How to migrate smoothly to the cloud
After months of soul-searching and deliberation, you’ve finally decided to migrate some or all of your organization’s IT services to the cloud. Congratulations! But this is just the beginning of your journey: There are a number of things you now have to think about to make sure the transition happens smoothly, without disrupting your business operations. Miroslav Pikus, Cloud Expert at Deutsche Telekom, takes you through the process.
Mr. Pikus, what is the first thing to think about when starting a migration to the cloud?
Miroslav Pikus: The first thing to consider is the order and manner in which you are going to migrate your specific applications. It’s important to choose the right services to begin with, as the first impression will resonate for a long time and affect how the cloud is perceived by your entire organization. Whether you are a business manager attracted by the cloud’s cost flexibility or an IT professional wanting to get rid of the hardware hassle, your expectations are well-founded – but if you choose to begin with the right IT service, you can uncover the true beauty of the cloud, which lies in its agility and security.
Are there any services to avoid in the beginning?
MP: It may not be a wise idea to begin your cloud experience with a mission-critical application. IaaS is a stable and mature platform perfectly suited to running them, but applications may behave slightly differently when operating in the pools of shared resources: Simply re-hosting them without making some minor adjustments may yield unfavorable results. At the same time, you don’t want to start with back-office apps like HR or accounting, either, because you won’t get the cloud’s full benefits in terms of improving your company’s agility and time-to-market.
What would be a better place to start?
MP: Things like testing or development are a good option, and they will clearly benefit from the cloud’s ability to scale flexibly. Another great place to start would be backups or disaster recovery. The cloud fulfills all standard requirements for backup media, and DT’s widely-distributed data centers are just off-premises enough to secure your data, yet never so far away as to cause the bandwidth or latency issues that are clearly present with other cloud players. We can provide you with all the necessary automation tools, and even let you encrypt your data with your own keys. Customer portals, online shops, marketing campaigns, or data collection from IoT devices would also greatly benefit from our cloud’s advanced features, such as elastic auto-scaling and object storage.
What else could help an organization get the most out of the cloud?
MP: It is definitely a good idea to start building brand new applications right into the cloud. This will save you the future migration hassle. We’re in 2017 and the cloud era is clearly here, so new apps should go in the cloud by default. The success of your first steps inside the cloud also depends on how you choose to walk in. Simple one-to-one re-hosting of virtual servers requires little effort, but may not bring about the desired changes. Consider making the application more cloud-aware. Use PaaS, DBaaS. Change monolithic applications into horizontally scaled ones, replace block storage with object storage. Then you’ll unleash the real power of the cloud.
Isn’t there a simpler way?
MP: Sometimes, it may be easier and more effective to migrate to the cloud by completely replacing the IT service with a new SaaS application. Are you thinking about re-hosting local Exchange servers to IaaS? Then why not just switch all e-mail to O365? This is especially true for backend IT services, which should all use mostly standardized applications. You can, and should, concentrate your custom developments on customer frontend apps.
Mr. Pikus, thank you for your insights.
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