As the shape of the post-pandemic world sharpens, a simple truth is clear: cloud is the powerhouse driving today’s hybrid business environment – and organizations that haven’t adopted a cloud migration strategy risk getting left behind. But there’s no one-size-fits-all roadmap to guide your leap into the cloud – and enterprises also risk implementing useless architecture with poor security, surprise costs, and negative impacts on market relevance and competitiveness without a true understanding of how to do it right.
With the right strategy, cloud adoption delivers the competitive edge your organization needs to thrive in an ever-evolving digital world. It can unlock unparalleled agility with virtually limitless compute resources accessible through a single click, faster time to delivery, 24/7 redundancy, attainable cost efficiencies, enhanced opportunities for innovation, and much more.
Currently, 92% of organizations have shifted at least part of their IT environment to the cloud. And the percentage of companies using the cloud for most or all IT infrastructure is expected to surge from 41% to 63% in the next 18 months.
Gartner expects soaring demand to generate the highest spending growth in cloud services in 2022, with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) increasing 30.6% and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) up 26.1%. In 2023, Gartner forecasts end-user spending on public cloud services to reach nearly $600 billion, a significant jump from $494.7 billion this year.
But server migration isn’t as simple as exchanging physical, owned, on-premises machines for virtual, rented servers at your cloud provider’s data centers. It involves a completely different way of thinking about your applications.
That complexity combines with legacy infrastructure, a severe cloud labor shortage, and a lack of cloud skills in most IT Departments to make crafting a successful server migration strategy a challenge.
An alarming 90% of CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted migration projects, CIO Dive reports. And 74% of companies have moved some applications back on-premises from the cloud after failing to achieve anticipated ROI, CIO Dive reports.
With so much at stake, it’s no surprise that 17% of IT budgets are dedicated to outsourcing in 2022, according to Spiceworks 2022 State of IT report. Particularly when it comes to Cloud, organizations are recognizing the need to leverage skills, experience, and a proven migration strategy not available in-house.
Read on to learn how an exceptional cloud partner can help you build a server migration strategy that sets your cloud transformation journey on the path to success.
How to create a solid server migration strategy
Assess your needs.
Selecting the right cloud service provider ranks as one of the biggest cloud migration challenges. With in-depth knowledge of the ever-evolving tools and services offered by market leaders like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud, experienced cloud partners are experts at helping your organization evaluate and select the best fit.
The first step to effectively choosing a suitable provider is understanding your specific business needs. An exceptional partner will help you define your cloud requirements and business goals by performing a comprehensive assessment – ultimately matching providers to your unique checklist instead of simply comparing them against each other.
Design the cloud architecture.
Designing cloud architecture isn’t for the faint of heart. It not only requires the ability to ensure complex cloud systems run smoothly but also to foresee how today’s ever-evolving digital landscape may impact existing systems and technology.
Unfortunately, an acute shortage of cloud architects creates challenges just as demand for cloud-based, secure, remote work platforms and automation solutions accelerates. Deloitte reports that more than 90% of IT leaders want to expand their cloud environments, yet 80% say inadequate employee skills hold them back.
With a wealth of cloud migrations under their belts, exceptional third-party partners maintain a deep pool of proven resources that are experts at architecting the best solution for your company.
Plan your migration strategy.
A deep dive into your infrastructure during the initial assessment phase is essential to planning your server migration strategy. Logically grouping your servers into migration batches by application helps determine the best approach, based on each application’s requirements, deadlines, and migration objectives.
However, mapping every relationship across apps, hardware, and networking devices for each IT-delivered service is notoriously difficult, especially in a fast-changing modern environment. Many enterprises also have lost track of which servers comprise a specific application designated for migration.
As a result, most organizations struggle to pinpoint servers that must move together to avoid sudden outages.
Exceptional partners are experts at defining the right migration strategy for your applications. They can also ensure smooth migrations by identifying critical needs and implementing the right native tools to simplify complex processes like mapping cross-server dependencies or on-premises capacity to virtual machine instance physical characteristics and storage.
Put your migration strategy to work.
Once you’ve grouped migration batches, identified your approach, and selected the right tools, you’re ready to start your migration.
Typically, it’s best to start small with quick wins that can prove the success of your cloud journey and expedite your move, focusing on high-value applications with minimal dependencies. Be sure to plan your migration around major business events to avoid business-impacting downtime.
No matter what migration strategy you use, business continuity is the primary goal. With the right cloud partner, your users and customers should never notice the transition - experiencing the migrated applications with limited or no interruptions.
Adjust and optimize.
After migration is complete, some tweaking is inevitably required to modify your servers to your new cloud environment. For instance, domain names or IP addresses may need adjustment.
After any issues are corrected, your cloud partner can help monitor your new environment, collecting and analyzing data that lets you optimize your applications and leverage cloud services to their full potential.
Cost optimization is a key priority. Organizations accustomed to the relatively stable expense of traditional data centers can be caught off guard by the variable nature of cloud spending.
As cloud costs increase, wasted spending is another critical issue. IT leaders estimate that at least 30% of their cloud spend is wasted. Exceptional cloud partners will create customized reports and dashboards to track your cloud costs, suggesting and implementing changes that prevent nasty surprises on your cloud bills. Constantly monitoring usage and patterns also enables you to maximize savings, increase performance, spot automation opportunities, and take advantage of new tooling as it’s released.
As cloud costs increase, wasted spending is another critical issue. IT leaders estimate that at least 30% of their cloud spend is wasted.
Experienced cloud partners can help you take advantage of resource optimization strategies like tagging that keep your cloud configuration “right-sized,” enabling you to upgrade, downgrade, or terminate cloud resources based on utilization metrics and automation. Tags are metadata labels that you assign to each of your resources to better categorize them for cost allocation, reporting, cost optimization, and more.
Your partner should also help you invest in pricing optimization strategies. In some cases, pay-as-you-go plans make the most sense, ensuring you only pay for what you use.
But after a few months of monitoring your resource needs, your partner may suggest you take advantage of Reserve Instances (RIs) that offer heavy discounts for pre-booking capacity. RI savings can reach as high as 75% compared to on-demand pricing models, based on the cloud service provider, upfront payment, and time commitment you select.
Flexible pricing models known as Saving Plans are a newer alternative, offering similar cost management opportunities based on committed spend. But while a proactive pricing strategy can offer big rewards, there is a caveat: you can only earn a substantial reduction on your cloud bills if you don’t overcommit.
Your cloud partner’s ability to properly analyze your past usage and prepare for the future holds the key to significant savings.
A proven server migration strategy makes a cloud journey less daunting
Cloud transformation is integral to competing in the modern business world. But virtual computing isn’t a single-click solution to gaining a competitive edge, with nearly half of IT leaders citing insufficient planning of a solid migration strategy as driving their biggest challenges.
Cloud migration is a complex, business-specific process – and there’s a lot at stake if anything goes wrong. Enterprises must make shrewd decisions about their server migration, determining the right approach, architecture, tooling, cost optimization, and more.
Leveraging an experienced cloud partner with a proven strategy for navigating the challenges of cloud migration makes the process less daunting – maximizing the value of your cloud investment at a pace that keeps you ahead of the pack.