So you’re thinking of migrating to the cloud? It’s a big decision. Migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) means moving entire data sets and/or applications from physical servers to the cloud, which can open the door to security, financial, and logistical concerns. But, it also opens the door to improved infrastructure costs, business agility, and modernization, and should, therefore, be seriously considered.
Typically, this process is organized by before, during, and after the migration. All stages are necessary, but the groundwork laid before the migration even begins can determine its success or failure. In fact, 40% of businesses that migrate to the public cloud will fail to achieve their expected benefits due to anticipated costs (Gartner). With this in mind, before even a byte of data is moved, here are some considerations to help ensure the success of an on-premise server migration to AWS.
1. Assess the Situation
Before shaping a migration strategy, assess why you’re migrating to the cloud. This will help determine details such as whether to use a public or private cloud, staff training needs, which data sets might need to stay in-house and more. Taking a step back and identifying the primary goal helps ensure all steps taken from that point on aligns with the organization’s vision. Here are some potential broader strategy questions to help you get started:
- What business benefit does the organization hope to gain by changing IT delivery models for a portion of the enterprise application portfolio?
- What is the desired end state for your in-house IT footprint?
- What time frame is being allocated to reach the desired future state?
2. Consider the Costs
Obtaining the benefits that come with migrating to the cloud doesn’t come without a cost. Before signing the dotted line, ensure you have a solid grasp of what the total cost will be as a result of the migration. While the cost of making the move is obvious, hidden costs for tasks such as training materials and downtime while the migration is happening should be taken into account.
To help organizations calculate the cost of migration, AWS recommends the following formula for determining how much data can be transferred and how fast:
Number of Days = (Total Bytes)/(Megabits per second * 125 * 1000 * Network Utilization * 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 24 hours)1
Beyond the cost of migration, businesses also need to consider that adopting public cloud laaS includes additional factors that are not easily categorized, using the cloud to host some or all of an organization’s applications will have significant costs related to adapting the infrastructure, policies and procedures to accommodate the cloud.
3. Determine Security Risks
Within any cloud-based service, there is a shared responsibility for security between the cloud provider and the customer. For IaaS, including AWS, the cloud provider uses and secures its own data centers, network, system hardware and typically the virtualization layer, while the enterprise is responsible for the security of the OS and application code of the image that runs on the underlying infrastructure.
Start the conversation with your security team early in the process. Data security is still a valid concern and can be a challenge to overcome before making the migration becomes official. Identify the threats and risks that could affect your organization and come up with a strategy to address them. It could be as simple as withholding specific data sets from cloud storage, or a more complex solution that requires outside expertise.
Through 2020, 80% of cloud breaches will be due to customer misconfiguration, mismanaged credentials or insider theft, not cloud provider vulnerabilities. (Gartner)
4. Identify Skills and Resource Requirements
A key step in a successful cloud migration is clearly identifying the resources needed for the migration, and post-migration application and data management. Often, a company that is moving workflows to the cloud will have a gap in necessary skills on their existing team. This skills gap can be addressed by providing training to the existing team; however, the drawback is that no matter how comprehensive a training program it is often no substitute for experience. Hiring new employees with the requisite cloud knowledge is another option; but it can be a misuse of limited resources to hire a full-time employee for a part-time, or short-term need.
Many companies that are considering a large-scale cloud migration have selected a partner company--one with the cloud experience and proven success with migration projects to ensure that their migration proceeds smoothly with minimal downtime and is completed successfully, on-time and within budget.
Migrating from on-premise servers to the cloud can be a daunting task--high-profile, and complicated, with the potential to impact the organization as a whole. Proceed with confidence with the proper planning, and consider bringing on a partner with the expertise to ensure success.