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Why cloud migration fails and how to prevent it?

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Why cloud migration fails and how to prevent it?

The cloud promises it all: – scalability, security, flexibility, agility, cost-effectiveness, and better performance. It is true that a successful cloud migration can have a great impact on your business and prepare you for the future. But sometimes cloud migrations fail and end up disappointing the stakeholders. This is because some businesses do not have an idea of what they are signing up for when migrating to the cloud.

So, how can you ensure that your cloud migration is a success?

The cloud migration process can be overwhelming. But the key is to understand the possible mistakes and pitfalls before undertaking a cloud migration, and take measures to avoid them. Let us look at the common reasons for cloud migration failures first and go on to find out how to create a perfect migration plan.

17 reasons why cloud migration fails

Lack of proper planning

Cloud migration is a digital transformation process for your business, and you need a solid plan of action before you begin. A cloud migration done without a strategy can result in security gaps, performance issues, work interruptions and cost a lot of IT and business resources.

A robust, well-researched and clearly defined strategy will help you avoid most of the mistakes. To create an exhaustive cloud migration plan, you need to assess your current infrastructure.

A thorough cloud assessment can help you save money, resources, effort, and time. This will help you set realistic goals and timelines. You can also give buffer time for clearing any roadblocks in your migration journey.

  • Current KPIs and post-migration targets which include CPU and memory usage, performance metrics, etc.
  • Missing dependencies and needs for integration.
  • Decide how apps are to be migrated and which of them have to be retained, rebuilt, rearchitected, re-platformed, replaced, or retired

Migrating everything at once

Migrating your business to the cloud is a journey and trying to do it all at once can prove to be a herculean task.

Trying to migrate all at once can cause unexpected issues, unexpected expenses, more delays in implementation, and increases the risk of errors that can result in failure. When moving to the cloud, businesses relinquish control over the underlying infrastructure. The security and compliance policies are more static in the cloud. You need to address the key differences between the existing infrastructure and the cloud.

Understand that not every piece of infrastructure, app, or process is fit for the cloud. Some workloads function best on-premises while some have to be reallocated. It is crucial to identify which is which. The size and complexity of the architecture decide the time required for cloud migration.

It is important to have a gradual approach to migration. Gradually migrating the application will give you time to optimize the process and save costs. You need to select components of infrastructure that will thrive on the cloud and create a priority list for your migration plan.

Going big at once can be a big mistake. Start small, move less critical to business applications first, and leave the stable modern parts for the last unless there is a cost factor. Progressively increase the load to offset any future issues and roll back easily without disrupting the business in case of a failure.

Migrating without a cause or a solid business case

Why do you want to migrate to the cloud? Many businesses jump on the cloud bandwagon without proper goals for their business. It is true that taking your business to the cloud can cut costs, use resources effectively and improve performance. But what exactly do you want the cloud to do for your business? If you migrate without an end goal in mind, the cloud migration is bound to fail.

Conducting a cloud readiness assessment and building a business case can help in building a functional strategy and an end-to-end migration plan that succeeds.

A cloud readiness assessment will not only help you understand the infrastructure, workloads, the current business context and avoid the pitfalls but also help you identify tangible benefits of cloud migration to your business.

Neglecting differences between cloud environments

Thinking that all cloud providers are the same is another mistake that can cost you. Cloud is not just about VMs and storage which every vendor can offer you.

The infrastructure, architecture, and application are different with every cloud platform. You can have public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud options.

Understand more about the service provided and get more information on the documentation, support, and training for the new service, applications that are covered in the service opted, security and cloud disaster recovery provisions and obligations, scaling capacity, industry compliance, regulations, etc.

There are other factors like billing schemes, additional services, and network services that you need to consider.

When choosing a cloud provider, find out the differences between cloud providers and narrow down the right one for you. You can also go for a multi-cloud heterogeneous architecture which gives you more options. You can also choose solutions and services based on defined protocol or API.

Having unrealistic expectations

You might be migrating to the cloud for availability, security, scalability, lesser cost of operation, or high performance. Migrating to the cloud has a lot of benefits but it all comes down to how you use it. There is no magic way in which the cloud can reduce the efforts, cost and increase performance.

You need to implement the right processes, train your employees, figure out the right solutions and find the right balance between on-premises and cloud-based solutions for your business.

You should have a detailed cloud migration roadmap and should make the necessary adjustments and optimize them as you move. The key is to set realistic expectations and make your organization ready to adapt to the cloud. Prioritize the important aspects of cloud migration such as moving critical components first or ensuring zero downtime. Identify your primary tech drivers such as agility or availability or cost reduction and align them with your migration roadmap.

Unrealistic projection of cloud migration costs

Just like unrealistic expectations, unrealistic projections of cost and effort of migration can hurt your cloud migration plans. If you migrate without an accurate projection of the cost, it might end up in you paying a lot more than expected.

