We have all read the articles touting the benefits of cloud computing and have also read the warnings about downtime and security. After doing your own research and evaluating your current business situation, we have decided that moving to the cloud is a good idea. Now what? As any IT professional can attest, implementing a new application or process is complicated enough, let alone moving an entire or maybe part of an infrastructure from one medium to another. How should businesses prepare for this move? What steps should they take and what issues should they watch out for? The complete answer will vary for each organization, but the following advice should get you started in the right direction when migrating to a cloud database.
It is one component that is often overlooked, but one of the huge tasks of migrating to the cloud is gaining the support of all of the departments and employees that will be affected. Some businesses’ departments may be used to having control over their technology, and for others, change is not welcomed warmly. The key to overcoming these concerns is to make sure key executives are in full support of the move and that business leaders lead by example in showing support for the move.
Unless you are a relatively small business owner with little IT infrastructure in place, you have made a significant investment in hardware, software and support for your internal system. As such, it is probably not in your financial best interests to simply transfer everything to the cloud and leave that expensive system sitting empty. Instead, create a plan for how you can continue to get value from your internal system, such as maintaining highly sensitive data there, or slowly phasing out machines as they become outdated.
Performance is key to a successful cloud migration. As such, business leaders should carefully evaluate cloud providers for speed and downtime, but will also need to look at performance internally. Many businesses mistakenly blame the cloud provider for slow performance when really the blame lies with its own Internet bandwidth. Recognize how much bandwidth power will be required to effectively operate all of your IT applications at once that you plan on transferring over. Additions to Internet browsers, Citrix and Oracle Java may be necessary on your end as well.
More than likely your applications don’t work alone and may need to continue to connect to external applications from various vendors or to your SQL database. Look into whether you will still be able to connect to your entire interface after the move as well as whether suppliers or other support personnel will be able to gain access when they need it. Another possibility would be to move your database into the cloud altogether with a provider that offers big data services. With all of the computing and processing happening in the cloud it may make more sense to store your data there, as well, instead of moving it back and forth.
Finally, consider the cost of moving hardware-intensive workloads to the cloud. Many providers will charge a fee based on how much of the computing resource’s a business consumes. This means that while scaling to meet a large workload is easy, scaling on a regular basis can come with a hefty price tag. Be realistic of how much a cloud database will cost you and be prepared for that budget to grow as the workload increases.
While certainly not a comprehensive list, these are some of the key considerations business leaders need to make while migrating to the cloud. Above all else, make sure you create a plan that makes sense for your business by taking all factors that will be affected into account.