How to Move a Growing Business to the Cloud

By: Bill Kleyman| - Leave a comment

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Today, the cloud model has become an integral growth component for many businesses. And, this growth will only continue to evolve. Consider this, Gartner recently showed that the absolute growth of public cloud IaaS workloads surpassed the growth of on-premises workloads (of any type) for the first time. And, as Gartner recently pointed out, worldwide IT spending is forecast to total $3.54 trillion dollars in 2016, and increase over 2015. Furthermore, data center systems’ spending is projected to reach $75 billion in 2016, a 3.0 percent increase from 2015. Finally, a recent Gartner study shows how alternative consumption models to traditional on-premises licenses are accounting for more than 50 percent of new software implementations; these include SaaS, hosted license, on-premises subscriptions and even open source solutions.

It’s no wonder that during a 2015 CIO survey, respondents indicated that 83 percent of CIOs consider cloud IaaS as an infrastructure option, and 10 percent are already cloud-first with cloud IaaS as their default infrastructure choice.

This kind of growth is now seen cross-industry; and as a direct competitive enabler. So, how can a growing an evolving businesses capitalize on cloud? How can they overcome challenges around resources and users? Fortunately, there’s good news. These 6 steps will give you a great idea on how to move a business closer to the cloud.

Step 1: Create lists, inventories, and detailed notes around your environment. Remember, depending on your business – your list may vary. For example:

  • What services are you using?
  • What does your application list look like?
  • What are the hardware points in your business?
  • Do you have specific document requirements?
  • How are you backing up and storing data today?
  • Do you know which apps, services, and users can be easily migrated?
  • Are some of your documents and applications bound by compliance?

Step 2: Now that you have a good list of operations from your business – you can begin to understand the right kind of cloud architecture for your business. While analyzing your lists of hardware, software, application, user, and storage requirements – consider the following:

  • Understand the costs around your data and applications.
  • Make sure you begin to look at cloud partners which can align with your specific list of services and requirements.
  • Based on your lists – begin to examine the right kind of cloud ecosystem for you: big cloud provider, smaller collocation, specialized provider, etc.

Step 3: The biggest benefit of cloud is your ability to test drive it! This is your next step. Once you outline your lists, business strategies, and a few select cloud providers, you can begin to test. This is a highly recommended process for the following reasons:

  • Understand the management ecosystem of the cloud provider.
  • Test the economics of that specific cloud provider.
  • Ensure the partner can scale with your business.
  • Create real-world test scenarios.

Step 4: Now that you’ve done your testing, and have selected your cloud provider; it’s time to create your migration plan:

  • Using your original list, and the results from your testing – you begin to move systems to your cloud provider.
  • It’s recommended to do a parallel data and application migration to minimize downtime and impact on the business.
  • Make sure to test various migration points as you move!

Step 5: Train your users and enable the business!

  • Create good documentation; and get your users excited.
  • Make sure to make the migration as minimal of an impact to your users as possible.
  • During the testing and beta processes – always involve key business users and decision-makers.

Step 6: The actual migration doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just work with your provider, follow your plan, and stay agile. Remember the following:

  • Move critical systems off-hours and always have a backup strategy in place.
  • Ensure that everything is prepared within your cloud environment to receive data, applications, and user loads.
  • Document the entire process!

Cloud migrations are happening every day. Businesses are using cloud as a direct competitive advantage to reach more markets and customers. Now, you can select the right kind of partner and create your own cloud migration strategy to help empower your business!

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About The Author

Bill Kleyman

CTO at MTM Technologies

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Bill enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues around everything that is technology. During the day, Bill is the CTO at MTM Technologies, where he interacts with enterprise organizations and helps align IT strategies with direct business goals. Bill’s whitepapers, articles, video blogs and podcasts have been published and referenced on InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Data Center Knowledge, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and many others. Most recently, Bill was ranked #16 in the Onalytica study which reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape, globally.

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