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Identifying primary cloud migration challenges and the ways of their remediation

Imagine this: the digital world is shifting dramatically, and cloud computing is at the heart of it all. To give you an idea of its massive growth, the global cloud computing market, worth $272 billion in 2018, is projected to more than double to $623 billion by 2023. That is an annual growth rate of 18%! But here is the kicker – even with such remarkable expansion, cloud migration is still a bit of a puzzle to many businesses. They are grappling with unknown costs, concerns about data security, and ingrained resistance to change.

You see, despite the challenges, the lure of the cloud is hard to resist. Its scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency are too good for big and small businesses. So, in this article, let us dive into how you can tackle those pesky cloud migration challenges that often put organizations on the back foot. Are you ready to navigate your way to a cloud environment smoothly? Let us get started!

Challenges in cloud migration and ways to remediate them

Understanding the complexity of cloud migration: identifying key challenges

Resistance to cloud environment adoption

Migrating to the cloud is a technological change and a significant shift in mindset and practices. People often find it challenging to embrace change, which is valid for transitioning to the cloud. Moving to the cloud brings significant changes and disruptions, which can overwhelm individuals and teams. Moreover, a cloud migration often introduces new systems, processes, and even new leaders, adding to the overall transformation. It is crucial not to overlook the human aspect of this transition. Neglecting to address the concerns, fears, and needs of the people involved can lead to difficulties in achieving a successful journey to the cloud. To ensure a smooth and successful shift, it is essential to prioritize the human side of the transition. By actively caring for the people involved and addressing their concerns, organizations can significantly improve the chances of a successful and productive migration to the cloud.

Uncertainty surrounding the cost of cloud migration

Migrating to the cloud can eventually lead to cost savings by boosting productivity, lowering administrative expenses, and streamlining workflows. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the initial stages of cloud migration can appear complex and expensive. Transitioning to the cloud can involve significant costs, particularly if your company has not accurately estimated the financial implications. The expenses associated with migration pose a crucial challenge for business leaders, encompassing data migration costs, compatibility concerns, the need for new skills, the absence of a data recovery plan, and the potential risks of an incorrect migration strategy.

Bridging the skills gap: choosing between hiring cloud talent or upskilling on-premises engineers

Embarking on a cloud migration journey can bring about apprehension among your staff. It is natural for people to worry about being replaced by cloud technologies. However, it is essential to address these concerns and focus on upgrading the skills of your existing teams, particularly if your business continues to rely on legacy systems. The lack of necessary skills poses a significant challenge in cloud migration, leading many organizations to invest considerable resources in training their workforce.

Understanding the application ecosystem: bridging knowledge gaps

Every application operates within a larger ecosystem, and when it comes to migration, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of these connections. That is where discovery tools come into play. They help identify the various interdependencies and connectivity within the ecosystem, which is vital when migrating different applications. However, the journey does not end with discovery alone. Further questions need to be addressed to ensure a successful migration process.

Importance of a comprehensive cloud migration plan

A successful cloud migration requires a solid plan, often overlooked by businesses rushing into the process. While the cloud offers streamlined operations, it can present challenges if not properly planned. Moving critical infrastructures and assets to the cloud demands thoughtful consideration, including app modernization, refactoring, and selecting the proper migration method (such as lift and shift or re-platforming). Rushing into the fastest option may not be suitable for business-critical applications. Taking the time to develop a comprehensive plan minimizes disruptions. It maximizes the benefits of cloud migration, ensuring a smoother transition and full utilization of the cloud’s advantages for the organization.

The clock's ticking: time to migrate

The time it takes to embrace the cloud depends on many factors, ranging from the intricacies of your old-timey apps to the volume and kind of data packing its bags for the big move. If the process gets slowed, you might consider cost overruns and maybe even downtime. So, it’s wise to have a Plan B ready in your migration game plan to avoid any unexpected hiccups.

The wild west of cloud migration costs

Embarking on a cloud migration journey might feel like going on a shopping spree with a credit card – costs can pile up before you realize it, and you might spend more than you planned. Being savvy about the costs of a successful cloud migration can keep your project from morphing into a money-guzzling monster. But that’s easier said than done if you’re not a cloud expert or don’t have a firm hand on the project’s reins. Consider setting budgets for each milestone, like checkpoints in a race, to keep costs under control and avoid spending more than you bargained for.

