To many, moving to the cloud appears as the be-all-end-all solution to transforming the business, complete with the promise of cost savings, speed of deployment, and scalability. There’s a presumption that it’s just about lifting and shifting everything to the cloud once the decision to migrate is made. But that’s an oversimplification. Without a proper strategy in place, the reality of transitioning to the cloud rarely matches the expectation. COVID-19 may have accelerated the rush to the cloud, but you shouldn’t jump in without a plan.
A lot of companies come to Wavestone looking for help or advice regarding having a successful cloud migration. Our approach begins with due diligence and a deep understanding of workloads and interdependencies between apps, and apps and infrastructure. So much rest on understanding your portfolio of applications and knowing what the limitations are:
- Are there any legal or licensing issues that would be important to know about this application?
- What’s the availability and recoverability of the application?
- What’s required technically? What kind of hosting environment is required by the application architecture? Are there any other technical challenges with that application or supporting infrastructure?
- And finally, how much effort (time and cost) is it going to take to move that application out from where it currently resides?
To help facilitate the decision-making process, we designed a matrix that provides the parameters to determine what should and shouldn’t go to the cloud, what may need to be modified, and what can’t go at all.
Public Cloud Eligibility Tree for a
Healthcare Industry Player
The planning of a cloud migration needs to begin with a candid dialogue between IT and the business—and this matrix is the tool to get that conversation going. While the example above was intended for a healthcare player, the basic framework consists of key decision points that apply to any industry in a cloud rationalization exercise:
- Is there any kind of legal, state, or international regulations you need to consider? If yes, then you need to find a certified provider who can keep your data compliant with those regulations.
- Are there limitations in the software licensing contract that limit hosting in the cloud?
- The cost of having an application hosted in the cloud can end up costing an enormous amount of money. While the idea of five-nine availability (99.999%) is attractive, how much are you willing to pay vs. the risk and cost of downtime?
- Are you comfortable leaving that control of availability to someone else, especially if the application is life-critical?
Technical (infrastructures, complexity, and applications)
- Are there infrastructure constraints such as legacy operating systems, unique hardware requirements, and non-standard configurations?
- Is the application latency-sensitive or does it have hardcoded IP addresses and hostnames?
- What’s the complexity of the app? Does it have other application interdependencies?
- What are your migration costs?
- Does your team need to be retrained on how to manage an application in the cloud?
- What is your production or ongoing costs? For example, in comparing the cost of an on-premises solution with a cloud-based one, many organizations focus on the cost savings of no longer having to purchase hardware and software, while overlooking intangibles such as labor, quality of service, performance, flexibility, and more. It’s important to remember that unlike outsourcing, one retains the cost of operations. Taking that into account can change the equation of how much is being saved.
At the end of this exercise, you’ll be able to determine if the app is eligible for a public or private cloud model or needs to be hosted in a legacy environment. From there, you would be able to construct an effective migration plan. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to defining your cloud operating model, and the end-result often comprises a hybrid of public cloud, private cloud, and traditional IT environments.
IT infrastructure optimization is different for each enterprise, and it requires a methodical review of the applications at the core of your business operations. Complete and comprehensive workload profiles during the discovery and planning phase are critical to optimize costs, maximize benefits, and ensure the overall success of cloud migration.
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