Six Questions to Shape Your Cloud Strategy
The only way to succeed with your cloud migration is to take time before migrating to cloud to evaluate your needs and to develop a strategy. To start developing your cloud strategy, ask yourself the who, what, why, where, when and how questions.
Why Do You Want to Switch to Cloud?
There are many decisions to make when switching to cloud, and the only way to make the right choice is by understanding the goals of your cloud migration. Common objectives of moving to cloud include:
- reducing capital expenditures
- increasing IT agility and responsiveness
- freeing IT to focus on business priorities rather than routing maintenance
What Kind of Cloud Makes Sense for Your Applications and Data?
Identify the applications you have and evaluate which applications you want to move to the cloud. Then you can assess whether a public, private, or hybrid cloud is the most appropriate cloud environment.
Where Will Your Data Reside?
There are two perspectives to this “where” question. The first point of view is whether your data will be in the public cloud or kept within your data center. Although the risks to data security in the cloud may be overstated, many enterprises feel more comfortable keeping sensitive data in their own environment. The second point of view is which geographic location the public cloud will choose to house your data. The cloud provides access from anywhere so in some ways this doesn’t matter, but a more remote location can introduce unacceptable latency and storing data in another state or country can create regulatory issues with respect to data privacy.
Who Will Run Your Cloud?
There are also two perspectives to this “who” question. The first is the obvious question, who will be your cloud provider? Choosing the right cloud provider requires evaluating the provider’s offerings, security, cost center, location, support, and other factors. The second question is who on your own team will monitor, support, and deploy operations to the cloud. The procedures for executing these functions in the cloud are not the same as when your servers reside in your data center, so you need to determine who will have the responsibility and arrange for their training.
When Will You Migrate to the Cloud?
You shouldn’t attempt to move all your applications to the cloud simultaneously. Instead, you need to prioritize the migration and move the applications in a sequence that makes sense. There are several ways to decide the sequence, potentially starting with a small application, an application running on hardware slated to retire soon, or an application that has capacity and processing needs that can’t be met on its current hardware. Generally, you should migrate an application that’s big enough to expose you to the environment and experience the benefits of cloud, but that isn’t mission critical in case the migration runs into unexpected issues.
How Will You Migrate to the Cloud?
Migrating to the cloud can be as easy as simply loading the services on a new server, but it can also require re-architecting applications to make use of cloud features. Transferring data to the cloud requires careful thought, particularly for large volumes. Also, think about how you will manage your cloud servers, whether you will allow use of self-service features, how you will monitor the new environment, and how you will control costs.
Do you need help discovering the answers to these questions? Prescient Solutions cloud services include evaluating your existing environment, developing a cloud strategy, and executing your cloud migrations. As a Microsoft Partner, we have deep knowledge and expertise of the Microsoft Azure cloud service. Contact us to start thinking through your cloud strategy.