Have you ever tried to copy a Windows application from someone that had installed it on their computer? More than a few PC owners have had the perspective that only requires the simple task of backing up the application’s folder under Program Files to an external drive and restoring it to another computer. Of course, this rudimentary strategy rarely works. That’s because the installation of most Windows applications is more complex than just the injection of its parent file directory. A Windows Application installation also incorporates a complex web of Windows system files, system services, user data folders, registry settings, and other program folders. As in a lot of things, there are few shortcuts when it comes to copying over an application.
We use this analogy to outline the complexity of cloud migrations. The cloud certainly does simplify the process of hosting and servicing and application over time. A cloud migration unshackles internal IT from the constant mundane tasks of adding, updating and managing new hardware and software as well as forklift upgrades. This new found freedom allows internal IT to focus on value added projects that will directly help the bottom line. The cloud also adds a degree of scalability that is unattainable for most companies.
But while cloud migrations certainly simplify the hosting and management process, the actual task of migrating applications to the cloud is often far more complex than many think. Like the analogy of the ill fated application copy attempt, applications are often supported by an intricate mesh of third party dependencies, integrations and shared resources. You’re not just migrating your applications and data. You’re migrating underlying system infrastructure of those applications as well.
A Complex Process in a Complex World
Just as few things are black and white, few enterprises are cloud or on premise. Unless you are a startup company, your enterprise will include at least some occurrence of on premise infrastructure for the foreseeable future. That’s because most companies carry some type of baggage in the form of legacy applications and hardware that are not designed for the cloud. Most successful organizations incorporate a hybrid IT architecture that incorporates multiple public and private clouds along with their legacy technology that still resides in the good old traditional datacenter. Understanding the present and future states of your enterprise is essential to begin your cloud migrations.
Cloud migrations don’t happen overnight. They are a step-by-step process. Its only human nature to complete the easy things first so obviously your IT department would like to migrate those applications that will migrate the easiest. But how do you know for certain which applications will be the easiest to transition to the cloud? In order to discern which applications will truly be simple to migrate you have to consider:
- Workload complexity
- Reliance on legacy hardware, OS or software
- Commodity vs specialist hardware and software
- Data storage requirements
- Application and external dependencies
- Compliance issues such as HIPAA, PCI and GDPR
While IT may desire to tackle the simplest tasks first, upper management may want to address those applications with the highest potential ROI. Again though, how do you evaluate the potential cost savings for a cloud migrated application? Cost of course is always a key consideration in assessing alternatives. For some applications, migration will be cost inhibitive due to the high cost of code rewriting that may be required in order to accommodate a cloud environment. You also may decide of where to move the lever across the scale between cost savings and application performance.
What about the human dependency cost? Your enterprise doesn’t run on just hardware and software. A successful cloud migration project will also depend on your personnel. Does internal IT have the bandwidth to take on the project on top of everything else. Furthermore, managing cloud enable applications will present some challenges for those who are only familiar with managing applications in-house. Training costs must be incorporated into the equation.
Get the Right Perspective
The message that the cloud saves money has been engrained in us over the course of the last five years, yet that same cost savings can be negated by an expensive cloud migration that lacks proper insight. Without an insightful strategy and plan, costs can proliferate quickly. This is why it pays to gain the perspective of someone who is familiar with cloud migrations and is able to know what imminent complexities are involved in a proposed project. At iQuate, we can provide an accurate perspective of your environment in terms of your planned migration. We have our own proprietary tools that can help determine the validity of success against measured goals, which applications allow for a simple migratory path, which ones may bring the largest ROI, and which ones should be left alone. With that information in mind, iQuate can you devise a strategy and outline a map to arrive at success. If you could use a fresh perspective, reach out to us today.