Organizations see cloud migration as a route to achieving significant cost reduction, greater flexibility, increased mobility and scalability. However, it’s also important to recognize that there are challenges to a successful migration and concerns to overcome.
Research indicates that security, compliance, user experience, and visibility and control are issues that can act as barriers to cloud migration. But, with careful planning and professional support, cloud can provide a solution that meets those challenges and delivers the planned benefits.
An important preliminary step is to analyze workloads and identify those that are suitable for the cloud. Migration automation tools can help discover applications, services and map their dependencies. Manual methods are slow and subject to error, particularly in complex application environments.
The preliminary analysis should also assess if an application will run successfully in the cloud provider’s virtualized environment. Analysis should also take account of service levels, uptimes and availability in the current data center and the cloud. Some applications and services may have specific network and management requirements that must be available in the cloud.
Careful analysis will identify the workloads that can be successfully migrated and those that are either unsuitable or require significant change before migration.
Connectivity is a crucial factor in migration success. With concerns about security and risk of data loss topping the list of barriers in the 2015 Cloud Security Spotlight Report, network performance and security are priorities.
The public Internet is a natural choice for uploading or accessing services, applications and data, but it may not provide the speed or security needed for certain workloads. Mission-critical services or data subject to regulatory compliance require more robust, secure connections to make them suitable for cloud migration.
Private networks offer an alternative, but costs can be prohibitive. But now, software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) technology is emerging as a strong candidate for cloud connectivity. SD-WAN works with Internet services as well as other networks, so it can optimize connections to cloud services. This helps administrators ensure the best performance from cloud services and maintain a quality user experience.
The Cloud Security Spotlight Report found that 90 percent of respondents had concerns about application security in the cloud. Controlling access and maintaining corporate security standards also represented significant concerns.
Reviewing service providers’ security measures and policies is essential. Some providers offer basic security services, with add-on charges for higher levels of protection. By aligning cloud security with private data center measures, it’s possible to maintain consistent standards of security across all environments.
Lack of visibility and control was the third most important concern reported in the Cloud Security Spotlight Report. Administrators want visibility into application performance, security, and access by users in the cloud as well as the premise data center. Lack of insight can lead to service delivery issues and a poor customer experience.
By deploying analytics to monitor traffic management, encryption, firewall, and performance optimization for each application, administrators can improve visibility and control, and respond rapidly to any service issues.
Recognizing and then eliminating perceived barriers are an essential stage in planning and achieving a successful cloud migration. You can further increase the chances of success by working with a migration specialist experienced in cloud deployments.