More and more customers are seeking to take advantage of the flexibility, scalability and performance of the cloud. As the number of applications, solutions, customers, and partners making the shift increases, be sure that your migration doesn’t stall.
Avoid the Following Six Reasons Cloud Migrations Stall
1. Incomplete cloud migration project plans
Project planning is widely thought to be a key contributor to project success. The planning plays an essential role in helping guide stakeholders, diverse implementation teams, and partners through the project phases. Planning helps identify desired goals, align resources and teams to those goals, reduce risks, avoid missed deadlines, and ultimately deliver a highly available solution in the cloud. Incomplete plans and incomplete planning are often a big cause of stalled projects. At the ninth hour a key dependency is identified. During an unexpected server reboot an application monitoring and HA hole is identified (see below). Be sure that your cloud migration has a plan, and work the plan.
2. Over-engineering on-premises
“This is how we did it on our on-premises nodes,” was the phrase that started a recent customer conversation. The customer engaged with Edmond Melkomian, Project Manager for SIOS Professional Services, when their attempts to migrate to the cloud stalled. During a discovery session, Edmond was able to uncover a number of over-engineered items related to on-premises versus cloud architecture. For some projects, reproducing what was done on premises can be a resume for bloat, complexity, and delays. Analyze your architecture and migration plans and ruthlessly eliminate over-engineered components and designs, especially with networking and storage.
Controlling cost and preventing sprawl are an important and critical aspect of cloud migrations. However, some customers, anxious about per hour charges and associated costs for disks and bandwidth fall into the trap of under-provisioning. In this trap, resources are improperly sized, be that disks that have the wrong speed characteristics, compute resources with the wrong CPU or memory footprint, or clusters with the wrong number of nodes. In such under-provisioned cases, issues arise when User Acceptance Test (UAT) begins and expected/anticipated workloads create a log jam on undersized resources. Or a cost optimization of a target node is unable to properly handle resources in a failover scenario. While resizing virtual machines in the cloud is a simple process, these sizing issues often create delays while architects and Chief Financial Officers try to understand the impact of re-provisioning resources.
4. Internal IT processes
Every great enterprise company has a set of internal processes, and chances are your team and company are no exception. IT processes are usually key among the processes that can have a large impact on the success of your cloud migration strategy. In the past, many companies had long requisition and acquisition processes, including bids, sizing guides, order approvals, server prep and configuration, and final deployment. The cloud process has dramatically altered the way compute, storage, and network resources, among others, are acquired and deployed. However, if your processes haven’t kept up with the speed of the cloud your migration may hit a snag when plans change.
5. Poor High Availability planning
Another reason that cloud migrations can stall involves high availability planning. High availability requires more than a bundle of tools or enterprise licenses. HA requires a careful, thorough and thoughtful system design. When deploying an HA solution your plan will need to consider capacity, redundancy, and the requirements for recovery and correction. With a plan, requirements are properly identified, solutions proposed, risks thought through, and dependencies for deployment and validation managed. Without a plan, the project and deployment are vulnerable to risks, single point of failure issues, poor fit, and missing layers and levels of application protection or recovery strategies. Often when there has been a lack of HA planning, projects stall while the requirements are sorted out.
6. Incomplete or invalid testing
Ron, a partner migrating his end customer to the cloud, planned to go-live over an upcoming three day weekend. The last decision point for ‘go/no-go’ was a batch of user acceptance testing on the staging servers. The first test failed. In order to make up for lost time due to other migration snags, Ron and team skipped over a number of test cases related to integrating the final collection of security and backup software on the latest OS with supporting patches. The simulated load, the first on the newly minted servers, tripped a series of issues within Ron’s architecture including a kernel bug, a CPU and memory provisioning issue, and storage layout and capacity issues. The project was delayed for more than four weeks to address customer confidence, proper testing and validation, resizing and architecture, and apply software and OS fixes.
The promises of the cloud are enticing, and a well planned cloud migration will position you and your team to take advantage of these benefits. Whether you are beginning or in the middle of a cloud migration, we hope this article helps you be more aware of common pitfalls so you can hopefully avoid them.
– Cassius Rhue, Vice President, Customer Experience