There are many tools that can help you project the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). For example, in the case of Microsoft Azure, there is an Azure TCO calculator and Azure pricing calculator which can give a projection of the operational costs and costs of migration based on existing infrastructure.

There are various factors that you should consider while calculating the cost of migration. You should take into account the cost for analysis, market research, infrastructure configuration, migration costs, optimization, training, and maintenance to estimate the overall cost. Compare this with the profit and ROI that you are expecting.

There are also several tools and practices to do cost optimization on the cloud. But you need to have a clear plan and have to make a conscious effort to do it post-migration.

Wrong migration approach

There is a misconception that you can simply lift and shift the workload to the cloud as it is when migrating to the cloud. Nobody could be more wrong about this as several legacy applications are built for the private server hosts and cannot perform the same on the cloud. Lifting and shifting workloads might be the cheapest and easiest of the cloud migration approaches but it can cause your migration to fail if the workloads and applications are not ready for the cloud.

An enterprise cloud migration involves transitioning the business processes, culture, and organizational structure and is a large-scale process. Every cloud migration is unique and needs a tailored approach and take a different route based on the specific requirements. Consider the retain, revise, rehost, refactor, rebuild and replace strategy for all applications.

Overlooking the human element

Cloud migration changes the way in which your business works, how you build products, deliver services, and how you connect with customers. This transformation does not happen by itself. The process and people should also change for the cloud migration to be successful.

The users and the IT staff need to be educated and trained on handling radical software updates, new processes, and operational shifts, seeking and providing support, etc. The entire processes move away from legacy models to a new and innovative way of doing business. All the users have to be able to adapt to the new roles as the cloud makes the processes more decentralized.

It is your employees who will be using the cloud, implementing, maintaining, and governing it. So, it is always better to involve them as early as possible. This will help them understand the benefits and working of cloud migration and will be able to make the most out of it.

You can also use a feedback channel to address concerns and queries in real-time. The biggest mistake that can make your cloud migration fail is not being on the same page with the people who are using it.

Not bringing in all stakeholders

Another reason for cloud migration failure is the lack of proper communication and the inability to reach a consensus between all the stakeholders. Everyone in the organization, the C-level executives, managers, and end-users should be aware of how cloud migration is going to affect them and how disruptive the change is going to be.

This will give them time to warm up to the changes and prepare for the changes. Ensure clear communication to avoid any unnecessary friction and complication and ease the entire transition from the existing infrastructure to the cloud.

Not testing thoroughly

Most businesses save testing to the last when they have completed the entire infrastructure migration.

This can result in cloud migration failures if you overlook anything which is highly probable in large-scale migration. This is why you should integrate testing as an important step in every stage of the cloud migration process. You need to test adequately and extensively before moving an entire infrastructure to the cloud.

Workload or storage misalignment

If you are having an inaccurate idea of your existing infrastructure, then it will cause unforeseen problems in the future and will affect the availability and security of the cloud infrastructure. If your configuration management database (CMDB) is not perfectly up to date, it can lead to an inaccurate assessment of the infrastructure performance profile like peak usage demands.

This can make you select an unworkable cloud configuration, IOPS, or bandwidth which in turn cause bottlenecks that are hard to detect. The result will be cost inefficiencies and poor performance and risk of critical applications coming to stop.

So, it is important to avoid such risks and fix bottlenecks, so the applications don’t break during the cloud migration process.

No data and apps adjustments

Not every application performs well in the cloud, certainly not as it is. A common misstep that IT departments take is that they treat the cloud like a virtual data center and do not make any necessary changes in operations or procedures when moving to the cloud.

Many IT pros had to move back apps from the public cloud to on-premises due to performance and cost issues due to lack of optimization for the cloud.

Rigorous evaluation of the existing application, dependencies, and data are necessary. Before moving them to the cloud decide which applications should stay and which one should be discarded, and which should be modernized.

Neglecting security issues

Inadequate and incomplete security policies are one of the quickest ways how cloud migration fails. If an organization fails to identify sensitive data and security risks during the assessment, there can be data leaks, data loss, and other security breaches which can result in cloud migration failures.

Identifying critical data, creating centralized security policies to counter security issues, enforcing compliance and infrastructure-wide secure access process, and opting for security as a service is necessary to mitigate preventable, strategic, and external security risks.

Inadequate resources skills or experience

An enterprise cloud migration is possibly a large-scale one-time process that takes time, effort, and cost. Even if you have the migration best plan, if your employees are not familiar with the cloud, the migration can have serious setbacks. There can be a risk of poor performance and cost control. Even worse, inexperienced staff can overlook many factors which can result in security loopholes.

