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Remember that scene in The Truman Show where Jim Carrey slowly made his way up the stairs along the clouds before stepping out into the real world? He was wary—unsure of what lay beyond those clouds, feeling tentative about leaving the world he had known for so long. Now imagine that key cinematic moment in the context of public cloud migration. (Trust us. Just do it.) You can easily picture your organization’s stakeholders hesitating on the landing, deciding whether they should stay with their privately hosted/on-premise enterprise systems—their familiar, isolated universe—or move up into the world of public cloud.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
“Most corporations that want to move to cloud believe it is the 'right thing' to do," shares Jordan Feldman, Technical Lead for Infrastructure at MetroStar Systems. "The challenge comes when they go to formalize the rationale behind the decision. It takes prior experience to understand and communicate the technological and organizational benefits associated with the transformation.”
The flexibility, agility, scale-on-demand capabilities, and pay-per-use setup of the public cloud are undeniably beneficial, but it’s not perfect and it’s not for everyone. Given the issues of outages and the desire for security, control, and compliance, it’s reasonable to take a step back and think: is your organization ready for off-site public cloud setup? What makes your organization truly ready for the public cloud?
As your partner in successful cloud implementation, MetroStar shares six indicators you can use to determine whether or not you are public-cloud ready.
Public Presence Applications (blogs, websites, and the like), email, calendars, CRM, project management, and collaboration platforms bring out the best of the public cloud. The cloud enables interoperability across multiple teams in the organization through a virtual environment accessible on a public network: the internet. These software applications, though incredibly indispensable to the organization, are considered straightforward and can easily be integrated into the public cloud. However, more complex applications present a bigger challenge in terms of functionality, security, and limiting access. Before adopting a public cloud setup, identify which applications are simple and less risky enough to be migrated and which ones are better off in an on-premise system.
It's important to understand how exactly your workloads and operational processes will benefit from public cloud migration. Will moving your business applications to the cloud relieve your organization from the burden of additional management resources? Is utilizing the public cloud more economical than maintaining a private cloud system? More importantly, will your organization benefit from adapting and innovating faster to accomplish mission-critical tasks. Public cloud migration may not necessarily be the answer if the time, adjustment, and investment would not ultimately result in a more agile path to organizational success.
It's more than just keeping up with the cloud trend in enterprise IT; it's about making sure that public cloud migration will do more to enhance your performance than completely shake it up. Deliveries, not delays. Ultimately, though, being in the cloud allows corporations to bring a greater number of features to market faster than in traditional IT infrastructures.
One of the key reasons why some remain wary of public cloud adoption is the existence of security and compliance requirements for their organization. Public clouds are shared-resource environments—meaning other organizations also utilize the service—so it’s important to take extra care and consider any data privacy violations. While most established public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google do have well-implemented security strategies in place, the burden is not theirs alone. You must be ready, willing, and able to put a contingency strategy in place before deciding to go public cloud. Still, the smartest approach is to seek the expertise of an IT partner that has experience in government compliance and the security of sensitive data.
The more you bend, the less you break. Your organization must be prepared to undergo changes in the way it works—not just after the migration has been completed, but during the entire process. People in the organization play a big role in successful public cloud adoption. In fact, the Amazon Web Services Cloud Adoption Framework states, “With appropriate planning, monitoring, and management, changes that affect people can accelerate the value realization expected from cloud adoption."
Feldman notes, "The process of bringing organizations workloads into the cloud is most importantly about the people and their processes. It is essential to frame the transformation in a manner which allows stakeholders from executives to engineers to understand the benefits of the what, how, and wow it brings to them and their customers.”
The shapeshifting doesn’t just happen in the back-end, so the organization should be flexible enough to accommodate role and process changes brought about by the transformation of the IT structure.
The good thing about public clouds is that they are basically self-managed and can easily accommodate high-volume data processes as long as you acquire the proper bandwidth requirements. Depending on its capabilities, the public cloud provider would normally take care of that, which means that you may have less of a burden on management. However, this also means that you don't have 100% control over the system, which is why testing for limitations, gaps, and overall performance is key to determining if you’re truly ready for migration. You need to be patient and diligent enough to do thorough testing and adapt as you go along. A good, steady way to start testing would be to begin migrating non-production workloads, such as backups.
Ultimately, you know your organization’s needs and with careful planning and research, you’re capable of determining its readiness for the cloud. However, it’s always best to go through the process in partnership with a team that can help you plan, test, execute, and optimize. MetroStar Systems assists enterprises go from end to end, taking you through the cloud migration process from the selection and development of solutions, to cloud management, to post-migration support. Think of it as having a co-pilot.
It’s a big world up there in the public cloud, and hesitation is a natural, justified reaction. It takes time and preparation. But once you're fully ready and you have a partner to walk with you, cloud technology can take your organization to new heights in due time. Take it one step at a time.