Changing a tire on a race car while it's still driving around the track at top speed: That's what migrating to the cloud can feel like. You can't stop your business, so how do you keep it running while migrating data and applications at the same time?
According to Frost & Sullivan's 2017 Cloud User Survey, 57 percent of businesses cite migration concerns as one of their top five reasons not to deploy to the cloud. Successfully migrating is a challenge, but it's not impossible.
The decision about where to put your data and applications — in the cloud, on premises or a hybrid combination — is a complex one for any business. It's based on a number of critical operational factors, such as storage and performance needs, security and compliance considerations, budget and sometimes even the age of the application (moving legacy applications is a major constraint for many businesses).
Look Before You Leap
To make an informed decision about migrating to the cloud, you must understand your entire IT environment. Once you've made that commitment, you have to execute the plan without slowing down your business.
What does it take to migrate on the run?
- Think about what you really need to migrate. Do you have to physically move the data? Can you realize advantages by using a hybrid cloud/on-premises solution?
- Take a thorough inventory of everything that goes into or out of your databases and applications. This is a good hygiene practice anyway, but mission-critical if you plan to migrate anything to the cloud.
- Map out the dependencies. Analyze your entire system to understand which databases and applications are attached, how they interact, where they're located now (on premises or cloud) and whether any are legacy systems (which can be harder to move off premises). If you don't have a complete list of these dependencies, making a move could quite literally shut down your business. For example, what if you move an application but not the data it needs to perform?
- Understand your business continuity and disaster recovery policies. How often is data replicated so you can fail over in the event of a problem? To where does the data replicate — cloud or on premises?
Migrating takes time, too. Enough time (and bandwidth) that for almost any migration, you'll need to replicate data as you keep the application or database running. This is especially critical for businesses or applications that must run 24/7. You can't shut down an e-commerce site for hours to make a transition. It needs to continue running while you replicate and move data, which can take days or weeks.
For your business, migration to the cloud may be the right option even if it does require time and effort. You can take steps to accomplish this on your own or with the guidance of a third-party vendor.
No matter how you proceed, the most important question to ask before undertaking a migration is: Why do we want to move this database or application to the cloud? The next most important question to ask: Am I ready for the race?
If you would like to learn more, about the challenges that are top-of-mind for IT leaders in the cloud era, watch our Hybrid Cloud Exploration Webinar series with Frost & Sullivan.