Avoiding vendor lock-in within the cloud migration strategy

Avoiding vendor lock-in is a crucial aspect of a cloud migration strategy. Once you have selected a specific cloud provider, switching vendors becomes challenging and expensive if issues arise. The fear of being stuck in an unsatisfactory collaboration can be a significant concern. Avoiding vendor lock-in is essential to maintain flexibility and control over your cloud infrastructure. You can mitigate the risks associated with vendor lock-in by implementing specific strategies, such as using open standards, adopting multi-cloud or hybrid cloud approaches, and ensuring data portability. These measures allow you to retain the ability to switch vendors or distribute your workload across multiple providers if necessary, reducing dependency on a single vendor and providing you with greater freedom and options for your cloud environment.

Tackling tricky workloads and outdated infrastructure

Shifting old-school apps to modern cloud solutions may not be a walk in the park, especially when these apps don’t play nice with cloud services or have more complexities than a Rubik’s cube. Plus, hiccups in the cloud infrastructure can add to the headache. Picture trying to revamp antiques to work like brand new – delays, extra costs, etc. It’s like trying to teach your grandpa to use the latest smartphone!

Dealing with hybrid networking setups

When dealing with a hybrid networking setup, it is essential to prioritize security and networking considerations right from the beginning. A hybrid configuration often requires specific security measures that may not be necessary once the migration is completed. To ensure a smooth lift-and-shift migration, it is crucial to involve the cyber incident response team and discuss the guardrails or rules that need to be established. Bringing the security team with their expertise and insights allows for a well-designed migration plan and projections. It’s essential to provide them with sufficient time and decision-making authority to address security concerns during migration. By involving the security team early on and empowering them in decision-making, you can strengthen the security of your hybrid networking setup and minimize potential risks.

Data security and compliance risks

Data security and compliance risks pose significant barriers to cloud migration. Despite the availability of secured cloud environments, many organizations remain hesitant to entrust their confidential data to third-party security vendors. The SANS 2019: The State of Cloud Security report highlights that 56% of respondents consider security a significant challenge when migrating to the cloud. This apprehension stems from concerns related to technology and applications. The primary worry is the fear of data breaches during migration leading to service disruptions. Particularly vulnerable are systems and information managed by enterprises, where sensitive data may be exposed due to weak controls and poorly-built applications. To address these risks, organizations must prioritize data protection and implement robust security measures throughout the cloud migration process. This includes establishing solid controls, ensuring secure handling of sensitive data, and designing applications with security in mind. By proactively addressing data security and compliance concerns, organizations can overcome these barriers and create a secure foundation for their cloud-based operations.

Insufficient cloud migration strategy

A well-defined and comprehensive plan is crucial for the successful execution of an IT project, particularly when it involves migrating to the cloud. Organizations risk encountering unforeseen obstacles and delays without a proper strategy, leading to longer deployment timelines and exceeding the budgeted costs.

Absence of clear ownership for a cloud migration process

Establishing a single point of contact who takes ownership of the cloud migration process is vital. Since it involves collaboration between the customer and cloud provider, with multiple stakeholders from different departments, the absence of clear ownership can result in miscommunication and confusion, leading to costly mistakes.

DevOps transformation on top of cloud migration

Companies without experience managing a secure cloud environment may face challenges when combining cloud migration and DevOps transformation. This simultaneous implementation can be disruptive and potentially lead to failures and cultural resistance due to multiple changes happening at once. To fully leverage the benefits of cloud migration, it is essential to embrace a DevOps culture. Without incorporating DevOps practices, the company may have a static environment similar to its existing on-premises setup. In such cases, the expected advantages of cloud migration may not be realized. It’s essential to be prepared and clearly understand the journey ahead rather than being caught off-guard by the complexities of this combined process. By proactively addressing the challenges and embracing a DevOps mindset, companies can better navigate the cloud migration and DevOps transformation, optimizing their outcomes and maximizing the benefits of both initiatives.

Building a cloud SRE organization

Building a cloud Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) organization is about bridging the gap between development and operations teams. The SRE team plays a crucial role in ensuring the reliability of systems. They take responsibility for availability, latency, performance, efficiency, change management, and monitoring. Organizations can enhance system reliability and maintain a seamless and efficient cloud infrastructure by establishing a dedicated SRE team. This collaborative approach helps streamline operations and ensures that systems perform optimally, providing a reliable experience for users.

