Why do cloud migrations fail

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Cloud migration is about adopting new technologies to improve your business performance and achieve desired outcomes such as flexibility, cost minimisation and agility. However, this can be difficult for some organisations that don't know what to look for in their cloud migration project.

Migration to the cloud has become inevitable for some time now. A number of challenges - from poor cloud strategy to corporate cultural resistance - can arise during the migration process. To work around these challenges and reap the benefits, a company needs to understand the migration process. It is important that companies address why migrations succeed - and why they fail, understand the issues and find ways to avoid them.

But why do cloud migrations fail?

Lack of planning for business and operational impact.

A cloud service can be booked quickly. This tempts many companies to use infrastructure and services spontaneously and as needed, without thinking about a strategy and an overall cloud concept. However, improper migration of services to the cloud often leads to problems such as performance degradation, security gaps, work interruptions and strain on IT and business resources. The most common stumbling blocks of inadequate planning include:

Unintentional errors - also known as lack of understanding and incorrect implementation of best practices. For example, not fully understanding your application can lead to extended downtime or performance degradation when you move to the cloud. Gathering the right information early in the process will lead to fewer problems later.

Security and governance policy issues often go undetected until a problem is exploited, but then it's too late. It is always less costly and time-consuming to hire professionals to design, build and audit cloud environments than to try to fix bugs after the fact.

The problem of gaining stakeholder acceptance

Projects need very good governance, and that means involving everyone who will be affected by the move to the cloud. Often projects are driven by the IT department, which then informs those affected once the project is complete.

It is important to have a clear communication strategy for the migration to ensure full alignment up, down and across the organisation. Leaders need accurate information about the how and why of the migration if they are not already directly involved. This includes costs, benefits and expectations that can be shared - a clear picture of what a successful migration would look like.

Executives need less strategic information, but they still need detailed information about how the transition will affect their departments. They need detailed plans that show how the migration will improve the business.

Many questions arise when planning a cloud migration project. A solid cloud project management plan details the project scope, tasks and key milestones. However, the successful execution of a well-developed plan requires a skilled project manager with experience.

The most important questions to address are:

  • Why are we moving to the cloud?
  • What impact will this have on me and my work?
  • What are the benefits for me and the company?
  • How disruptive will this change be?
  • What are the differences between our old system and the new one, and how can I reconcile them?
  • Is my job at risk?

A clear communication plan will align everyone involved in the migration project and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

Implementing large-scale migration programmes

In an enterprise migration, tasks are performed in the same order for every server in your environment. Even small functional errors can cause massive delays and drive up costs. For example, if you need to perform 25 tasks to migrate one server and you need an extra five minutes per task, that means two extra hours per server. With a handful of servers this is still insignificant, but with 100 servers it would mean an extra month of time for a staff member. With 1000 servers, those five minutes per task would cost an extra 14 months' salary. Efficiency is important.

Misaligning the workload

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is to run their applications in the cloud the same way they did on premises. If you don't properly assess the performance profile of your infrastructure (i.e. if you overlook peak load), you are likely to choose an inappropriate or impractical cloud configuration. This risks cost inefficiencies and poor performance that can even bring critical business systems to a halt. The alignment of cloud storage is also an important consideration. Storage and bandwidth are often not optimally aligned when selecting a cloud configuration. Every type of storage has its limitations, and underestimating your requirements can have devastating effects on performance.

Unrealistic expectations

If you're dreaming that moving to the cloud will magically improve your performance, you could be in for a rude awakening. Some workloads require much more time to optimise performance than easy-to-deploy applications. If you choose the wrong workloads to migrate or have unrealistic expectations, the migration can go wrong.

Trying to do everything yourself

Easy access to cloud resources often leads many organisations to underestimate the complexity of cloud projects and overestimate their own skills. A cloud migration is something completely different from a typical IT infrastructure project. Business and solutions architects are needed who are able to view the overall project from the full perspective and keep all of the aforementioned points in view.

How do you carry out a successful cloud migration in the company?

Invest in know-how

Managing cloud infrastructures requires specialised knowledge that many companies do not have from the outset. With the move to the cloud, the IT department is changing from a business supporter to the elementary driver of future business models. The qualification of the teams is therefore an essential factor for successful migration. Thus, training programmes for users should be part of the central migration strategy. In addition, companies should use the expertise as well as the modern tools and methods of external cloud experts in order to be able to use the new application landscapes and gain an advantage from them. After all, those who start the journey to the cloud without external partners will face even greater obstacles.

Creating a migration plan

To overcome the challenges outlined above and achieve true cloud transformation, organisations need to create and implement a comprehensive migration plan that aligns business drivers, drives adoption across the organisation and manages previous incidents.

Such a plan helps you manage the entire migration process. It defines which applications should be migrated and how and when they should be migrated. Your migration plan should include a migration strategy for each application that defines the scope of changes you will make to each application when it is moved to the cloud. The scope of the changes will determine the speed of the migration, i.e. how quickly you can move the applications through the migration process.

Inadequate planning can slow down the migration, overlook dependencies and cause outages.

First steps

The first step is to realise that you can't do it alone, especially at the beginning. You will need a partner. You need a partner you can rely on to guide you through the process.

A good cloud migration specialist can help you identify the best applications for migration, determine how to integrate legacy systems and cloud services, and plan and execute the migration.

Rely on a cloud partner like us. At Cloud Consulting Europe (CCE), we have developed comprehensive migration plans to ensure a successful migration for businesses.

As a consulting partner, we help you understand and apply new technologies to the potential of your business. Our goal is to increase your flexibility by integrating innovative cloud applications into your business. We offer you the scalability of the leading and largest cloud provider on the market, the flexibility of a local partner and the expertise of a strategic, trusted advisor.

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