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Ten Most Common Cloud Migration Challenges (and how to resolve them)

There is no doubt that cloud computing is one of the biggest technological disruptions in modern times, and it is only going to grow. With an estimated CAGR of 18%, it looks set to hit USD 623 billion by 2023.  But despite these high growth forecasts, there are many businesses that have yet to embrace the cloud. The biggest factor in their hesitation is uncertainty about cloud costs and data security, among others. There are ten fundamental challenges that businesses must face in their cloud migration, and this article takes a closer look at each, and what can be done to overcome them.

1.Manage resistance to cloud adoption

The first, and arguably biggest challenge, is one that is as old as humankind itself: resistance to change. The bigger the disruption to the established way of doing things, the stronger the resistance. And cloud migration brings a significant level of disruption, with new systems, processes, and technology to be mastered. Ignoring the human aspects of cloud migration can subvert the best-planned migration strategies.

What can you do?

Prepare a change management plan and secure buy-in from key stakeholders. Obtaining support across the board, from C-suite management to department leaders can help mitigate a lot of the stress. Ensure also that everyone, from leadership downwards, understands the objectives and benefits of moving to the cloud. So communication is key. Finally, prioritize integration and usability. Employees are easier to get on board when they use and understand the benefits of the applications.

2.Clear uncertainty regarding cloud migration costs

Done correctly, cloud migration is sure to reduce costs significantly, while improving productivity and streamlining workflows. But it is not an overnight process. There are factors such as compatibility, new skills, data recovery, and, above all, the migration strategy that can add to your costs.

What can you do?

Preparation is the best way to avoid unnecessary migration costs. Work out the expenses in collaboration with your cloud service provider, before committing to a migration plan.

Include costs such as platform & infrastructure costs, migration costs, cost of delays (slow adoption), cost of training post-migration, and hiring new resources. If you need a hand, reach out to AAIC. Our cloud migration consultants will be happy to help you predict possible costs and work out ways to lower your cloud TCO.

3.Bridge the skills gap

Do you hire new talent or up-skill existing resources? This is a million-dollar question, but a necessary one to ask and understand. Because people worry that they might lose their jobs to migration. And this is a valid worry. Cloud migration needs different skills from those that are needed to run a legacy system. 

What can you do?

The best way to deal with this issue is to do both: hire new talent to help with the migration and enhance your existing team’s skills. You need your in-house engineers, who know your applications and how they run. Up-skilling can help take a lot of the pressure off the rest of the team. You also need an external Cloud Migration Consultant, who will bring the necessary knowledge and skills to streamline the migration. Above all, everyone must understand the need for a collaborative approach. You can speed up the process by creating awareness about the skills and education needed. Set up digital boards with helpful information about certifications, et al, and reward individuals who earn needed certifications.

4.Application ecosystem & discovery tools

No application works discretely, each is part of an ecosystem, and you need to trace linkages to understand what connects with what in order to migrate the applications painlessly. This means you need discovery tools. Discovery tools like Cloudamize and other agent-based or agentless tools can connect data, estimate cloud servers, create architecture diagrams and reveal active executables. 

What can you do?

Working without these tools means relying on expensive and slower manual processes to analyze business-critical applications, their structure, and dependencies. Finally, understand that you won’t be able to have each and every one of your features documented. In truth, this is one of the reasons for your migration—to review your application ecosystem and improve functionality. 

5.Plan

Cloud adoption can be complicated. Moving your business infrastructure and assets calls for detailed planning. All too often businesses jump on the cloud bandwagon without taking the time and effort to plan how they adoption will take place. For instance, app modernization or refactoring vs lift and shift approach. All work, but each one suits a specific type of workload/application. While the lift-and-shift approach may be the fastest, it may not be the ideal one.

What can you do?

Start by brainstorming and putting together a detailed strategy for your cloud migration. This means you must analyze your business objectives and current assets, so you can pick the best-fit strategy. A good strategy should take you through the migration smoothly—no analysis paralysis!

