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Top 5 Reasons Why Cloud Migrations Fail

The cloud is no longer an emerging technology. For most businesses –from mini to mega – the cloud is a necessary part of your company’s infrastructure. In fact, 80% of the Fortune 500 is on the Microsoft Cloud, and Gartner expects that by 2019, more than 30% of the 100 largest vendors’ new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only. Not only does the cloud make your business more agile and mobile; but it also helps you save resources, boost revenue, and enhance productivity.

But there’s just one problem.

As cloud adoption continues to grow quickly, some businesses are discovering that cloud migration can be a tricky business. An NTT Communication survey in Cloud Reality Check 2015 found that 41% of the 1,600 ICT decision makers who responded thought that “migrating complex apps to the cloud is more trouble than it’s worth.” The reality is that there are a number of roadblocks that can occur during cloud migration process, everything from a poor cloud strategy that isn’t aligned with your business goals to a cultural resistance to change. A recent study by Bloor Research put the failure rate for data migration projects at 38%. That’s why it’s so vital that your company understands the cloud migration process and the top five reasons why most migrations fail. However, a poorly targeted cloud effort can actually slow down the business, and disrupt its internal operations. That’s why it’s important for companies to look at why cloud migrations succeed — and also why they might fail. Consider the following cloud problems and how to avoid them.

1. Poor Communication

Data migration is not solely IT’s problem. Participation in the cloud migration process should include everyone from business stakeholders to those individuals fully committed to their day jobs. According to Kief Morris, principal cloud technologist at Thought Works “I know of one team that spent nearly two years implementing a self-service server provision system. When I spoke with development teams in the same organization, they had no idea a new system was being developed. When they tried to use the platform, they found they couldn’t create the types of services they needed. The project was scrapped a few months later.”

Failure to communicate every aspect of the cloud migration process with each department could lead to failure due to lack of business resources available. Lack of communication will also lead to an IT-centric project that will require too much guesswork and assumptions. Only through open communication can your business uncover data fails, and functional testing fails early in the process. Operational processes must also change to support and leverage the cloud’s capabilities. In fact, the entire IT organization should redefine itself around the concept of Cloud Ops. Although many of the core IT functions will remain the same, changes will need to be made to monitor the cloud system and to implement new tools. How much involvement each department will have in the process depends on your organization.

2. Data Storage and Loss

According to a 2015 CompTIA 2015 Outlook research report.“Data is not just an important part of business—many firms consider it to be their most critical asset,” Cloud migration is a process that requires you to ship full volumes of data in bulk operations, and it’s a lengthy process. Shipping large datasets over WAN to the cloud and converting them to the appropriate storage formats can take days. In fact, to transfer 10 TBs of data over a 20 Mbps network link takes 50 days with the link 100% utilized. As you can imagine, this can present some problems. During the transfer process, changes accumulated will then require additional synchronization, taking up more time and complexity. It’s an inefficient process that can leave only a small portion of your business applications functioning while you migrate.

Worse yet, 47% of enterprises have lost data in the cloud and had to restore their information from backups, and those losses can be costly both in financial and resource effort terms.To protect your business from data loss and storage issues, each cloud application should be evaluated and planned for separately, and the migration plan should be taken in steps. If bandwidth is an issue, the best course of action isn’t to stay out of the cloud but to simply get more bandwidth. You should also treat the cloud as a collection of services and not as a monolithic solution that requires you to migrate all of your applications and data at one time. You can also use HCL’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for faster implementation and rollout.

3. Security and Compliance

Security is another overarching concern of cloud migration and the data that will be in play. Government regulations and industry standards are essential facets of doing business. In these situations, cloud migration and storage of sensitive data may present unexpected problems. 90% of businesses surveyed by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy research firm, revealed that they had one or more security breaches a year. In general, any use of cloud services can compromise the internal control that the company has over its data. That’s true regardless of what kinds of workloads are being migrated to the cloud, and what data sets are being handled.

However, the only way to be 100% secure is to have zero computers! And the next best approach is to constantly monitor the threat landscape and to use technologies and services that hire and retain top digital security specialists. Most cloud computer vendors are security-conscious organizations that protect their devices, networks, and transmissions. But for most companies, security means more than just keeping the bad guy out; it’s also about controlling who’s able to see and do what on your cloud. The key to protecting yourself is to choose a Software as a service (Saas) platform that gives you complete control over your data. In the end, according to Gartner “The popularity and demonstrated security competence of cloud service providers doesn’t absolve security leaders of their responsibility to actively manage cloud security. Security in the cloud is a shared responsibility.”

4. Rigid Deployment

One big problem with cloud migrations is when companies only consider a single path to migration. In reality, there are three different options to migrate your data to the cloud, and each should be used as needed to get the job done. Below are three common cloud migration path.

  • Server Replication: This migration model is suitable for small applications and completely copies the contents of one service onto another server.
  • Image Conversion: For a low-risk, small production environment, image conversion is the best migration method. It’s the process of converting images from one format to another so they can run in the cloud. However, it’s a heavily manual process that can be a challenge for even the most experienced IT specialist.
  • Automation: This is the newest migration method and is best for large, complex apps. Automation blueprints and replicates the environment and network customization, so your business doesn’t have to worry about scripting to reconfigure storage, network, and security parameters on a new IaaS.
    To avoid migration failure, your business should talk to a migration expertfrom an experienced cloud related service provider to determine which migration method is most appropriate for your applications and organization.

5. Project Scope

Companies must keep an eye on the scope of a cloud project. Migrating to the cloud is a fundamental paradigm shift that requires extensive planning to succeed. Too often, businesses get lazy and begin to pursue a cloud strategy without keeping in mind all the elements that it takes to make the cloud effective. In fact, 69% of organizations do not have a mature cloud strategy in place, according to IDC. SaysDavid Linthicum, a Senior Vice President at Cloud Technology Partners “A lot of companies do it [a cloud migration] just to do it, just to get the tick mark. They think that cloud technology will take care of itself and do magic things for them.That just isn’t the case. The technology is there, but you have to take advantage of it.”

The first step to creating an appropriate migration strategy and scope is to determine what workloads will be migrated to the cloud, which requires your company to study each application carefully to see if it’s a good fit. Then, you’ll need to seek out a platform analogue on the cloud that will support the application and work to optimize it and modify it to leverage the cloud’s native capabilities.

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