Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, April 4, 2020
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Cloud Migration: Look Before You Leap 

It's best to get your ducks in a row before moving the company jewels to the cloud, a migration study advises.

As hybrid cloud strategies gain momentum, the migration survey commissioned by management services specialist CloudHealth Technologies stresses that cloud computing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. "Multiple cloud deployment types are needed to best handle different workloads," concludes a report released this week by Forrester Consulting.

Among the other obstacles are "cost complexity" and the failure to train key stakeholders like DevOps teams.

The market researcher found that less than 40 percent of the companies it polled met or exceeded their goals for both migrating to the cloud and controlling costs. Indeed, fully 58 percent said migration costs associated with running IT infrastructure in the cloud were higher than estimated.

The key for cloud migrators is looking before taking the leap. "Due diligence in the discovery and planning phases are critical," the researcher noted. Those steps include training, investing in the tools needed to ease the migration and scrutinizing the risks and benefits of running enterprise applications in the cloud.

The bottom line: Less than half of the 108 IT managers surveyed considered their most recent migration to the public cloud a success. Most underestimated the costs associated with the transition as well as cloud usage, especially the unpredictability of pay-as-you-go models.

"Most firms today underestimate costs associated with cloud usage and migration," the report concluded.

Unforeseen migration and usage costs were the primary reason that 43 percent of those polled were dissatisfied—"a scary figure if you are the one responsible for reporting the results of your migration to the CEO," the authors noted.

Those concerns lend further credence to the notion that more enterprises are taking a more cautious, hybrid approach to cloud adoption. Asked to list their cloud objectives, 28 percent cited a multi-cloud strategy leveraging public, private and hosted cloud services as a way of minimizing risks. Other goals included: moving existing workloads into a public cloud (25 percent); building cloud-native applications (24 percent); and migrating existing workloads into a private cloud or a hosted private service (both 22 percent).

Many companies acknowledged they were simply unprepared to handle the technical requirements associated with a transfer to cloud services. The migration often exposed a skills gap and the difficulty of training IT staffers during and after the migration.

Cloud migration completed, many "organizations took a productivity hit, underestimating developer hours required for app redesign and time spent on staff retraining," the report warned. One reason was that less than a quarter of those surveyed included their DevOps and security teams in the migration planning process.

"Firms must collaborate across all stakeholders in order to properly realign processes and skills to support cloud usage," the report recommended.

The "cloud migration is a difficult, confusing process that must be approached in a holistic fashion,” Joe Kinsella, CTO and founder of CloudHealth Technologies," noted in a statement. "The successful organizations are the ones that take the time to plan, evaluate their options and adopt continuous-learning feedback processes."

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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