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The reasons for migrating business applications to the cloud are generally positive and abundant, but with with the positives come a few negatives. Unfortunately, organizations can quickly run into a number of roadblocks during their migration projects. The critical question that needs to be asked is why? The answer is rather simple. As with many business-critical projects, the devil is found in the details.


Guest article by John M. Hawkins, Senior Director of Services, RiverMeadow


Some common factors that contribute to issues with cloud migrations are an inability to align business with IT, improperly setting performance expectations, and a lack of retooling of the organization to support the target architecture. There are three factors that must be considered before a migration happens:

Factor 1: The Importance of Aligning Business and IT – One of the biggest speed bumps to a successful cloud migration is the failure to obtain sufficient business buy-in. It’s critically important to achieve alignment between business and IT stakeholders in order to ensure a positive outcome. Getting the right executive level sponsorship for a cloud migration project is key to securing the resources and cooperation needed to overcome any challenges.

Factor 2: Set the Proper Performance Expectations – If you think that once you’ve migrated to the cloud your system performance will automatically be the same, then you might be in for a rude awakening. Without proper analysis and planning, some workloads simply won’t perform as well in the cloud environment, while others, such as Web and social media applications, might be fine candidates for migration without much retooling. This is why it’s important to identify which applications are cloud ready prior to the migration.

Factor 3: Change in Target Architecture Requires Changing Support Capabilities – With any migration, your target architecture will most likely change, requiring different capabilities to support the environment. Your management monitoring eco-system will likely require retooling, as will rethinking how people and processes will be impacted by the change. For example, you will have to rethink how you support-ticket an incident and all the service management functions that go along with cloud.

Everyday there are successful migrations. For those that are not so successful, while it’s important to be aware of the factors that can increase the friction it takes to do a migration, there are also steps you can take to ensure smooth migrations into cloud. Based on my experience, there are five steps you can take to give yourself the best chance at migration success. They are as follows:

  1. First and foremost, get organizational buy-off
  2. Foster collaboration between business and IT
  3. Develop a comprehensive cloud migration strategy and roadmap
  4. Analyze, design, assess – determine which are the best workloads to move to cloud
  5. Identify the people, processes and tools you need to successfully pilot your migration

The cloud is still relatively new. While many are quickly becoming experts in certain cloud areas, there are some areas that are still emerging. Cloud migrations are one of those areas that are emerging, however, some of the same fundamentals apply – even though the technology is constantly changing.

Read the Aberdeen report Effective Private Clouds Phase in Richest Features First



John HawkinsJohn M. Hawkins is a Senior Director of Services at RiverMeadow Software. Hawkins has more than 20 years of Software IT/Consulting experience. Twitter:@hawkinsjohn

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