Research indicates that Australian businesses will increase their public cloud spend by 17.6% in 2022 to $18.7 billion. This can be attributed to various factors, including ongoing digitalisation, the need for automation, sustainability efforts, and the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The acceleration of hybrid working environments has driven a significant surge in cloud computing requirements and been the catalyst for many organisations to migrate to the cloud.
However, cloud migrations are not straightforward. Migrating from a traditional on-premise datacentre to the cloud is complex and can be challenging for traditional IT operational teams, with many opportunities for mistakes to be made. When that happens, resolving issues can be both time-consuming and stressful for the managing IT team, and have financial and operational implications for the organisation.
Organisations must consider a multitude of factors when moving to the cloud including cloud architecture, app dependencies, network changes, and security policy changes, to name just a few. This blog explores some of the common mistakes that can occur during a migration, and strategies for mitigating these risks.
Common mistakes made during datacentre exits
Migration to the cloud provides numerous benefits for companies, such as improved business agility, better employee productivity and significant cost savings. However, businesses must keep in mind the most common datacentre migration challenges and how to mitigate them before they start big migration projects.
Two of the most common mistakes we see when organisations migrate to the cloud are:
1. Failure to develop a comprehensive datacentre exit plan
One of the biggest mistakes an organisation can make in exiting the datacentre is not formulating a comprehensive migration plan. It could be that the business leaders underestimate the challenges ahead, or perhaps. they believe that they can solution problems as they arise. Both these mindsets are recipes for disaster during a complex datacentre migration.
During migration, applications will be lifted from their on-premises environments and shifted to a public or private cloud. However, not all workloads are eligible for a lift-and-shift migration approach, with some workloads requiring modernisation to run effectively in a cloud environment. Understanding the complexities associated with the on-premise ecosystem, and formulating a comprehensive plan for migrating workloads, is vital to prevent the exit program from stalling.
For example, when Orica engaged SXiQ to deliver on the company’s cloud-first strategy, both organisations worked closely together to formulate a robust cloud migration plan. This approach helped SXiQ migrate Orica from multiple legacy datacentres around the world to Amazon Cloud Services (AWS) within 15 months.
Upon completion of the cloud migration project, Orica was able to benefit from improved agility, cost transparency, and recoverability.
2. Failure to set realistic expectations
Regardless of an organisation’s size, cloud migration will be a massive challenge. To help manage this process efficiently, IT teams must set realistic expectations. Failing to set aside time and resources for testing can be tempting for teams that are working to tight deadlines. However, foregoing this critical stage can result in the project failing or being slowed down by unexpected and adverse outcomes.
Conducting a test migration will ensure the team understand how long the entire process will take, what the key challenges might be, and provides opportunities to simplify and optimise IT to reduce costs. This approach also helps avert potential surprises and accounts for downtime.
It is important to note that the production migration process will take longer than the test migration. This is because the cloud migration team must take care of and pay close attention to every detail throughout the entire process. For example, if the team does not know or has not accounted for hidden complexities, such as backend attachments to the critical applications they plan to move.
Avoiding mistakes with a robust cloud migration strategy
It’s clear that while cloud migration is complex and demands careful planning and preparation, it is also a crucial step in modernising an organisations IT environment. While it’s unrealistic to expect that a project will be free of datacentre migration mistakes, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the risks.
The process starts with clearly aligning the datacentre exit to business objectives. The cloud migration team must first identify the applications that contribute the greatest business value, determining the which workloads to move and why. They must also know how moving those applications will impact the business. This approach will be vital to getting senior management to buy into the project.
While the migration plan develops, IT teams must also assess which cloud operating model fits the organisation’s needs. Before adopting it, they must understand the advantages and disadvantages of each model (public cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud).
Engaging an external consultant, with extensive migration experience, can ensure that your organisation develops a successful migration strategy. External specialists will be able to answer any questions the migration team might have and bring up solutions and factors that may not have otherwise been considered.
Key drivers for engaging external support during a migration
The shift to cloud technologies can introduce new and unfamiliar ways of working for IT departments, and the shift in velocity creates an ideal environment for complexities to arise. Cloud migration challenges often occur because organisations do not have adequately skilled IT staff to operate workloads confidently in the cloud.
In our experience, some of the compelling reasons organisations look for assistance in migrating from their datacentre include the following.
The need for a technical migration solution
Datacentres have significantly more IT services than just virtual machines and data storage solutions. As a result, they need a technical solution to achieve a multi-tenancy datacentre exit (shut down). This often requires detailed technical discovery and assessment to develop appropriate treatment approaches.
Outdated software stacks
Datacentres typically have IT services that have not updated their software stack to reflect the latest technology trends and standards. This can be a significant challenge for busy operational teams to perform.
Inexperience and lack of knowledge
Understanding the key steps necessary to exit a datacentre can be challenging for IT teams that are mature in operating on-premise workloads, but lack the knowledge and skills to operate consumption (cloud) based environments.
Cloud environments that are not properly optimised can quickly become expensive, increase risk exposure, and disrupt operations.
Some of the common questions we often get asked include:
- How do we build a credible business case with confidence?
- How much modernisation should we tackle?
- Is a technical team ready to support the cloud?
- Do we need DevOps, and how do we adopt it?
- What is the right cloud migration approach?
There are several approaches for achieving the same outcome in terms of exiting a datacentre. Knowing which option is best for your organisation can be a challenge.
Organisations sometimes experience paralysis because the migration seems too big and hard. It can quickly become complicated when addressing different aspects like data portability, navigation, optimisation, and data provisioning.
Developing a robust cloud migration plan
Some IT teams find it challenging to develop an executable migration plan. Knowing where to migrate modernised workloads requires specialised skills, while lack of expertise can also lead to paralysis and poor decision-making.
Like many countries in a post-pandemic world, Australia also faces a severe tech-talent shortage. This makes critical IT and cloud skills hard to come by. While unemployment is at or near record lows, it has not had an impact on the shortage of technical skills, with the pandemic significantly slowing immigration to Australia.
Keeping migration costs under control
Enterprises also need external help to take control of cloud migration costs. For example, since SXiQ employs experts in datacentre and cloud migration, most of our clients turn to us to manage their datacentre exit and ensure cloud cost optimisation.
How SXiQ can help
Our framework focuses on unlocking cloud business value by moving workloads and enabling customers to become world-class teams.
As SXiQ embeds cost optimisation principles, methods, and tools throughout the cloud migration exercise, cloud customers benefit from highly optimised environments. With continuous improvement and ongoing evolution, the end-state is never the end-state. As such, SXiQ ensures that customers can evolve with continuous cloud developments.
Contact our team of experts for a Cloud Readiness discussion today!