Cloud Migration Challenges Require a Tailored Approach

Companies that confuse cloud adoption and cloud migration are in for a rude awakening.

Lynn Haber

September 21, 2017

3 Min Read


Lynn Haber

New research from Forrester Consulting research found, in a nutshell, that cloud migration is complex and challenging — and requires due diligence and a tailored migration strategy for a successful outcome.

The global study – commissioned by Virtustream, a Dell Technologies Business – is based on online responses from 500 IT decision makers at companies with more than 500 employees. Almost half of the companies utilize more than one cloud platform. Many respondents in the study, dubbed “Cloud Migration: Critical Drivers for Success — Understand How Early Migrators Tackle Security, Performance, and Cost Challenges,” noted that they find that different platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, and some apps are a better fit for one platform versus another platform.

The challenge, as Simon Walsh, chief operating officer at Virtustream, told us, is that it’s really complex to pick up a mission-critical business system and shift it to a public cloud. It takes quite a bit of planning, a lot of application skills, and experience in project management, change management and migration.

“It’s not like a cloud native app where you could build it in a container, build it once and deploy it anywhere. These are systems of record, systems of insight which a customer’s company depends on — it’s their crown jewels in terms of business processes, customer data [and] business data, and it needs to be done in a managed way,” he said.

Hence, one of Forrester’s key recommendations included in the study: Don’t use cloud migration and adoption interchangeably.

The goal of the study was to survey early cloud migrators to better define how cloud migration works in practice today, and to identify the pitfalls that firms looking to migrate mission-critical applications to the public cloud need to be wary of to ensure success.

First, the study asked for the top five reasons respondent firms are migrating applications to the cloud. More than half (53 percent) of survey takers said it was to free up IT time to focus on core differentiators; 52 percent said cost reduction; 49 percent said greater ability to scale up or scale down resources and costs; 46 percent ID’d greater connectivity for digital transformation; and, 46 percent said it’s faster than fixing their own data centers.

Early migrators reported that, on average, they’ve moved 44 percent of their applications to an external cloud — with plans to move 62 percent to the cloud over the next two years.

Some of the challenges identified in the study: cost, performance and security.

  • Cost: The need to rewrite applications topped the list, followed by networking costs that tend to be overlooked; and the expense associated with finding professionals with migration skills.

  • Performance challenges include moving mission-critical apps to the cloud. This challenge is the result of not understanding how migrated applications interact with on-premises ones that may not only cause cost increases but hurt application performance.

The top two performance issues, cited by 42 percent of respondents, each, are: latency between on- and off-premises applications, and dependencies on …

… other applications not in the cloud.

Other performance-related challenges: proximity effects of migration and incompatible application architectures.

Security was ranked as the most critical challenge that respondents faced when migrating critical applications to the cloud — a challenge that is time-intensive to navigate and could quickly escalate costs to meet the right level of assurance and compliance.

Migration challenges are best mitigated and successful outcomes achieved when companies begin with proper planning, including: defining goals for migration; educating the team on the challenges of migration; realistically assessing what the team can achieve and where supplemental talent is needed; and review of the application portfolio.

What does all this mean for channel partners?

Opportunity, according to Walsh. “This is a service opportunity for project and professional services. It’s an opportunity for the channel to help the customer with the planning and migration,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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