This blog, the sequel to Cloud Trends: The More You Know, references and reviews The 2016 State of Resilience report published by Vision Solutions.  It presents data from 2,216 mid- and high-level IT professionals, surveyed in late 2015 covering the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and beyond. 

This blog will address the section titled “The State of Migration," which covers drivers for moving to a Cloud but fails to include some important information:

When you migrate to the Cloud, you will introduce more risk to your business than you’ve EVER had to deal with before.

Cloud, even as provided by the most popular vendors, is not inherently safe. Even well-planned migrations are not necessarily risk-free. You’ve fought hard for YEARS to protect your environment from downtime and data loss, and in committing to the Cloud, you could negotiate all of that away. However, that doesn't have to be the case.

Let’s talk about the survey’s Top 3 Objectives “from your company’s last migration” according to our 2,216 IT execs.

1. Replace outdated and unsupported server hardware (60% of all surveyed)

As the primary driver, you should all look at your oldest outdated and unsupported servers and ask yourself if those are the right candidates for migration. They are your most likely source of cost savings – perhaps even your greatest cost saving element ON THE SURFACE.  

But there’s gotta be a catch somewhere, right? Its more than defining the compute.  Can you live with 99.9% availability or less? What is security/compliance like?  How does your solution scale, and at what cost?

Think of it this way.  You are considering replacing (tens of) thousands of dollars of hardware in a Public Cloud that exists–who knows where–and the brand offering it gives you a feeling of safety.  Feel safe? Find the fine print in their SLA section that addresses service failure… that $3.42 refund will come in handy as you print a few more resumes.

2. Upgrade Performance (Over 45% of all surveyed)

It seems that cost savings has been king.  Performance would have to be pretty bad for it to be a top objective in the US.  Maybe that's just us.

Larger companies have been focused on optimized performance for the longest time, but medium sized companies and smaller have been suffering from "good enough" performance for the last 15 years.  Don't get us wrong: moving to the Cloud for performance reasons is valid.  But, usually, performance is a by-product of Cloud migration, NOT the driver.

That being said, COST can be an incredibly strong driver to migrate.  Both small and large companies alike are sometimes blinded by potential cost savings.  Cost savings can be realized with careful planning and execution.  Counter-intuitive to some is that you’ll likely have to pay a professional to get there.

3. “Upgrade Storage Hardware” (Over 45% of all surveyed)

Storage may be the #3 driver, but it also continues to be a huge wildcard in migration planning and here are just a few reasons why:

  • The cost of putting your storage in the Cloud is rarely accounted for accurately.  So many factors affect the cost of your Cloud storage, factors that will make your actual cost, 2x to 5x more than you had planned.  Don’t fall for the marketing hype.  Do cost comparisons.  AWS, Azure, and Google pricing can vary widely with the exact same configuration. You might be surprised by how price competitive the rest of the field can be.
  • Putting primary storage in the Cloud needs the input of a professional… not a Cloud professional, a Storage professional. As you know, storage alone can be a huge bottleneck – adding bandwidth, Cloud availability, and now, even proximity and you have a new puzzle to solve. It's not impossible; just don't take it lightly.
  • Disaster Recovery and High Availability are just a couple of solutions that, when done right, require tools to go with the storage. Talk to your vendor about solution requirements rather than specific tools and brands. A good storage consultant will require RPO, RTO, SLAs. How much does storage change daily or weekly? How much growth do you expect in the next year? There’s more, but all is worth the effort.

If you are truly interested in moving to the Cloud, select a vendor with specialties to leverage.  That is where your efficiencies will be found.  Look for tools, skills, and support you couldn’t otherwise afford that, using a third party vendor, can be available at your fingertips, for a very affordable price!

So picking a vendor is critical. Good planning will look at business processes, test application integration, and data.  If any of these topics are dismissed with an Easy Button response, prepare for a bumpy ride. 

Finally, ask your current vendor if they’ve ever recommended NOT moving a customer to the Cloud and have them tell you why – in detail.  Hint: "yes" is a good answer!

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