Technology Leaders Group Cloud Migration Success Whitepaper

Whitepaper | Cloud Migration Success Means Looking – and Learning – Before You Leap

As organisations implement new cloud strategies, they must ensure services continue to deliver the performance customers expect.

New hybrid cloud approaches require enhanced collaboration with vendors and heightened vigilance against security vulnerabilities. Cloud native networks and applications offer tremendous benefits: greater agility, faster release time, shorter time to market, lower costs and the potential for organisations to avoid vendor lock in. However, no change is without challenge.

We invited a group of lead enterprise architects, senior global solutions architects, and VPs of software development, to discuss the challenges blocking cloud migration success and more about:

  • How organisations are approaching the cloud migration
  • Establishing visibility and awareness of your systems
  • Best practices for effective monitoring and driving cloud success

Rela8 Group’s Technology Leaders Club roundtables are held under the Chatham House Rule. Names, organisations and some anecdotes have been withheld to protect privacy.

About Spirent

Spirent is the leading global provider of automated test and assurance solutions for networks, cyber security, and positioning. Their innovative portfolio of products and services addresses the test, assurance, and automation challenges of a new generation of technologies: 5G, SD-WAN, Cloud, Autonomous Vehicles and beyond. Working closely to understand the needs of their partners, Spirent delivers solutions that cover the entire technology lifecycle, from the lab to real-world deployment.

“Trying to find the future”

Operating in the cloud has long been considered a necessity for organisations with on-premises becoming shorthand for legacy. Despite this paradigm shift towards the cloud, organisations are still struggling to “find the future” in their cloud operations. With the regulatory landscape evolving alongside the cloud, what the future looks like has shifted as well. Between public and private clouds, multi-cloud systems, hybrid cloud and on-premises – it is no surprise that organisations are still battling for cloud migration success.

Approaching a cloud migration

Even organisations that are well established in the cloud are still figuring out their frameworks for cloud operations. Approaching a cloud migration requires careful consideration. Organisations need to test comprehensively, plan for the business requirements across all layers, and run breakdown analysis on cloud offerings before moving forward with any cloud migration. Even then, ease of migration and cost will still be major considerations.

Our expert panel were finding that the cost of the placement versus on-premises was usually at least twice as expensive to go off to public cloud. In these times of economic uncertainty, cost is a growing concern for businesses. Organisations are setting up review boards for any new cloud native design that requires people to demonstrate cost vs. on-premises solutions.

Different areas of the business have different requirements which results in a lot of organisations operating hybrid multi-cloud systems. Taking a more tailored approach to the organisation within the cloud is a smart, but it also adds complexity and constant considerations for current cloud provisions against other cloud platforms. Despite the challenges, where public cloud was once seen as the aspirational solution, it is now clear that a hybrid model is better suited for most organisations.

Our panel also highlighted geopolitical concerns as a major roadblock for cloud migrations. Depending on the global scope of an organisation, our experts noted the potential risk of waking up one day and finding that the cloud provider the business relied on no longer operates out of one of the countries it is needed in. It is true that the cloud can offer greater agility, faster release time, shorter time to market, and lower cost, but only when architected correctly. A critical component to getting this right is visibility.

The importance of visibility

Visibility of your systems and being able to monitor them is a vital element of any cloud migration. How will these applications and workloads actually perform in the cloud and are they actually scaling correctly? Knowing the answer to these questions is key for actually moving into a cloud and making it successful. For many, using third parties to provide them with their network visibility is the only way, but with so many different tools in place and with networks growing so large, getting a unified view of all systems is still a challenge. Despite the challenges, our panel expressed the importance of having a centralised view. Without a unified solution, organisations will struggle to track how the business is performing in the cloud as well as potential security events.

It is common today for enterprises to have multiple applications running on networks. Usually, it’s a multi-tier deployment involving an application server, database, a web server, workload, and potentially other services operating in between. Without visibility of how these systems interact with each other and the potential dependencies that exist between them, organisations will find it hard to make changes or move because they don’t know what is going to happen when they do.

Monitoring performance in the cloud

When it comes to monitoring, be aware that what is being monitored for will dictate what monitoring is required. Performance monitoring and security monitoring are completely different and require different tools and approaches to avoid confusing the team.

Monitoring is essential to determining the success of a cloud migration. Our panel pointed out that simply testing and monitoring in controlled development environments was not sufficient. Developers create in restricted and controlled environments; they don’t often consider the living nature of the network and factors like latency or fluctuating traffic. Resilience needs to be baked in, not only in optimal conditions, but in everyday conditions. To achieve this, monitoring solutions need to be properly set in place in all layers right from the network layer to the application layer.

IT teams want to be able to spot any degradation of operations as and when they occur, but the reality is that these generally aren’t caught by IT until internal partners make them aware.  Running small tests of your live environment, in such a way as to not cause any disturbances to your network, to catch these degradations early is a good practice to get in the habit of.

Leveraging automation

The value of automation in ensuring the success of cloud migration cannot be overstated, acting as a critical enabler in navigating the complex landscape of shifting from on-premises solutions to cloud-based environments. Automation streamlines the migration process, from planning and executing the transfer of data and applications to ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and optimising costs. It provides a systematic approach to handle the repetitive and intricate tasks associated with cloud migration, reducing human error, and increasing efficiency. Additionally, automation plays a pivotal role in managing the diverse and dynamic nature of cloud resources, allowing for the rapid scaling of services to meet business demands while ensuring robust security and compliance postures.

Learning before you leap

That organisations are still struggling with cloud migrations is evidence enough that achieving migration success is far harder than it would seem. From the initial considerations of whether to migrate, to the continuous need for visibility and monitoring within cloud environments, it’s clear that a strategic, informed, and adaptable approach is key to unlocking the full potential of cloud technologies. Underscoring everything is the importance of moving to the cloud with a deep understanding of the organisation’s needs, the regulatory landscape, and the technological complexities involved.

As organisations continue to evolve and as the cloud landscape itself shifts, automation has emerged as a tool for guiding towards more successful, secure, and efficient cloud migrations. The journey is ongoing, but with the right approach, tools, and mindset, organisations can leap into the cloud with confidence and clarity. The path ahead is complex, but so long as organisations look and learn before they leap, success in the cloud is achievable.

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