The most demanding and dynamic technologies are cloud technology. Today, almost every business deals with cloud computing setup by the assistance of Cloud-based solution providers and Software Development firms. It has changed the traditional business models and has introduced concepts such as Online collaboration and AI as a service. Most of the companies are considering cloud migration. It is simple, flexible, scalable, reliable, cost-effective, improved performance and disaster recovery and faster development.
But every technology has some hurdles which should be taken care of by the companies and organizations before making any step.
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What are the biggest challenges with Cloud Migration?
The challenges of cloud migration are as follows:
- Missing a clear strategy that determines the business objective.
- Cloud Sprawl caused when there is no clear understanding of the full scope of the cloud environment.
- Crossing the planned budget.
- Security breach
- Human understanding and zero skills to operate the new infrastructure.
All these challenges have the right solutions to resolve them. Let’s discuss how we can overcome the challenges in cloud migration and make the transition smooth.
1. Not having any strategy:
The most common mistake every company or organization commits is not having any clear business objectives or any liable migration plan. Sometimes the manager finds themselves stuck at something after performing a fair amount of work for migration. Due to that, clearing the formulation of business goals and reconstructing the migration strategy from scratch works.
The better strategy ensures a smooth transition avoid analysis breakdown in the later stage of the process. It is very important to choose within the wide variety of choices whether to choose public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure like Infrastructure as Service (IaaS), Platform as service (PaaS) and Software as Service (SaaS) models.
Proper planning of every stage of the migration directs you to make the right choices and achieve your target by overcoming unnecessary spending.
On this view, one of the expert Laura Fuentes, Operator of Infinity Dish says “Cloud migration can be a problem if you don’t choose the right platform or have enough space for your materials. If a cloud exit plan strategy is not adequately planned out, there can be issues. We needed to make sure all the apps we were moving to the cloud could work there. Discoverinot all apps could be transferred presenting some problems.”
Another expert Alex Sokolov, Senior Software Engineering Manager of iTechArt Group says,
“I bet that for an expert software engineer the true challenge begins when a client chooses a hybrid approach, i.e. still store some parts of a system on-prem. Such cases are common for apps based on Microsoft tech stack since Linux is much more flexible and easily migratable. Here are the two major challenges I’ve faced and some solutions learnt the hard way.
All the data within the project was stored in Microsoft Active Directory, and once the client decided to open a new office, we had to find a solution to transfer and manage data between data centers. We could have used different connections to establish the data transfer but this would be completely inefficient. Accordingly, we’ve integrated Azure AD into the existing system and managed to seamlessly handle data in both cloud and on-prem environments.
Another challenge I’d like to share is all about security. Sometimes the company with a small data center is launching an app, and for some security reasons, wants to hide it from the Web. We’ve solved this issue with the help of Azure Relay - a service that securely connects apps running in the cloud and on-premises.”
2. Cloud Sprawling:
Cloud Sprawl is the another most common issue with the migration. It means that your company or organization doesn’t owe the complete centralized visibility and control all of your cloud infrastructure components. When your company is facing issues with more than one cloud instance, services or providers, it’s hard to get full access to your resources which are in use.
Several preventive steps may help to avoid this situation and implement unified management solutions to all cloud services.
Initially, an IT function audit is necessary to understand the roles and business processes which are currently operating and give stats about how your organization will look like after the migration. When you achieve full accountability, the next step would be having clear idea during each phase of the process. It Is better to have visibility over the dashboard so you can easily manage all cloud services and pricing at one particular place.
To understand this, one of the expert opinion from Stephanie Hurd, Marketing Strategist of Innovative Inc says, “One of the biggest challenges we see with all cloud solutions is, of course, internet bandwidth and reliability. We often recommend businesses consider a backup internet service provider if they are using cloud services for business functions that couldn’t tolerate an outage. Another challenge is disaster recovery. Most cloud providers offer some level of data retention and recovery capabilities, but most can’t help in the case of ransomware or other malicious data loss.”
Another expert Yoann Bierling from New Simple As Possible ERP says, “Working on international centralization projects for world industry leaders, which basically means moving from data stored at one site to data stored on the cloud to be shared and used by the whole company, user rejection of the new system has always been the biggest issue. Technically, the main issue of these projects are to streamline the processes and internationalize whole data, but these standard issues are shared across projects and can be solved by discussing with the right experts at the right time.
However, getting the users to accept to have their mistakes visible by a whole organization, and often for local leaders to give up some of their power, is what really slows down a Cloud migration, and is often overlooked, as consultants tends to think that the migration is a technical issue - while the real issues that are slowing down or stopping a project always are human issues, users that do not want the migration to happen that will create underlying system issues, sometimes unconsciously. Even in technical projects, put the human in the middle, and as a business leader, really talk to each of them individually.”