Start by factoring in the applications that need to move, prepare a priority list, and calculate the cost of data processing, data movement, and cost of downtime during the transition. Be prepared to rebuild systems that might need it, once the migration is done. Finally, map milestones and plan steps to streamline the transition.

6.Managing Your Cloud Infrastructure

When you migrate to AWS you get access to a range of services and tools designed to make management of your infrastructure and data simpler. This is true in theory. In practice it can be a daunting task, especially in light of the AWS’s approach of continuous innovation, which releases new services and tools all-too-frequently.

What you can do?

Working with a top AWS Managed Services provider gives you access to the latest tools and processes from AWS, which are available exclusively to members of the Amazon Partner Network (APN). This gives you a range of advantages where management of your cloud is concerned.

At Applied AI Consulting, for instance, our architects and cloud engineers bring a high level os skills to manage, automate, and monitor your cloud workloads. This includes:

  • Change Management: helping you incorporate changes smoothly; this includes automation
  • Incident Management: Continuous monitoring of your cloud infrastructure
  • Patch Management: application of patches without disrupting your business
  • Access Management: Through Amazon Identity & Access Management (IAM)
  • Security Management: Securing your data and applications
  • Continuity Management: Backup for seamless restoration, in the event of failure
  • Continuous Improvement: Through monthly reports and recommendations we help you generate the maximum value from your AWS cloud.

7.Data Security and Compliance

Concerns about data security and compliance risks can pose serious challenges to your cloud migration. It’s natural to worry about handing your confidential data to third party security vendors—even in deeply secured cloud environments. Data breaches that occur during migration can lead to severe service disruptions.

What can you do?

Be aware that cloud platforms are built to be secure; their security systems are industry grade. Data, during migration, is encrypted and secured behind firewalls. This virtually eliminates the risk of data theft. For your peace of mind, though, you can query your cloud vendor, as follows:

What’s the data migration process?

Where is the data going to be stored?

Will the data be secured by end-to-end encryption?

Which security standards are the platform compliant with?

8.Prepare for DevOps transformations 

This is a typical scenario: You want to implement a DevOps transformation on top of your cloud migration. This is a big disruption with lots of room for failure. The biggest of these is the culture, viz, DevOps Culture. 

What can you do?

If you don’t create and encourage a DevOps culture within your organization, you will find it an uphill task to maximize cloud benefits. What is most likely to happen is that you will create an environment similar to your on-premises one, which means you will not realize all the benefits of cloud migration.

9.Adopt cloud-native architecture

There is no point in migrating to the cloud if you insist on using your clunky legacy applications. Going cloud-native means developing lightweight, disposable applications that easily scale out and are easy to monitor. Start by establishing a DevOps culture and using practices like container adoption, microservices, and serverless computing to build and deploy applications that allow for quick release and better scalability. 

What can you do?

Gain an in-depth understanding of the twelve-factor principles and use them to set a baseline for adopting and building cloud-native applications. The twelve-factor approach describes a set of twelve best practices, originally drafted by Heroku in 2011, to develop applications deployed as services on cloud platforms.

10.Prepare for working in a hybrid setup

Chances are you will be working with hybrid networking; in which case, you must factor in security and networking right at the beginning. Hybrid configurations require security, which may not be required after the migration is successfully completed. 

What can you do?

Define your minimum viable cloud— automation-, operations-, and security-frameworks, networking architecture, and core account structure. Implement identity and access management and define access patterns and plan how you will deal with related threat vectors. You may also need to boost security measures if you have a higher volume of personally identifiable information (PII) to secure. Plan how you will prevent data loss, patch vulnerabilities, etc.

In Conclusion

Cloud migrations can be challenging, but dealing with the challenges is easier when you’re prepared for them. Applied AI Consulting (AAIC) offers step-by-step guidance to help businesses unlock the full transformative power of the cloud. Interested in migrating to the cloud? Talk to AAICs Cloud Solutions Architects today to clarify any queries you may have about the cloud process.

 

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