloud-hosted business communications platform that turns conversations into the best opportunities, both for businesses and clients. He is well-versed and passionate about helping companies work in constantly evolving contexts, anywhere, anytime. Check out his LinkedIn profile.