Cloud adoption is increasing rapidly, with cloud-specific spending expected to grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending by 2020. However, a recent report revealed that 35% of cloud spending is wasted. With this in mind, Jon Lucas, Co-Director of Hyve Managed Hosting, gives his four steps to attaining successful cloud adoption for businesses.
The appetite for cloud adoption is growing, with Gartner forecasting worldwide public cloud revenue to grow 17% in 2020, and cloud computing to be among the top three areas where most global CIOs will increase their investment next year. However, businesses face challenges with cloud adoption, and a recent report by RightScale found that 35% of cloud spending is wasted. Budgets are being allocated to underused resources and poorly planned migrations, meaning that businesses are not getting the full value of their cloud services.
One way to avoid careless migrations and idle resources is to implement a thought-out cloud adoption strategy that can be used as a roadmap to successfully chart and manage your migration to the cloud. These strategies improve processes and help businesses architect platforms that can grow with the company. Systems that are not properly architected can cause many issues further along the line, so a proper cloud adoption strategy is a vital part of digitally transforming a business in future years.
Below are my four easy steps to assist businesses with creating and executing a successful cloud adoption strategy.
Before migrating to the cloud, businesses need to look at their existing platforms and solutions. Not all applications can run on or move seamlessly to the cloud, so this must be taken into consideration. If some applications require dedicated servers, this will affect a business’ cloud model. It is essential that businesses define their requirements and potential growth when migrating to the cloud, as this will directly impact the cloud platform. By addressing business goals and analysing the impact of moving to the cloud, a clear project plan can be put together.
In addition to this, organisations should carry out a gap analysis to identify any existing problems and other services that could potentially increase business profitability. Migrating to the cloud is an opportunity to rectify these existing problems in the IT architecture. Once this has been decided, it is vital that businesses consider the level of IT management required. Is there an in-house IT department that can manage the cloud on their behalf, or would it be more cost-effective to outsource to an external IT team to run it?
Once the research phase is complete, it is time to put together a specific cloud strategy. Businesses can choose from a range of cloud services including public, private and hybrid. If they are unsure as to which solution would fit their requirements best, a managed service provider (MSP), with Technical Solutions Architects, can help to design a cloud solution that is tailored specifically to the requirements of a business. The MSP can ensure that the company has enough resources, servers and a solution that meets their budget.
When the cloud platform or solution has been architected, businesses can begin to think about how to migrate data from the existing provider to their new one. Depending on the specific applications they wish to migrate, this process will vary. This is why it’s crucial to map out the required actions and internal resources with a timescale as part of a high-level project plan.
One model of migration is referred to as a ‘lift and shift’ operation, where enterprises move their data and applications to the cloud without making any modifications. In other cases, it may be more beneficial to make changes to the application code or architecture before migrating it. Without proper planning, cloud migration could negatively affect the workload and lead to higher costs, which is why many businesses find working with an MSP to be a simpler and more beneficial method.
Once a business has planned its migration and its cloud has been built, the next step is to start deploying its data and applications. Having an MSP that can be contacted in case of a problem or when an upgrade is needed is vital during the migration and deployment stages. Ensuring a business has a high-level project plan for the migration will be really useful when the new solution is delivered. Migration may be done in stages, depending on how the Technical Solutions Architect has planned the move. A testing plan should also be in place once the migration is complete to ensure that all sites and applications are working correctly.
It would be prudent for organisations to look for an MSP with a rapid and responsive technical team, which means they will be fully supported throughout the migration and delivery processes. MSPs that provide multiple channels for communication also provide effective support to organisations. Providing a ticketing system where tickets can be raised with priority requirements set provides a seamless service. This should not replace the support team’s availability via telephone, however, where a query is put straight through to an engineer who will have worked on the entire migration process with the business.
The final ongoing step is for a business to regularly assess their cloud platform to ensure that it is working for the business as a whole, as the cloud must be able to scale with the demands of the company. It is also important to identify features that work and those that could be improved, as well as ensuring that all software is patched and kept up to date.
MSPs will be able to suggest any amendments or performance tuning to improve the platform. If any additional services are added, the platform may even need to be re-architected to ensure that the server is working to its full capacity. It is within the role of the MSP to advise businesses on continuing the evolution of their cloud.
Cloud migration can be time-consuming if not managed properly, especially if businesses do not have rollback capabilities in place. A lot of public cloud platforms not only charge high fees to migrate to the cloud, but also provide very little support during the process, which often causes issues for businesses without in-house IT expertise.
MSPs should be able to carry out migrations around the clock, ensuring minimal disruption to websites and applications while providing a team of engineers to manage the whole process. This will give businesses a peace of mind that their migration will run as smoothly as possible.