Bringing Direction to the Indefinability of Modern Cloud Migration

The reality of today’s data landscape is entirely dependent on the cloud, with cloud budgets continuing to increase for 2024. With more data flowing into the cloud, compounded by a greater number of clouds being leveraged at once, enterprises must face the assortment of risks that cloud migration brings—from costs and complexity to skills gaps, data integrity and security, and monitoring and management issues.

Richard Schiller, senior product manager at Quest Software, and John de Saint Phalle, senior product manager at Precisely, joined DBTA’s webinar, Cloud Migration Best Practices: Success Factors and Pitfalls to Avoid, to offer their expertise on how to successfully migrate to the cloud by navigating risks, requirements, best practices, and solutions.

Rife with confusion, cloud migration “is so complex, it’s hard to actually know everything to make sure you avoid the pitfalls,” explained Schiller.

Cloud migration is an overloaded term; ask 100 different people what it means, you might just get 100 different answers. Whether established as a “lift and shift” of architecture, re-platforming, or integrating with new cloud technology, Schiller emphasized the importance of defining what cloud migration means for your organization to set a precedent for its ultimate success.

Schiller explained that quality leadership is key for cloud migration success, where building the right team with key stakeholders and agreeing upon a vision of what success looks like—as well as keep defining that success at each level—is crucial.

“You’re going to need a cohesive team who's really going to be able to keep the eye on the prize because there are going to be distractions all over the place,” said Schiller. “One of the most important things leaders can do is very clearly clarify what your objectives are so you can prioritize your actions.”

Selecting the right technologies for your enterprise—including the vendor, the service, and the vendor’s ecosystem of partners—is another component of cloud migration success. With an infinite number of attractive solutions on the market, being able to determine which is best for your unique needs is paramount.

Additionally, using agile methodologies allows you to adapt to the various challenges that will come your way, as “there’s no way you’re going to know all of this information ahead of time. It's an ever-peeling onion, and each time along the way, as long as you’re re-evaluating and coming back to your success criteria and working with that leadership team, you’ve got a good chance to be successful,” explained Schiller.

Some pitfalls to be aware of include:

  • Failing on success criteria
  • Unmanaged scope and cost creep
  • Lack of constant evaluation of risks and planning of mitigations
  • Failure to consider the skills changes needed

de Saint Phalle explained that within every team of an enterprise, most want to become more data-driven, leveraging proprietary data to make key business decisions.

This ambition surfaces a tension between today and tomorrow, tugging between sustaining existing data practices—such as managing manual processes and avoiding security and compliance risk—while delivering on innovation—such as automating complex business processes and adopting AI.

“I’ve heard it firsthand in working with customers that [say], ‘Well, yeah, we want to take advantage of the latest cloud tooling and trends and capabilities, but we can’t innovate at the expense of our customers. We have core business, core processes that we’ve been running for a number of years that are rock-solid and bullet-proof, and maybe we’re potentially putting those at risk by trying to innovate or reimagine them in different ways,’” explained de Saint Phalle.

Proving the innovation use case helps alleviate this tension, where trusted data acts as the foundation for supporting critical business initiatives—such as cloud migration. While the data journey is complex and ongoing, especially in the cloud, Precisely offers a complete set of data integrity capabilities and data strategy services to help that journey along its course.

de Saint Phalle concluded with a set of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of cloud migration, where organizations should:

  • Employ a cloud strategy that works for your business (hybrid, multi-cloud, public cloud, private cloud).
  • Work with a third party to ensure a successful migration.
  • Track how members of your organization are using cloud.
  • Future-proof your architecture.
  • Evaluate and reevaluate vendor agreements.

And shouldn’t:

  • Migrate every workload to the cloud.
  • Assume your costs and priorities on day one of will be the same as year 1.
  • Avoid talking about costs when planning your architecture.
  • Forget to account for changing regulatory requirements and market condition.
  • Treat every cloud workload the same.

For the full, in-depth discussion of cloud migration best practices and challenges, you can view an archived version of the webinar here.