One of the objections I hear to cloud migration is — whatever the eventual business benefits — migration causes disruption and expense in the short term. There are a couple of possible answers I could give. The “band-aid removal” response would be that it’s best to get the disruption out of the way quickly.
For a business with legacy infrastructure imminently in need of replacement, the band-aid approach may be the best option. But many businesses find value in an incremental approach. Every business’ IT infrastructure supports multiple functions and processes, some of which can be moved to new infrastructure with minimal disruption.
The first step is to identify processes and applications that would see an immediate benefit from a move to cloud infrastructure.
Businesses retain huge quantities of data to conform to regulatory requirements or for future analysis. Storing that data requires an investment in servers and storage media, network infrastructure, data center floor space, power, and management and maintenance staff.
Archival data is an obvious candidate for cloud migration — migration won’t disrupt core business functions and is likely to reduce expenditure with minimal upfront investment.
While it’s not as simple as flipping a switch, migrating stores of data onto a cloud platform is a well-rehearsed process. Before legacy infrastructure is retired, data can be duplicated across that infrastructure and the cloud until the business is ready to put its trust in the reliability of the cloud platform.
Once a business has dipped a toe into cloud data storage with archival data, the natural next step is to move active data onto cloud platforms. Again, this needn’t be a wholesale migration. Many business choose to start by moving data associated with marketing processes into the cloud.
Once data is in the cloud, it’s it makes sense to leverage the elasticity and competitive pricing of cloud compute by migrating data analytics applications to the cloud platform too.
Every business’s cloud migration story is different, but there’s a common plot. Business’ start by migrating non-critical process from hosted or on-premises physical infrastructure onto cloud platforms, seeking to outsource the costs associated with these processes.
As they realize the promised value and become comfortable with a new way of thinking about infrastructure deployment and management, businesses gradually increase their cloud infrastructure investment.
It’s important that executives and business owners realize that the cloud doesn’t exist to disrupt businesses, but to facilitate a better way to deploy, manage, and generate value from IT infrastructure.