Inadequate contingency plans for downtime

Maintaining uninterrupted service during a cloud migration can be challenging, despite efforts to maximize uptime. Having well-defined fallback plans and processes is invaluable in downtime, as they enable quick recovery and resumption of operations. Conversely, lacking fallback planning can cause significant delays and additional expenses.

Challenges in data replication during transition

Replicating data across multiple locations for backup and disaster recovery is critical in any cloud migration. However, it can be complex due to the volume of data involved and the need to ensure accuracy and integrity without data corruption or loss.

Adopting cloud-native and 12-factor application architecture

Adopting a cloud-native approach involves creating applications specifically designed for the cloud, prioritizing scalability, reliability, and easy monitoring. This shift entails developing lightweight, disposable apps that can be seamlessly scaled out. It signifies a departure from the traditional mindset of treating computing resources as pets, instead embracing the idea of disposable and scalable resources. At the core of cloud-native applications are the 12-Factor principles, which provide a proven foundation for designing applications that align with the cloud-native philosophy. Understanding and applying these principles, such as separating configuration from code and emphasizing stateless processes, is essential to successfully adopting cloud-native patterns and practices. By adopting a cloud-native architecture, organizations can fully harness the advantages of the cloud environment, optimizing their applications for scalability, reliability, and overall performance.

Motivations behind organizations embracing cloud migration challenges

Organizations willingly face the challenges of cloud migration because they recognize its numerous benefits. Despite the complexities involved, cloud migration provides compelling advantages that make it worthwhile. Below we will delve into crucial reasons that drive organizations toward cloud migration. One of the primary benefits of cloud computing is its scalability, allowing businesses to adjust resources to match their needs quickly. This flexibility, improved operational efficiency, cost savings, and faster time-to-market for new services make the cloud attractive.

Moreover, the cloud provides access to advanced tools and technologies that may not be readily available in traditional on-premises IT environments. While acknowledging the challenges, organizations can address them effectively by understanding each and implementing strategic solutions. By adequately planning, conducting thorough due diligence, and assembling the right team, businesses can successfully navigate the complexities of cloud migration. To ensure a smooth transition, companies must develop a comprehensive cloud strategy. This strategy should outline specific goals, business objectives, desired cloud services, and steps for a successful migration. Investing in technology and resources that support the migration process is also essential. If you need assistance with your cloud migration challenges, our team of experienced cloud experts at Hystax is here to help. We can assess risks, develop tailored plans, and ensure a seamless transition to working with a cloud vendor. Contact us today to get that it’s easier than ever to migrate to the cloud with Hystax.

Approaches that can be employed to overcome the challenges

1. Start at the top:

Engage your C-level leadership and other top leaders in the organization. Their support and involvement are crucial in driving cloud adoption and getting employees engaged. Strong executive buy-in sets the tone for the entire organization.

2. Communicate the why:

Ensure your leadership understands the business requirements and objectives for moving to the cloud. Please encourage them to effectively communicate the reasons behind the change to the rest of the organization. When employees understand the purpose and benefits of cloud migration, they are more likely to embrace it.

3. Prioritize usability and integration:

When selecting cloud solutions for your applications, focus on user-friendly and intuitive tools. Employees are more likely to embrace a tool that is easy to use and understand. Additionally, prioritize solutions that can seamlessly integrate with your existing technology stack. This allows employees to smoothly incorporate the new tools into their workflows, increasing efficiency and reducing resistance to change.

4. Highlight the benefits:

Before announcing any changes, communicate the benefits of cloud adoption. Explain how the new solutions will streamline work processes, improve collaboration, and enhance productivity. You can alleviate concerns and create enthusiasm for the transition by emphasizing positive outcomes.

5. Preparation is crucial:

To prevent unnecessary expenses during cloud migration, it is essential to be well-prepared. Collaborate closely with your cloud service provider to understand and outline all the expenses associated with the migration process before finalizing your migration plan.

6. Consider all cost factors:

When estimating the cost of cloud migration, consider various factors such as infrastructure costs on the chosen cloud platform, migration expenses, financial risks arising from slower adoption, and the essential training required after the migration.

