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Cloud Migration Challenges – What Are They and How to Overcome Them?

Organizations sometimes imagine that moving to the Cloud simply means taking the existing infrastructure and having it available online. As a result, enterprises regularly fail to perform much of the required analysis and planning necessary to enjoy a smooth migration.

Unfortunately, with such an approach, organizations are unable to leverage the advanced functionalities and capabilities of cloud services.

That’s why in this blog post, we’ll tell you more about the major challenges related to Cloud migration. By knowing what they are, you’ll hopefully be able to avoid them.

Cloud Migration Challenges – What Are They and How to Overcome Them?

Cloud Migration Challenges: Why do Cloud Migrations Fail?

In today’s technological landscape, migrating to the Cloud is extremely popular. For most enterprises, it has even become inevitable. However, this doesn’t mean that all Cloud endeavours are always fully successful. On the contrary.

A Cloud Security Alliance report suggests that 90% of CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted data migration projects – mostly due to the complexity of moving from on-premises environments to the cloud.

Lior Cohen, Senior Director of Product and Solutions for Cloud Security at Fortinet assessed that cloud migrations typically fail as customers rush into moving multiple applications into the cloud without addressing the key differences between the existing infrastructure and the cloud.

What Are the Biggest Cloud Migration Challenges?

There are several recurring reasons for Cloud Migration failures.

The most common challenges include:

  • a lack of Cloud migration strategy,
  • Cloud migration costs,
  • security challenges,
  • technical challenges.

Lack of Cloud Migration Strategy

Very often, enterprises decide to migrate to the Cloud without a strategy. And that’s a grave mistake.

Especially when migrating critical applications to the Cloud, it’s important to have a plan. For instance – there are different cloud migration approaches. These include rehosting (also known as lift and shift), replatforming (also called move and improve), refactoring (rip and replace), repurchasing, relocating, retaining, or retiring. Each of these approaches is useful in different situations.

Lift and shift is immensely popular – mainly because it’s easy to implement since it doesn’t require any architecture changes or coding. Unfortunately, lift and shift also doesn’t offer full Cloud infrastructure benefits. As a result, it’s not always very effective. Usually, rehosting should be used for simple, low-impact workloads – particularly by organizations that aren’t very Cloud mature.

So, if an enterprise relies on lift and shift to move mission-critical applications, it may not be the best idea (to say the least).

Lack of Cloud Migration Strategy – Solution

The avoid this issue, you should start by outlining a detailed cloud migration strategy.

AWS reports that the most common questions enterprises ask when starting to work on their Cloud migration strategies are:

  • What solutions and applications are part of their IT environment?
  • What are the dependencies between them?
  • Which of them would be hard to migrate?
  • Migrating which of these solutions and applications would likely deliver the biggest business benefits?

Having established these basic facts, you can outline a rough plan (that will likely change later) on how to migrate which applications and solutions, and in what order.

AWS advises starting with the migration of low-complexity solutions (since it will be easier to complete). Next, after receiving a couple of positive reinforcements thanks to quick wins, you can concentrate on the more complex elements of your IT environment.

The overall complexity of migrating existing solutions can vary, depending on the architectures and existing licensing agreements. AWS reports that monolithic mainframes are considered to be at the high-complexity end of the spectrum, while virtualized, service-oriented architecture should be considered part of the low-complexity end.

Cost of Cloud Migration

Moving to the Cloud is rightly perceived as a way to cut infrastructure spending and generate savings. However, as the ancient Greeks used to say[i] – you have to spend money to make money. That’s why the first steps in your Cloud endeavours may like an expensive affair.

And that can turn out to be true. Moving to the cloud can be especially costly if an enterprise fails to properly analyze the potential financial impact. If, for example, you would start migrating your entire product portfolio just for the sake of joining Cloud-empowered organizations, you may end up losing money instead of saving it.

[i] They didn’t.

Cost of Cloud Migration – Solution

The best way to avoid enormous Cloud migration spending is to prepare. Ideally, you should consult your Cloud vendor to establish the costs related to the cloud migration before outlining a plan.

According to Indellient, you should factor in several elements – such as direct costs (software licenses, maintenance contracts, etc.), operational costs (work, maintenance), administrative costs (training staff, maintaining the team), and any other costs involved in managing your future systems.

Having an overview of all these items will make the cost and scope of the project more manageable. It will also help you estimate timing, minimize disruption, and plan for growth as well.

Security Challenges

Security is an important part of any IT infrastructure – especially one that runs on-line.

Security issues are among the biggest concerns when migrating to the Cloud. And that’s a reasonable approach – cybersafety shouldn’t be sidelined. After all, even Cloud-native companies check up on their security setup regularly. Luckily, as a whole, the Cloud is safe. For example, in 2019, around 90% of all Cloud-based security issues resulted not from Cloud faults themselves, but from misconfiguration. That’s why it’s so important to develop a proficient strategy for your cloud security architecture and, as a result, avoid unwanted risks.

Big platform leaders like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure make great efforts to stay secure and meet various levels of certification. As a result, the problem rarely lies in the technology itself – but in the components and solutions built within.

The migration itself may also provide challenging for several other reasons. Luckily, there are ways to minimize the risks of surprises.

Security Challenges – Solution

First, to avoid security weak points or downtime when moving to the Cloud, make sure you can rely on an in-house DevOps engineer with expertise in cloud security (or, alternatively, consult your cloud provider).

Security measures should be naturally embedded in DevOps operations and should include the following:

  • Automating security processes.
  • Setting security configuration parameters in cloud instances.
  • Building continuous monitoring systems.

Next, think about a Cloud Security Architecture.

Cloud security architecture is where cloud security starts. Cloud security architecture defines the security layers, design, and structure of the platforms, infrastructure, software, tools, and best practices that exist to make the Cloud solution secure.

Technical Challenges

Cloud migrations can be simple or complex. The main differentiators include factors such as the migration scope and maturity and life cycle of workloads.

When the complexity of a migration is high, technical challenges get bigger. Most importantly, you should expect an increased time and effort to finish your migration successfully.

These technical challenges can include incompatibility, for instance. The most common type of incompatibility relates to unsupported file types. But it can also include various other problems typical to migrating legacy environments to the Cloud.

So, how can you avoid these issues?

Technical Challenges – Solution

First, the key is to understand the technical differences, the capabilities and design options and the restrictions of the overall process.

Next – unsurprisingly – an important part of addressing these challenges is good planning.

To reduce or entirely mitigate the technical issues of incompatibility it is important to upgrade the application components, perform regulatory compliance audits, rectify your operating system, remediate application configurations and scalability, and reconfiguring availability and disaster recovery protocols.

Remember that although technical challenges should always be a consideration when moving to the Cloud, you can limit risks with proper planning. Additionally, relying on expertise can further limit technical complications during your migration.

Consider Migrating to The Cloud Today

A few years back, the Cloud has been considered an advantage. However, in 2022, it’s not an asset anymore. It’s often a necessity.

So, don’t fall behind. Start by preparing an inventory of your IT portfolio and analyze which applications and systems would deliver the most benefits if migrated.

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