The Proven Path to a Smooth Cloud Migration

by Lewis Langston
September 05, 2018

Nearly every enterprise that hasn’t already created a cloud migration strategy soon will – and will grapple with significant questions. How do we migrate quickly but with minimal disruption? How can we make the migration optimal economically? Do we migrate everything, or continue hosting some applications and platforms on‑premises – and if the latter, what stays?

Migrating to the cloud

Start-up companies have it easy. They can adopt systems designed specifically for the cloud, and may find little or no need to host anything locally. For heritage organizations with a multitude of legacy solutions, an optimal cloud migration requires careful consideration, which should be informed by the following guidelines.

Start with low-hanging fruit

There’s no need to move everything to the cloud at once. Start with the easy stuff.

To know what’s easy to migrate and what’s not, undertake an inventory and cloud‑readiness assessment of all apps and platforms you’re currently running. Many will prove to be cloud-ready and very easy to migrate. That will certainly be true of Microsoft applications, SD-WAN, or UCaaS solutions such as OfficeSuite UC®.

After a thorough assessment, move those that prove to be cloud-ready first. Now for the harder part.

Economic considerations for less cloud-ready solutions

For applications and platforms that require more effort in migration, it’s best to add economic analysis to the initial technical considerations. Steady-state elements that have hardware depreciation greater than three years may not make sense for the cloud – economics for capital investment and depreciation may point to retaining such solutions on-premises, rather than switching to an OpEx solution and incurring the cost of a third-party cloud service.

Also consider the application or platform’s function and business velocity. For example, testing and training environments typically are cyclical, and it may be advantageous to avoid capital expenditures and maintenance costs for them in favor of the ability to ramp a cloud-based service up and down as needed.

Consider a professional migration partner

Many enterprises find it advantageous to partner with a third party to assess cloud readiness and migration economics. I have experience with Ensono and IBM cloud‑migration services, and they’re very thorough. There are many others with excellent reputations.

Whether you enlist assistance or with DIY, the principles are the same. Begin with elements that migrate easiest, and consider economic as well as technical ramifications for the remainder. While there are finer points to consider, following these general guidelines will put you on a path to the most efficient, least disruptive migration to the cloud and its many advantages.