An Actionable Road Map For Cloud Migration

By: Nitin Agarwal

This blog was shared by Armor channel partner Motifworks, a cloud solutions company focused on helping clients drive value through cloud enablement. A version of this blog post was originally published on Forbes.

While enough has been said about the new possibilities and efficiencies offered by the cloud, both public and private, cloud transformations can still prove to be pressure-packed situations for the CIOs. They’re constantly encouraging standardization across the organization and employee productivity — all in the name of ensuring cost savings throughout the changes that are implemented. Moving to the cloud takes a lot of planning, starting with application discovery, organizational readiness and assessments. But just how ready is your business?
In a hurry to start leveraging and capitalizing on the benefits of the cloud, IT architects often fail to take into account some of the most critical considerations — business case analysis, cloud readiness assessment and creating a migration plan that aligns with their business priorities.

Businesses understand why they should be on the cloud. However, for the most part, the challenge lies in understanding how to get there. Cloud consultants and solution providers perform assessments to judge a client’s readiness for cloud migration. As businesses demand more value from the cloud, along with flexibility and agility, the need for a comprehensive business case analysis encompassing the total cost of ownership (TCO) becomes more fundamental. Such an in-depth infrastructure analysis will not just translate into a seamless cloud migration process, but it will also provide the clarity organizations need to plan their budgets and costs.

Why Haven’t Some Companies Made The Move Yet?

Companies fully understand the benefits cloud computing brings along — from greater flexibility to more optimized costs. Gartner suggests, through 2022, enterprise IT spending on cloud-based offerings will supersede growth in non-cloud offerings, making cloud the most disruptive forces in IT markets. Moreover, as the cloud has entered its second decade, more and more businesses moved away from mere auditioning to enterprise-wide implementation of cloud solutions.

Many companies, however, remain on the fence, unclear about moving to the cloud. While security, lack of trained IT personnel and the fear of losing control remain key problem areas, perceived higher costs could also prove inhibiting.

The potential cost savings in the cloud includes higher cost variability and reduced opportunity costs; however, the migration to the cloud does include switching costs, in addition to reskilling your existing teams. Nevertheless, moving to the cloud adds new return on investment (ROI) considerations that go beyond capital inquisition, software licensing and depreciation. So really, it’s up to each business to identify what they have to gain — or lose — by migrating to the cloud. Furthermore, it’s important for them to identify exactly how they should go about their migration and what solutions they should use.

How Does A Cloud Migration Assessment Work?

If your company is in a similar situation, you can start by looking into an in-depth infrastructure discovery that will evaluate their internal and external dependencies fully. You can also conduct a thorough total cost of ownership and business case analysis by comparing your on-premise infrastructure costs. By digging into these areas, or seeking out a third-party cloud migration assessment, you will be able to see what is keeping you from the cloud.

A cloud migration assessment can help you identify tangible solutions for migrating applications to the cloud. Think of it as a business strategy, not a mere IT strategy. A cloud assessment should provide you with a business-driven decision framework, an actionable forward-looking road map that not only helps you plan and move to the cloud but also maximizes your investments in the cloud. Assessments generally start with an audit and a detailed data collection of your entire environment, including servers, workloads, utilization metrics, storage, interdependencies and more. This will help you determine the right strategy for moving your on-premise workloads.

Companies can use a combination of in-house, free or paid tools for infrastructure discovery, culminating in the right migration strategy for their workloads cost projections, based on right-sizing and other costs in the cloud. If you are a VMware shop, you can start with data from your vCenter for a list of virtual machines, resources, storage, utilization, etc. You could also use free tools like the Microsoft MAP toolkit for infrastructure discovery and cost projections in Azure. There are some other commercial tools available; however, not all tools give you everything. Some will be good in detailed infrastructure discovery, and some will be good at managing your costs in the cloud.

When it comes to comprehensive cloud assessments that include a detailed business case analysis, my company uses the AzureSmart platform to capitalize on its machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. The goal is to obtain a gap analysis, so that you know what applications to retain and which ones to rehost, refactor, replatform or rearchitect — ultimately optimizing your cloud costs. Unlike some other tools, the AzureSmart platform applies a specifically designed proprietary algorithm for a holistic assessment that can define your business’s cloud goals, sizing, inventories, visualization and TCO inputs.

The Bottom Line

For most organizations, the cloud will soon be a reality. Having worked with dozens of cloud assessment and migrations, organizations could realize a potential cost savings of over 37% — and in some cases as much as 75% — savings on TCO. How you achieve such cost savings and avoid cloud waste, along with the agility and flexibility offered by the cloud, should be the key part of your strategy.

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