Been There…Done That…Still Have the Tattered T-Shirt

The world of IT is undergoing a paradigm shift as traditional network elements transition to a cloud-based model. We no longer live in a world where computing power and capabilities are directed by the number of servers you run within your IT organization.

Cloud computing allows organizations of all sizes and various industries to take advantage of a more efficient and flexible way to organize, manage, deliver and consume IT services. But the cloud model is more than just a set of new technologies – it is a new approach for provisioning and managing IT resources within an organization. You recognize and understand the many benefits that a cloud infrastructure can provide your business – but how do you migrate to this new model?

Many organizations understand the benefits of cloud computing but are challenged with determining an appropriate migration plan from the traditional distributed client-server model to a cloud-based model.  There is not a “one size fits all” migration plan when it comes to determining the best means of transitioning to a cloud environment for your business. Most Enterprises are not staffed with the personnel or the technical expertise necessary to create a comprehensive migration plan to shift their operational environment towards a cloud infrastructure.

The following nine lessons learned from over seven years of supporting Enterprise migration to the Cloud should be considered to help your organization determine the best cloud architecture to fit your needs and how to make that migration no matter where you are in your journey towards cloud services.

  1. Use a Strategy & Roadmap approach to determine how best to consume cloud services – the approach should identify solution alternatives and compare the migration costs of each alternative which will lead to a specific recommendation moving forward.
  2. Create Requirements & Identify Use Cases – the Strategy and Roadmap approach should create the requirements for your potential cloud model and clearly identify the use cases that will be supported within that model.
  3. Use the Strategy and Roadmap approach (for those Enterprises who are under 40% virtualization) as an opportunity to evaluate the cost and technical feasibility of moving additional applications to a virtualized environment.
  4. Consider Federated (Community) Cloud services to spread costs over multiple business units and/or external suppliers – this is one method in which IT can transform itself from a cost center by billing back services to business units based on the services and resources utilized by their operations.
  5. The Migration Plan must identify the application stack(s) to be migrated and the associated dependencies between applications both from an application and business process perspective.  Application transactional rates should also be clearly understood in terms of provisioning VMs, memory and storage.  Newly developed applications should be validated on the cloud platform thru a pilot.  Use this information to create a Migration Method of Procedure (“MOP”) which will guide the initial migration and any other periodic migrations in the future.
  6. Mitigate risk by beginning the migration with Tier 2 and 3 applications – the lessons learned from these early migrations will pay dividends when you migrate the mission-critical Tier 1 applications.
  7. Focus on the Orchestration, Federation, Provisioning and Management Model (“OFPM Model”) early –  Many Enterprises evaluate the OFPM model much too late in the process and often find themselves locked in to a less-than optimum solution.
  8. Migration to a cloud model often adversely impacts  existing Management, Data Loss Protection and Audit, Risk and Governance models – evaluate the solution alternatives on the front end band evaluate the degree to which each alternative may impact your existing models.
  9. Security, Capacity Planning and Business Continuity and Disaster Recover policies and plans should be reviewed in the context of the selected cloud model and amendments made where appropriate.

This comprehensive cloud strategy and migration approach won’t necessarily reduce the complexity of your migration to cloud services, but it will result in an optimized approach for migration which will mitigate risk and lead to successful execution of your strategic transformation

What do you think?  What strategies have you deployed that helped you the most in your Cloud migration efforts?  What would you recommend to others?  We look forward to hearing from you.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team