The pandemic has significantly accelerated the shift to the cloud – what was once a wave is now a tsunami. Prior to the pandemic, just 30% of employees worked remotely at least some of the time.1 At present, 55% of employees now prefer remote or hybrid work environments.2 This shift in how we work requires a change in how we support employees and how we build and manage our infrastructure to provide that support. While on-premises infrastructures have supported organizations for the longest time, hybrid work environments need more flexibility. Migrating to the cloud provides better data centralization, and ease of accessibility of data.
Cloud Migration – enabling hybrid and remote work environments
Key to this shift to remote and hybrid work is accessibility. Databases, applications, workloads, systems, projects and more must be easily accessible from any location and still be secure. Significant changes are underway in how companies manage their infrastructure, with the cloud at the center of that change. Many organizations have started their digital transformation or are considering a complete migration to provide greater data accessibility and security to support the new normal.
However, it can be a challenge to migrate to the cloud effectively and efficiently without setbacks. Workloads may not perform as designed. Connections between infrastructure can be broken. Costs can get out of control. Why is that? It is often one of two things. Either organizations try to replicate their on-premises environment in the cloud or they do not understand and appreciate the current state of their IT environment. A successful migration starts with a good plan which requires an assessment of the current state of an on-premises or hybrid environment.
Infrastructure assessment – The first step to Cloud Migration
An infrastructure assessment is a critical first step in any cloud migration. It includes identifying all infrastructure elements and their utilization to provide insights on the cloud readiness, compatibility, and interdependencies of infrastructure, apps, databases, and workloads. This data is collected over time to discover infrastructure on the network and assess how that infrastructure is utilized. These discovered client machines, virtual machines, physical servers, applications, and databases are then evaluated for cloud readiness and the effort required to make them cloud ready. This information is used to develop a strategy and plan which becomes the guiding light of your cloud migration.
Let us talk about the outputs of a proper infrastructure assessment:
- Cloud Readiness – An infrastructure assessment analyzes applications and data to identify if they can be moved to the cloud and the impact that will have on operational continuity. Some applications may need significant remediation to work properly in the cloud while others might need little or no changes at all. A better understanding of readiness guides the strategy and planning and provides a better picture of the considerations, costs, level of effort, resources required, and timelines.
- Options and Costs – There is no single path to the cloud and different options require diverse levels of effort which can deliver various levels of benefits realization. A good assessment allows you to survey your cloud migration options and associated effort, time, costs, ROI (return on the investment), and benefits. This allows business leaders to make decisions that account for the needs of the business and ensure that the migration strategy and cost planning align with business goals, priorities, and budget.
- Application Compatibility – Applications and associated databases moved to the cloud without remediation or consideration for interdependencies may encounter glitches and issues that impact performance and productivity. An infrastructure assessment prevents these issues by identifying required changes for applications and databases to run properly in the cloud, the interdependencies between applications and databases, and the optimal migration path, which may include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS). Understanding your applications and databases and choosing the right hosting method and coordinating a phased migration plan ensures a seamless migration that delivers enhanced application management and cost optimization opportunities.
- Goal Setting – Business goals are important for every organization but are even more critical when considering a move to the cloud. An Infrastructure assessment provides critical data to inform the setting of those goals – identifying what is possible and what is not, the level of effort required for different paths, and the timelines for modernization and migration. These goals help define the cloud migration path and ensure that it will achieve the desired objectives, benefiting the business, clients, employees, and partners.
Why you MUST consider migrating to the cloud
We have talked a lot about the benefits of an infrastructure assessment – it gets your cloud migration started on the right path by guiding strategy and planning. But the end game is to get to the cloud and make your business more efficient, flexible and resilient, and prepared to tackle any challenges that may arise in the future. Let us talk about how businesses benefit from a well-architected and well-executed cloud environment.
- Speed, Flexibility and Scalability – Cloud deployments are significantly more agile with compute resources that can scale quickly as the business ebbs and flows with organizations only paying for the resources that they use. This eliminates the need for on-premises resources that must be overbuilt to handle spikes in demand and often remain underutilized. Accessibility to global cloud servers can improve performance by running workloads closer to users, providing fast and easy access. And spinning workloads up or winding them down can be done instantaneously, allowing greater flexibility and faster time to deployment.
- Optimized Costs – Cost savings can be realized with the diminishing need for physical data centers. This means reduced costs related to the acquisition, real estate, and maintenance and the resources required to manage all of that. The optimization of workloads based on business needs can save significant expenses as well.
- Simplified Management and Monitoring – Many management tasks are handled by the cloud provider which simplifies overall management. These cloud providers also typically include integrated systems or dashboards to manage and monitor on-premises environments and cloud resources from a single screen, making it easier to manage hybrid environments.
- Improved Resource Utilization – Resources that were once required to manage and maintain on-premises environments can now be re-directed to more forward-looking activities that drive business growth. This allows organizations to respond to shifts in the marketplace more quickly, with faster deployment rates and better coordination.
- Enhanced Security – The cloud has built-in security features managed by the cloud provider and the economies of scale achieved by the cloud provide faster and better threat detection and response. Where needed, tools are available to ensure that cloud resources are protected. Security updates are deployed across all systems automatically to cloud-connected resources and machines. And the cloud is inherently safer as the provider maintains up-to-date security profiles and patches that take advantage of cloud scale.
- Improved Compliance – The most popular cloud platforms have built-in features for most compliance standards to help businesses better manage and meet compliance requirements. This is especially useful for highly regulated industries like finance, healthcare, and government.
If it was not obvious before, it should be now that the cloud can provide numerous benefits that help you manage your business, weather any storm, and meet the changing needs of the marketplace faster than ever before. And to make sure you implement a cloud environment that delivers on these promises, you need a good strategy and plan that is built on the back of an infrastructure assessment. If you take care to take the right steps, a cloud migration can prepare your business for any eventuality and propel it forward.
CloudAtlas – The most comprehensive cloud migration platform
With the challenges introduced by a new way of working as well as the many benefits of the cloud, cloud migration is something that most organizations are considering but often do not know how to get started or how to tackle the process. We hope what we have explained here illuminates how to get the cloud modernization and migration process started and the benefits of doing it properly. Luckily, there are many resources available and companies willing to help you on that journey. UnifyCloud can help you get started or guide you through the entire cloud migration journey.
UnifyCloud developed the CloudAtlas platform to automate the most arduous and time-consuming tasks of cloud migration so that companies can focus on strategy and decision-making. This simplifies and accelerates the entire cloud migration journey. CloudAtlas uses data from a variety of discovery tools to assess infrastructure for cloud readiness in minutes – providing a current state view as well as future state options, effort, costs and more. CloudAtlas also performs static code analysis of applications to provide detailed code-level insights and guidance to facilitate and guide remediation and conduct a successful migration. Once in the cloud, CloudAtlas can be used in your cloud or hybrid environment to optimize costs and monitor and manage security, governance, risk and compliance.
If you would like to learn more, go to our website or schedule a conversation with a UnifyCloud cloud expert today.
1 ”Future of Work Trends Post-COVID-19,” Gartner, 2020
2 “It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done,” PwC, 2021.