10 Critical Cloud Migration Planning Factors

This is a series contributed by Raj Dhingra, Chief Executive Officer, CloudVelox to help VCloud News readers in their journey to the cloud. As you decide to migrate workloads to the cloud, you should ensure that you have crossed out all necessary items in your cloud migration checklist. Raj is a twenty-plus year veteran of the technology industry with a track record of building five category leaders in cloud computing, virtualization, security and networking. The series is split in ten chapters; this post covers the first chapter. VCloud News will cover additional chapters as they become available in future.

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Cloud computing is synonymous with IT disruption. How users consume products and services is changing how businesses operate (see CNBC Top 50 Disruptors of 2016). How Enterprise IT supports the business is undergoing dramatic change. In turn, how CIOs plan a hybrid IT strategy transforming their datacenters and leveraging public clouds is changing how they look at the world of their applications and data.

A recent CIO survey by JP Morgan concludes that big companies are shifting their workloads to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, while keeping IT budgets tight. The survey also projects “41.6% of corporate workloads at big companies are expected to be running in the public cloud within the next five years, up from 16.2% today.”

With an estimated 400 million servers needed worldwide by 2020, that level of cloud migration would mark a MASSIVE shift. Enterprises face a daunting challenge to migrate their on-premises workloads into the cloud. However, unlike the famed and perilous wildebeest migration on the Serengeti plains, enterprise workloads can smoothly and securely migrate to the cloud if Enterprise IT considers the following critical planning factors:

  1. Why Migrate Your Applications To The Cloud?

  2. Three Different Paths to Cloud Migration: Different Time/Cost/Skills

  3. Selecting Applications: Good Candidates for Migration

  4. Selecting Applications: Bad Candidates for Migration

  5. Pitfalls in Migrating Complex Apps to the Cloud

  6. Discovery versus Assessment for Cloud Migration

  7. Software Licensing: Can I run this app in the cloud?

  8. Manual versus Automation: Pros and Cons for Cloud Migration

  9. Cost Analysis: On Premises vs Cloud

  10. Critical People Factors: Right Stakeholders? Right Skills?

Chapter 1. Why Migrate Your Applications to the Cloud?

Common themes for moving existing enterprise workloads to the cloud are “cost savings”, “modernization” and “scale.” Some of the common cloud migration drivers, we have seen are:

Upcoming hardware refresh requiring large budget: Most capex purchases and hardware refreshes are closely scrutinized today. The cost of buying datacenter hardware (servers, storage, networking gear) especially for non-mission critical applications is being compared to the extremely low cost and pay-as-you go model of the public cloud equivalent. Sophisticated IT managers know that while the capital cost of hardware is only 24%, with operational and software accounting for almost 70% of the ownership costs . Many enterprises are opting to move their workloads and run them on the cloud to avoiding costly hardware refresh cycles.

Upcoming data center lease renewal: Tight budgets are making it hard to justify having your infrastructure in too many or expensive data centers. CIOs with high capital expenses are looking for cost savings in reducing the number of data centers or at least reducing their footprint in leased data centers. Frequently, data centers that are hosting a secondary environment (for business continuity/disaster recovery) come under tight scrutiny. Cloud IaaS can replace a secondary data center that is expensive and requires high maintenance. Many enterprises start evaluating the migration of their workloads at least a year before their upcoming lease renewal.

Cost Savings: Another target for cost savings is workloads with low utilization. These could consist of physical server environments, or workloads with cyclical utilization where business demands picks up during certain times of the month or year. Rather than overprovision the environment with expensive infrastructure, the on-premises environment can be provisioned for average usage, while taking advantage of the cloud for peak usage.

Improved availability/recoverability: Here workloads can fall into two categories: i) mission critical apps that need a low Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of hours rather than days can leverage the significantly lower recoverability time using a cloud than traditional DR or backup; and ii) critical apps that require business continuity but have not been protected due to the high expense of traditional disaster recovery solutions.

Leverage new PaaS stack: Some enterprises are shifting their dev/ops environment from on-premises to a cloud-based Platform As A Service model for development and release agility, enhanced collaboration, standardization and both opex and capex savings over maintaining their own infrastructure and development environment. Using Azure for .NET application development is an example of such a shift from on-premises to cloud.

Business growing faster than IT can support: Some high growth businesses feel constrained by on-premises infrastructure and IT resources available to support the scale and agility needed to meet their customer needs and hence the urgent need to shift their existing workloads to the cloud. In many cases, the workloads are also re-factored to take advantage of cloud native services.

In summary, cost savings, modernization and scale are the key themes for enterprises migrating their existing workloads from their data centers to the cloud.

Please watch this space as we add the second chapter to this series from Raj. We encourage you to subscribe to the VCloud News Newsletter to keep up to date or send an e-mail to info@vcloudnews.com 

About the Author

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Raj Dhingra is a twenty-plus year veteran of the technology industry with a track record of building five category leaders in cloud computing, virtualization, security and networking.

Before joining CloudVelox, Raj was CEO of NComputing, where he led its transformation from a device-centric thin client company selling to Education and SMB customers, to a cloud software-centric solutions company selling to Enterprise, SMB and key verticals. Prior to NComputing, Raj was Vice President and General Manager at Citrix where he led the company’s desktop virtualization business from zero to half a billion dollars in sales growth over a 3-year period. In addition to his leadership role in global virtualization companies, Raj has held executive leadership positions in public companies, including McAfee, 3Com and SonicWALL, and at startups, including IntruVert Networks (acquired by McAfee) and PortAuthority Technologies (acquired by Websense). Raj is recognized as an expert in virtualization and has been a speaker for industry conferences, TV and recently at TEDx.

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