Cloud is a complex beast. No two migrations are ever the same, so maximising project success requires strategic focus on the right priority areas.
It all starts with your strategy document, which should be built around these essential pillars:
1) Categorise your computing
For most SMEs, certain parts of their IT infrastructure won’t move to the public cloud. At a minimum, (unless your company has no physical base), on-premises systems are required to allow staff to connect to remote cloud infrastructure.
You might also choose to deploy – or already run – private cloud systems, hosted either in on-premises data centres or an external specialist, like Synapse360’s Private Managed Cloud.
Private cloud and private-public hybrids can ease the transition to public cloud, helping your IT specialists, from application developers to infrastructure teams, safely learn the effective use of cloud-based services.
As you move to public cloud from on-premises, you will have a hybrid deployment initially and, unless you remove all your in-house systems and shut the office, likely forever.
2) Choose a phased deployment
“Big bang” IT projects are very risky. Many will fail outright. A phased, step-by-step deployment on a solid trustworthy platform will let you learn as you go, evolving your cloud strategy as you develop a full understanding of what the cloud can do and how well it fits your needs.
Understand what you have now: run a discovery programme first
“Plant a flag”: build your basecamp and explore the public cloud in stages
Move slowly and steadily: transition over years, not months, switching one service at a time
You can keep your on-premises data centre running in parallel while you move to cloud in a staged, low risk way. Once public cloud is tested and proven, only then start to switch off redundant systems.
3) Estimate your budget
Budgeting is a big challenge. Why? Because you’re trying to predict the future.
When you’re working out what the first and subsequent migration stages will cost, how new cloud apps might increase business income or where savings might be made over existing systems – be pragmatic and expect some variation in practice.
Public cloud can improve performance and reduce costs for standardised, well-defined processes and systems like email, CRM, and ERP. It’s also perfect for exploring new technologies, applications, and development models (agile, DevOps) that support digital transformation (mobile apps, AI/machine learning, HPC) and potentially grow business revenue.
Carefully measure existing storage, processing, and other usage relevant to future cloud consumption
Use cloud providers’ free tools for estimating future consumption – or find someone who can
A recipe for public cloud success
In your high-level strategy document, try to predict:
Which workloads, applications, and data you think will move to the public/private cloud over time.
Which are the best ones to start with?
Which will likely never move to the cloud and where on-premises is definitely the best option. Reasons for that include licencing requirements, the size of servers, complex integrations, and large sunk costs.
As well as any external cloud partners, talk to cloud services providers and software vendors to gauge how their offerings will evolve. Does their roadmap support or hinder your plans?
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