7. Budgeting challenges:

Covering all the above costs can be challenging when transitioning to the cloud without proper planning. Knowing potential budgetary constraints, you can better allocate resources and avoid unexpected financial burdens.

8. Seek expert advice:

If you are unsure about predicting the overall costs or how to optimize your cloud Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), consider consulting a cloud migration expert. They can provide valuable insights and guidance to help you estimate expenses accurately and find ways to reduce your cloud TCO.

9. Hire a mix of talent:

Consider hiring cloud experts and experienced engineers from your existing team. This way, you can leverage your current employees’ knowledge while bringing fresh perspectives and skills specific to cloud technologies.

10. Focus on upskilling:

Invest in training and upskilling programs for your existing engineers to bridge the gap in cloud knowledge. Please provide them with resources and opportunities to learn about cloud architecture, provisioning, deployment, and auto-scaling. Please encourage them to acquire relevant certifications and reward their efforts.

11. Seek external expertise:

Engage cloud migration consultants with the necessary skills and experience to transition to the cloud. They can guide your team through the process, provide best practices, and help develop a solid cloud strategy.

12. Foster collaboration:

Encourage collaboration among your team members to brainstorm and overcome cloud migration challenges. Create a platform for knowledge sharing and idea generation, such as organizing lectures or workshops addressing specific challenges.

13. Proactive education and awareness:

Establish cloud institutes or dedicated learning programs within your organization to proactively educate employees about cloud technologies. Make learning exciting and engaging by organizing interactive sessions, practical exercises, and hands-on projects.

14. Take time with hiring:

When recruiting DevOps engineers or cloud specialists, prioritize finding individuals with the right skill sets and experience. Do not rush hiring; finding affordable candidates with the necessary expertise can be challenging. Consider partnering with reputable organizations specializing in cloud management and deployment projects, like Hystax.

15. Hire a mix of talent:

Consider hiring cloud experts and experienced engineers from your existing team. This way, you can leverage your current employees’ knowledge while bringing fresh perspectives and skills specific to cloud technologies.

16. Focus on upskilling:

Invest in training and upskilling programs for your existing engineers to bridge the gap in cloud knowledge. Please provide them with resources and opportunities to learn about cloud architecture, provisioning, deployment, and auto-scaling. Please encourage them to acquire relevant certifications and reward their efforts.

17. Seek external expertise:

Engage cloud migration consultants with the necessary skills and experience to transition to the cloud. They can guide your team through the process, provide best practices, and help develop a solid cloud strategy.

18. Foster collaboration:

Encourage collaboration among your team members to brainstorm and overcome cloud migration challenges. Create a platform for knowledge sharing and idea generation, such as organizing lectures or workshops addressing specific challenges.

19. Proactive education and awareness:

Establish cloud institutes or dedicated learning programs within your organization to proactively educate employees about cloud technologies. Make learning exciting and engaging by organizing interactive sessions, practical exercises, and hands-on projects.

20. Ensure data portability:

Avoid proprietary formats and choose cloud vendors that support open standards. Clearly define your data model to ensure that files can be easily understood by people and computers, enabling portability.

21. Save time and resources:

By using discovery tools, you can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with manually analyzing the structure and dependencies of your business-critical applications. These tools streamline the process and provide 90% of the necessary information.

22. Embrace the cloud migration journey:

Understand that migrating to the cloud means embracing change and continuous improvement. It is essential to recognize that not all features or aspects of your application ecosystem may be fully documented. The cloud migration process allows you to reassess and optimize your applications, making them function better.

23. Learn as you go:

Approach the migration journey as a learning opportunity. As you progress through the migration process, you will gain valuable insights and knowledge about your application ecosystem. Embrace this hands-on experience to enhance your understanding and refine your cloud migration strategy.

24. Avoid analysis paralysis:

Develop a well-thought-out strategy to prevent getting stuck in indecision or over-analysis during the later stages of the migration process.

25. Consider all applications and associated costs:

Consider the applications that need to be moved and evaluate the data and processing costs involved – it’s also a factor in any potential costs related to downtime during the migration.

26. Plan for post-migration adjustments:

Be prepared to tweak or reconstruct critical cloud systems after the migration. Highlight these systems in your roadmap and migration strategy to ensure they receive proper attention.

27. Break down the strategy into steps:

Partition your migration strategy into different phases or steps to streamline the transition. This approach helps prioritize tasks, focus on specific areas, and maintain an organized and efficient migration process.

