You’ve heard the Cloud marketing hype for years. Major hardware and software companies are embedding the term in their advertising, bundling access in their software, or otherwise flooding our minds with the concept. In its simplest terms, “The Cloud” can be summarized as multiple computers running software and sharing resources that enable it to act as one large computer. In the broader sense, it makes massive computing power available to anyone with a need.
Knowing when you should move to the Cloud is as important as the move itself. You need to be prepared for the migration, and have a solid plan in place. Some basic things to consider before your move to the Cloud:
- Are your Server and Network demands spiking or peaking?
- Are growing User Loads causing application or resource bottlenecking?
- Do you have limited storage space that is causing an issue?
Answering yes to the above questions puts you in prime position for a Cloud Migration.
While the Cloud in-and-of-itself is a technical behemoth, the decision to move to the Cloud is not fully in the hands of the IT Personnel. There are several factors that must be evaluated outside the technical scope, such as:
- What is the growth and scale plan of your business?
- Are the employees local, remote, or a mixture of both?
- What business units are controlled by other people?
- How much control is your business willing to give up?
Hands down, the most difficult task in Cloud Migration is moving control from one business unit to the cloud. Once this task is accomplished, and the remainder of the Human Resource questions is covered, it’s time to move onto the budget side of things.
While moving to the Cloud will incur some upfront costs, overall the monetary savings will outweigh them. You should know what you’ll be charged for, and roughly how much you’ll be paying for the initial migration, and on a month-to-month basis. While the price range differs from provider to provider, the basics remain the same:
- Total Bandwidth (to/from the servers)
- CPU/Processor Power
- Availability/Uptime/Processor Time
- Total Resource Consumption
- Storage Space
After you have made a full business analysis, put a simple plan into action:
- Know the fundamental key areas of your business
- Document your business objectives
- Get Management backing
- Put your full team together (IT and HR)
- Restate the goals and objectives
- Identify key decision makers
- Execute the migration
- Monitor the process
- Double check everything (IT, HR, Processes)
- Train your users
A vitally important step, which is often overlooked, is to factor in the continual monitoring of your new Cloud based system. It is unquestionably important to know what to do, who to contact, and steps to mitigate issues when something catastrophic happens to your Cloud resources.
Moving to the Cloud isn’t a single person's decision or responsibility. The whole company must not only understand the process, but also support the decision and process to make the move to the Cloud. As evidenced by the above factors, migrating to the Cloud should never be done unless you know the answers to When, Why, Who, How, and How Much.