What you must consider before transitioning to the cloud

Cloud solutions are reliable, they’re easy to use, and there are the economic benefits of using less hardware and paying for only what you use.

However, few businesses will migrate everything at once, and instead, will slowly transition applications over a period of time. New applications may however be prime candidates for the cloud.

Functionality, risk and cost are reasons a firm may not want to move certain workloads to the cloud. As such, a critical first step is being able to migrate applications or workloads while continuing to meet the organisation’s service level and governance requirements.

The compatibility test

Implementing a hybrid model allows businesses to use different solutions to accommodate multiple workloads and applications, mixing public and private cloud, and physical servers. That said, not all providers will have a set-up that will work in complete synergy with all applications and workloads.

Many businesses don’t carry out sufficient due diligence and end up signing contracts with providers that aren’t right for them – negating the benefits that the cloud offers.

To prevent this from happening, organisations must find out whether a provider’s solution will operate effectively with existing platforms and applications. Thorough testing is key to understanding whether there is compatibility between new and old systems.

Some workload types are obvious candidates for the public cloud – like test and development. Here, when scale or adoption rates are difficult to determine the flexibility of the cloud reduces risk. Equally, with the ability to utilise massive resources for short bursts of time, embracing the cloud can significantly reduce time to market.

A truly integrated hybrid solution requires automation between on-premise workloads and those in the public and private cloud. It could hinge on the hardware or software in use and whether it allows the flexibility to switch and work between the two environments. This ensures that applications perform as they should and businesses have the control they need.

Also, accessible from anywhere in the world, free of geographical constraints, the cloud facilitates easy global expansion. However, international organisations should ensure that their cloud provider offers a consistent service in all regions in which they operate before embarking on a mass migration.

The providers’ global coverage is also important for businesses considering entering new markets. Before investing in large and expensive data centres, companies are first able to test the waters through the cloud, enabling them to see, with relatively little expense, whether expansion into that market would be successful or not.

Realising the benefits

To achieve and maintain the right size cloud environment, businesses must work alongside providers to ensure the required tools are in place. For example, organisations must be able to use the application programming interface and the user interface in the same way, both programmatically and to obtain information about the cloud environment.

Furthermore, quality reporting is vital in enabling organisations to identify and interpret trends. A high quality report can be used to set up automation, scaling up and down operations as needed – for example, by automatically turning off a machine that nobody’s logged into for a few weeks, or that’s only used during the day when you’re running tests.

Through automation, companies can eliminate waste, enabling an accurate real time view of the running costs of their cloud applications.

There may not be any shortcuts to the cloud, but the benefits are worth the journey. It can be a long road and migration will undoubtedly be a smoother experience when carried out with a cloud provider that has the right enablers in place – empowering businesses to reach their goals.

Image source: Shutterstock

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