The Clouds keep rolling in for enterprises. In the 2018 State of the Cloud Survey performed by RightScale, they found that 96% of respondents now use the public, private, hybrid, or a mix of cloud computing models. To add some additional complexity to the mix, from the same survey, organizations are already running applications in 3.1 clouds and experimenting with 1.7 more for a total of 4.8 clouds.
Businesses report the key advantages of moving workloads to the Cloud are flexibility, agility, easy access to information, and cost savings. All of these great advantages though come with a price. Just like any migration project, there are a lot of moving pieces and a lot of places a company can run into issues.
There are really three silos of challenges that both cloud migrations and operating in the Cloud fall into.
- Planning – Without a well thought out plan, your migration is destined to have a rocky road to operational readiness.
- Risk Mitigation – It is key to understand all the risks, technology and business, that moving and operating in the Cloud creates. Adding risk mitigation to your initial plan will help ease the transition and make a surprise free environment when services go into production in the Cloud.
- Governance (Cost and Security) – The ease of use, agility, and elasticity of the Cloud are great benefits, but, they can also lead to runaway costs and a lack of adherence to security best practices.
At CCSI we break the migration and operation in the Cloud into 5 key areas.
It is a critical start with a full understanding of what exists in the environment today. All applications, services, and supporting infrastructure should be inventoried and documented. This will ensure nothing gets left behind and that there is a clear understanding of the current steady state infrastructure.
Once a complete inventory is created, each application and service can be evaluated to determine if it should be moved to the Cloud. If it is to move, is it best suited for public, private, or hybrid deployment or would it be better to move to a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. Perhaps it can be decommissioned because there are duplicate services, or it is not being used anymore. It may also be determined that the application or service is not a good target to move. Perhaps it is a legacy application that can’t support more modern infrastructures.
This is also a good time to start reviewing Cloud service providers that may fit the requirements of your applications, your infrastructure, and your budget.
- Migration Planning
Now that we know what we are moving and where it is moving, we can start to put together a plan. During the migration planning phase workloads are prioritized for the order they are going to be moved, a budget is put together, a business case is made for each workload that is to be moved, and pilot migrations are performed where further design, performance, or reliability testing is needed. Once this stage is complete, a full migration roadmap along with buy in from all the interested parties within the organization should be secured.
- Migration and Testing
Once a workload is migrated, full testing should take place. Testing for performance, load, security, resiliency and reliability should be performed. This is one of the most critical steps. It is much easier to mitigate issues BEFORE going into production.
- Go Live
This is probably the shortest but scariest part of the process. After all the hard work, the plug is pulled on the original system and the new system in the Cloud goes live. All support processes should be transitioned to support the new cloud infrastructure and all documentation should be updated. After any issues are ironed out, a post migration review is always valuable to see if there are any ways to improve the migration process for the next workload.
Now that your organization is officially “in the Cloud”, the challenge of governance begins. For effective cost control in cloud computing services, it is important to understand the different factors that impact an organization’s cost. Cloud cost management tools should be used to help discover the source of these inefficiencies. Unplanned costs are often due to a lack of visibility of current consumption and past trends. When organizations used on premise infrastructure, they financed it with fixed upfront CAPEX investments. Cloud consumption is an OPEX subscription model based on utilization. A shift in the approach to operational management is now needed. Optimizing for cost is as important as optimizing for performance.
Cloud-based governance tools can track usage and costs then alert administrators when costs are greater than budgeted. These same tools can be used to ensure corporate security policies are being applied to all workloads and that best practice security frameworks like Center for Internet Security (CIS) are being applied.
As cloud services move deeper into the organization, it’s as important as ever that technology leaders make informed decisions about which products, services, and payment models deliver the best results and have adequate planning in place – but it’s not easy.
About the Author:
Joe Goldberg is the Senior Cloud Program manager at CCSI. Over the past 15+ years, Joe has helped companies to design, build out, and optimize their network and data center infrastructure. Joe is also ITIL certified. Joe can be contacted via Twitter handle @DevOps_Dad or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more than 40 years, Contemporary Computer Services Inc. (CCSI) mission has been to help solve modern business challenges with technology solutions that optimize cost, reduce risk, simplify operations, and increase performance. CCSI provides the highest quality of service in the industry for the full spectrum of technologies–from containers to PCs, network infrastructures, managed services, IP telephony, cybersecurity, cloud services, SD-WAN, to storage solutions. At CCSI, we believe that technology exists to make our lives – and our businesses – simpler, more productive, secure, and ultimately more profitable. Let’s Grow Together. Learn more at www.ccsinet.com.