Cloud Migration: 2 Trends to Watch in 2018

Are you equipped to make the customer's cloud-migration process painless while warding off lock-in?

December 1, 2017

4 Min Read
Cloud Migration


Issy Ben-Shaul

By Issy Ben-Shaul, CEO of Velostrata

If you’ve tried migrating customer workloads using traditional, agent-based methods, you know that can be a slow, complex and risky process. So I wasn’t all that surprised by a study my company ran with Dimensional Research. The survey of 208 decision-makers showed that almost all, 96 percent, say they have cloud migration or workload mobility initiatives. Half will work with a partner for migration, with the main tasks being planning and strategy; actually executing the migration; and application discovery, including right-sizing the portfolio. Most, 55 percent, are extremely or somewhat satisfied with their migration partners.

Based on the survey findings, here are two predictions for 2018.

We’ll see a large number of late adopters finally making the transition. We anticipate a huge surge of workloads, thousands in some large enterprises, moving into the public cloud in 2018 and beyond. One major reason is opportunity cost: IT leaders realize, finally, that if they can shift resources away from maintaining and managing massive data centers, they can spend more on their core competency. That will make them more competitive in their respective markets and, eventually, more profitable because IT is happening in a more cost-effective manner.

The cloud also brings important operational efficiencies: easy availability of new applications and services on demand, the agility to expand or shrink quickly to keep pace with the needs of the business, and the global presence and scale of public clouds that enable enterprises to run workloads anywhere in the world with reasonable latency.

The majority of enterprises that will migrate will also employ a multi-cloud strategy. More specifically, they will split their production workloads across more than one public cloud. Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents say they will split workloads across multiple clouds. Why is this the case? Three primary reasons. First, cloud wars will result in cost wars. If an enterprise can get significant cost reduction on infrastructure, this can mean millions of dollars in savings a year (but run the numbers).

Second, different clouds offer differentiated innovations and functionality. Enterprises would like to use best-of-breed services for their various workloads to take advantage of the strengths of particular clouds. Finally, security and compliance are primary concerns, as some industries (such as finance and health care, for example) are mandated to have an alternative cloud to run on. Others just want to make sure they can switch in case of security breaches, outages or other issues that might affect a specific cloud.

Short answer, they don’t want to be …

… locked in and limited.

So, how do partners help customers move forward?

Forward-thinking companies utilize a strategy that minimizes or avoids cloud-specific services — these effectively lock them into that cloud. Instead, advise customers to standardize on services that are available on multiple clouds and require minimal migration effort.

Also, model the impact of keeping one service running in its original cloud while running related workloads on another cloud. Have a plan around cloud mobility technologies and architectures that allow for the simple and fast deployment of workloads across clouds with minimal disruption, downtime or re-configuration/rewrite efforts.

Last, unified, cloud-agnostic management and configuration are key. Use orchestration and management frameworks that interface to native cloud management systems but operate uniformly across clouds.

The data is clear: Cloud workload mobility and migration are on the rise. If you have customers sitting on the sidelines, our survey shows 2018 may be the year they finally make the jump. Educate yourself on the value of a multi-cloud strategy, and have a plan to keep migrations on budget and on time.

One more note on the data. When asked, “If you could go back in time to improve the application migration project, which of the following would you do?” most (56 percent) said they would have done more pre-migration testing. That’s a service opportunity for partners.

Issy is the CEO and co-founder of Velostrata and a serial entrepreneur. Prior to co-founding Velostrata, Issy was the CTO for VMware’s Mirage desktop virtualization product. Issy joined VMware through the acquisition of Wanova, a desktop virtualization company founded by Issy and Ilan Kessler, and acquired by VMware in 2012.

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