On a recent webinar, “How to Avoid Cloud Migration Pitfalls,” Global Knowledge’s cloud guru Brian Eiler shared his expertise on how companies can avoid any unplanned disruptions. Eiler covered several topics, so we outlined each and highlighted some key considerations below.
Topic One: Planning
- Select the right workload. Our tip to beginners: keep it simple! Make sure to start with workloads that don’t talk to everything under sun.
- Start with a proof of concept. This provides the opportunity to see what an application does and enables testing every step of the way before moving to the cloud. Find out what type of objectives you should set to measure success.
- Breakpoint tests are critical. Make sure the stakeholders agree on resources, time, cost, etc. Eiler’s tip? If you can’t all agree, it’s OK to put the project on hold.
- Discuss how long the workload will exist. Is it periodical just to cover holidays with peak periods like Black Friday? Or is it a mainline application needed for an extended period?
- Don’t forget an exit strategy. It sounds odd to think of an exit strategy before you get started, but what do you do when a workload is no longer needed? Eiler discusses what an exit strategy should consider.
Topic Two: Workload Architecture
- Selecting the right service and hosting model after extensive research is crucial. Eiler takes time to describe the different cloud service and hosting models and how to decide which is best for your business.
- Consider Vendor Reference Architectures to evaluate the best approach for scalability and performance.
- How are you going to scale when you move to the cloud?
- Migration methods: Eiler discusses three of the most popular migration methods, including which has the most associated risk.
Topic Three: Security and Connectivity Considerations
- All countries have different standards and unique regulations in order to maintain compliance. Eiler touches on a couple different standards and even shares experiences from his early days on a migration project when he had data located in a foreign country and wanted to bring it to the U.S. for backup. Learn from Eiler’s experience and why you should bring in an audit group for the planning process.
- Authentication versus authorization. What are the differences between the two? Eiler suggests several questions to ask yourself as you evaluate the security and connectivity of the cloud with different providers and internally. (i.e. “Who is using the workload?”)
- Eiler discusses seven key groups, such as employees or anonymous users, to consider when providing authentication or authorization to.
Topic Four: Data Storage and Transfer
- There’s different types of data and layers you may be working with—structured and unstructured data, the business, presentation and data layer. Eiler highlights each of these and addresses the best approach to put it all together. Tip: First, you need to lay it all out to see what you have.
- Four different transfer implications: Eiler takes a look at the bandwidth requirements, transfer durations, performance and costs and provides insight on which is most beneficial.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs) vs. Service Level Objectives (SLOs): What’s the difference between these two types with cloud providers?
- Expectation management is a critical component of a cloud migration for all involved stakeholders. What metrics are you using to evaluate success? Eiler suggests devising a plan to determine applications performance pre- and post-cloud migration.
- Create a plan for backup—not only recoverability. What if something happens? The backup plan should be tied to the exit strategy. Who is in charge? Most people don’t understand that a cloud provider is not always responsible but a managed service provider (MSP) could be.
- Learn best practices for testing, as well as what data encryption at-rest means compared to in-transit.
Topic Five: The Human Factor
- Often the unspoken truth, the human factor during a cloud implementation is central to success. Learn how Eiler uses his consulting approach with customers to understand comfort level and IT/users.
- On Eiler’s comfort level scale, he discusses how to manage expectations of those who are eager versus those who are resistant to using cloud.
- How does training benefit cloud users, and not just IT? There are three types of people outside of IT who will need training to provide clarification on how applications change as they move forward.
- Training minimizes the risk of productivity.
Topic Six: Finance
- Have you calculated ROI for cloud? And have you done this in advance of planning and proof of concept? Outside of answering these questions, there are metrics Eiler discusses to calculate cloud ROI: The cost of where it is today, future costs and how long will it live, the costs for resources (including project management and training) to put into the cloud, and operational costs of the cloud.
- Application licensing in the cloud: There’s a ton of considerations when going to cloud providers. Usually they give you the opportunity to purchase licensing as OpEx rather than CapEx. Eiler discusses the pros and cons of each and long-term versus short-term cloud usage.