28. Research extensively:

Carefully research potential cloud vendors by exploring their websites, reading testimonials, examining use cases, and reviewing their terms of service. Each vendor offers unique services, so gathering as much information as possible is essential.

29. Include an exit strategy in the contract:

When negotiating the contract with your cloud vendor, incorporate an exit strategy that outlines the steps and costs involved in transitioning away from their services, if needed.

30. Enhance software portability:

Make your software as portable as possible by reducing dependencies on vendor-specific features or formats. This will facilitate a smoother transition between cloud providers and minimize risks associated with proprietary formatting lock-ins.

31. Have a backup plan:

Even if you find a seemingly perfect cloud vendor, it is wise to have a backup plan. Keep a list of alternative service providers, including their names and details, in case you need to switch to another vendor swiftly.

32. Beware of automatic contract renewals:

Pay attention to automatic contract renewals. While they may simplify bill payments, they can bind you to a vendor without your knowledge. Stay vigilant and review contract terms to avoid unintended lock-in situations.

33. Define the minimum viable cloud:

Please work with your clients to determine the essential components of their cloud infrastructure, including the security framework, automation framework, operations framework, networking architecture, and core account structure.

34. Implement identity and access management:

Set up robust identity and access management systems to control user access and define access patterns. Consider factors such as global clients and their connection methods (internet or VPN) to understand the associated threat vectors.

35. Address network layout:

If migrating from an on-premises environment with an existing network setup, plan for syncing the on-premises network with the new cloud environment to ensure seamless connectivity.

36. Enhance security measures:

Assess the level of personally identifiable information (PII) involved and determine the appropriate security measures to prevent data loss, patch vulnerabilities, and establish a plan for end clients. Prioritize cybersecurity and ensure the minimum viable cloud passes rigorous security testing.

37. Consider DevSecOps consulting services:

Explore options for engaging with consulting services specializing in DevSecOps. These services can help bridge the gap between IT and security, covering aspects such as security engineering, security operations, compliance operations, and security automation. This ensures safe and efficient delivery of code releases.

38. Cloud platforms prioritize security:

Cloud platforms are designed with security in mind, and cloud vendors implement industry-grade security systems to establish a comprehensive and secure cloud environment.

39. Ensuring data security during migration:

A secure cloud migration ensures that company data follows a preferred routable path and remains protected within firewalls at all times. This process includes masking private data from third parties during migration, and eliminating risks such as data theft.

40. Compliance and risk reduction:

A secure cloud migration guarantees compliance with relevant regulations and standards, reducing potential security breaches and data loss. To gain extra assurance in your cloud vendor’s security measures, consider asking the following questions before collaborating:

  • Which security regulations do they comply with (such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, etc.)?
  • What is the process for data migration from the cloud?
  • Where will the data be stored?
  • Is there end-to-end encryption for data?

41. Prioritize learning and development:

Becoming an SRE involves a culture change and a shift in mindset. Provide your team the necessary learning and development opportunities to equip them with the fundamentals and skills they need to succeed in their roles.

42. Focus on the main issue:

Determine your challenges or issues with your applications or processes. Evaluate if the 12-Factor principles can address these specific concerns effectively.

43. Selective application of the principles:

Not all believers of the 12-Factor methodology apply all twelve principles. Assess which principles are most relevant and applicable to your use case and prioritize their implementation accordingly.

44. Suitable for new apps or complete refactoring:

The 12-Factor approach is particularly suitable when designing new applications or completely reworking existing projects. It provides a valuable framework for ensuring cloud-native characteristics in these scenarios.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while cloud migrations can present challenges, preparing and considering these common obstacles can make the process smoother. By developing a comprehensive cloud migration strategy that considers these challenges, you can ensure a more streamlined and successful move to the cloud.
We at Hystax specialize in a cloud migration strategy and provide SMBs and enterprises with unique any-to-any migration software, which helps them move to the cloud quickly and effortlessly. Our expertise allows us to assist you in implementing an efficient cloud migration, minimizing disruptions to your operations, and mitigating cloud security risks.
If you have any questions or are interested in exploring cloud migration for your enterprise, we are here to help. Contact us today, and let’s collaborate on finding the best cloud migration solutions for your specific needs.

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