You can hire some experienced staff, but it is always best to invest in your staff. Train and educate your staff and go for long-term coaching and mentoring processes so that you can leverage the full advantages of the cloud.

Having a third-party cloud consultant and partner can also help you in a frictionless transition to the cloud. You can also ask them to pinpoint the in-house skill gap during the assessment stage. To ensure that cloud migration does not fail you need to modernize your workforce and close the skill gap.

Ignoring Infrastructure as code approach

Over time every deployment environment becomes a unique configuration that cannot be reproduced automatically. So, teams must maintain the settings of individual deployment environments. This can create issues like inconsistency and errors during deployments which can build up into a cloud migration failure.

Infrastructure as code approach helps you to manage and provision infrastructures such as networks, virtual machines, load balancers, and connection topology through code instead of handling processes manually. Keeping infrastructure as code gives you a template to follow for provisioning infrastructure and you can automate it if you want.

Using infrastructure as a code helps in better cost control and makes a quicker response to changes in the business and increases the potential for scalability.

Lack of an upgrade policy

Upgrades are inevitable as you move on to the cloud. If you do not have an upgrade policy in place, your cloud strategy will fall apart.

You need to decide the upgrade policy based on the business requirements or it will end up in a cloud migration failure. A robust upgrade policy will help you improve the performance and optimize the cost.

Unlike on-premises upgrades, you can perform blue-green deployments or rolling deployments which increase the availability of the applications by decreasing the downtime to almost zero. You can install, remove or upgrade modules without disrupting the service.

Lack of a good cloud migration partner

A good cloud migration consultant is difficult to find but they decide whether your cloud migration is a success or if it will be a liability to you. To avoid cloud migration failure, select an experienced

cloud consultant with expertise as your partner. They can give you the most accurate timelines, budget estimates and make the transition smoother.

For example, rearchitecting or re-platforming the application will take more time than a simple lift and shift. The total cost and time required for migration will also depend on the size of your legacy system and its age. If your cloud partner makes a wrong move, it can cause delays and cost you more. Partnering with an expert who is adept at handling large-scale migrations can help you get started with advanced infrastructure engineering methods such as containerization, Infrastructure as Code, and microservices.

How to prevent cloud migration failure?

Cloud migration is a large project especially when it is an enterprise cloud migration. There can be several factors that can cause the migration to fail based on the complexity of the existing infrastructure and dependencies. But once you have factored in all the possible shortcomings and taken the necessary measures, you can build a cloud migration strategy that is successful.

Establishing a clear cloud operating model

Based on your business objectives clearly define how your organization is going to be transformed after cloud migration. This includes current workflows, internal processes, and business operations in general. This will specify a route map for how the organization will operate post-cloud migration.

Infrastructure – Define how to phase out legacy systems, how to select, deploy and manage the cloud infrastructure: – the OS, servers, and databases

Application – Redefine the application development and deployment processes such as backups, scaling, testing security

People – Give your existing staff the necessary training, create an in-house support team and hire new staff like cloud architects, DevOps team as required

Security– Double check the default security settings and make necessary changes and ensure that you have the same level of control over data and the security levels are the same when moving sensitive data to the cloud

Operational Expenditure – Create a plan for how to calculate, control, report, and optimize operational costs on cloud

Steps for making cloud migration successful

Cloud migration can transform your business. You can take a pragmatic approach, avoid the pitfalls and make the best out of the cloud with the right steps.

Consult with an expert: Take the help of an experienced cloud consultant to make sure that you are cloud ready.

Build a strong business case: Find out what cloud can do for your business and is it worth it for your business?

Conduct cloud readiness assessment: Assess your current infrastructure, process, and requirements and create a readiness report.

Strategize: Decide what cloud service to take and which cloud provider to use and what is the best migration approach based on cost, timeline, and specific requirements.

Prioritize: Create a detailed roadmap based on the criticality of the application and accommodate delays and failovers.

Prepare the business: Educate and train people across the organization for the cloud and expand your team to fill the resource gap.

Create policies: Establish policies on security, upgrades, access control, compliance, and create processes for operation, reporting, and optimization.

Migrate in stages: Adopt an iterative approach like DevOps and move less critical components first and then migrate larger more critical components.Choose what goes to the cloud diligently: Rehost, refactor, replace rearchitect, rebuilt, or retire as required.

Optimize: Optimize as you go forward, provide support and do regular updates and maintenance

Conclusion

Cloud migration can be a truly transformative step for your business. But there are many ways in which your cloud migration can fail. It is important to understand why cloud migration fails and how to prevent it to be prepared to have a successful move to the cloud. Choose an experienced cloud partner, have a business case, conduct a detailed cloud assessment, create a strategy and roadmap for migration, prepare the stakeholders, and migrate in stages to avoid common cloud migration mistakes and make the most out of the cloud.