Third expert opinion on this from Joseph Stornelli, Principal of JS Technology Group says, “One major barrier to entry to the cloud is data upload. A company might have tens or hundreds of terabytes of data living on a local server. On a standard 100 megabits enterprise internet connection, this might take days, or even weeks, to migrate to the cloud. Furthermore, there are no guarantees on data integrity. The migration presents huge risk.”
Fourth expert opinion from Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review says, “The biggest concern and challenge for us was definitely downtime. Obviously with in-house servers and storage you can control downtime and access what you need when you need it. Cloud servers undergo maintenance and sometimes have extended issues. Even with scheduled maintenance, we have workers all over the world, so there's really no good way to coordinate that.”
3. Cost of Migration:
Exceeding your budget for cloud migration often goes hand in hand with cloud sprawling. To have an eye on your spending in check and to measure these costs since day one and assign these things to a coordinate from your organization. Calculating your costs and performance on an ongoing basis is essential for evaluating the ROI of your cloud migration to acknowledge that your migration was successful.
Best opinion given by expert Rebecca Lawton from Koderly says, “Uncertain costs – In the early days of the cloud there was a common belief from many businesses that migrating to the cloud would automatically reduce costs, be that on hardware, or people, or both. Whilst it’s true there are opportunities to save costs in some areas, we also know that if a company performs a straight ‘lift and shift’ of services to the cloud, they’re likely to see operational expenditure increase, perhaps significantly.
Something that goes alongside the need to consider costs is the need to properly architect systems for the cloud or modify established systems to ensure this doesn’t impact functionality, and the systems remain performant and cost effective in the cloud. This means adapting the technical architecture of your services to make them more ‘cloud-friendly’.
Finally, one of the most significant challenges that businesses need to consider is skills and training A traditional systems administrator would be an expert on configuring firewalls, setting up user permissions, etc. However, when migrating to the cloud, systems administrators also need to manage expenditure and may become accountable to the board for the costs incurred Historically, after the initial capital expenditure, it was very difficult to enumerate the day-to-day running costs of an on premise server farm, but now the cloud hosting costs are itemised on a separate invoice. A systems administrator needs to gain a deep understanding of how their cloud hosting costs are being calculated by their respective cloud provider, ensuring that their services are properly configured to strike the right balance between performance and price, and avoiding nasty surprises.
There are many other factors to consider, as summarised below.
- Assumptions for DR and the risk of a false sense of security.
- Upskilling developers, systems administrators, and database administrators to configure, setup and monitoring the cloud environment.
- Choice of cloud hosting platforms and potential monopolies for the most popular suppliers.
- Misconceptions that there are no physical serves.”
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4. Security breach:
Every cloud migration process has an issue of security breaching which is supposed to be addressed. To avoid such security weak points during the move, but make sure that there’s one DevOps engineer in-house with expertise in cloud security or have a word with the cloud provider.
Some measures such as setting security configuration parameters, automating security processes and building monitory systems should be embedded in DevOps operations.
Two important concerns are 1) Availability at the component level and 2) Architecture level to secure either one specific component or entire environment at the time of failure.
One of the expert view on this from Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn says, When we migrated to cloud servers, our biggest issue was security. We handle a lot of customer data, and we need it easily accessible in the cloud. But this requires layers of encryption and security protocol that's hard to trust to a third party. It's why we resisted doing it for so long, but it was just too tedious and ineffective for us as we grew our company and customer-base.
We had to screen a lot of services to find the right fit. I highly recommend business owners really do their homework with this. It's not something to trust in blindly. Providers can say their servers are secure, but you need to know exactly what they do to protect your data, and what acts of recourse they have if it somehow becomes compromised.”
5. Training employees for your cloud solutions:
The core issue with Cloud migration is due to the dearth of training in the employees. One should be aware of organizing the IT functions in the cloud as it’s different from the same processes which run in-house like DevOps.
Better understanding, skills, and knowledge to operate the new infrastructure. The best cloud providers even offer training sessions to bring the leader and team on the same page. Training and certification should be included in your migration timeline.
To sum up, moving cloud is just not a challenge but an opportunity to make the current business process agile and innovative. Firstly, gather all infrastructure components, business processes and build the strategy to make your cloud migration successful.
Best opinion on this given by an expert from Maxim Ivanov, CEO of Aimprosoft says, “The most common challenges of Cloud migration are related to the software incompatibility and lack of trained specialists. Based on our experience, the migration to the Cloud requires a thorough analysis of existing on-premises infrastructure, already integrated software, and their compatibility with new Cloud services. It’s advisable to examine the subscription requirements of the chosen Cloud vendor carefully before opting for a particular solution and conduct application dependency mapping in order to make sure that all constituents of the ecosystem will function correctly.
Skill shortage is the other widely spread challenge that we noticed. Not every company has enough qualified employees that have profound expertise with cloud computing. Thus, the organization may face the need to either requalify and upskill existing personnel or hire new specialists in advance. It’s also possible to integrate automated tools (automated DevOps software like Puppet, Jenkins, Chef, etc.) that will complete a certain set of tasks releasing time and workload of software engineers.”