Are you moving to the cloud

Cloud JigsawAre you moving to the cloud?

It is becoming increasingly clear that moving to the cloud will bring significant benefits to institutions

  • Overall cost reduction – pay at point of use can move expenditure from capex to opex
  • Up-to-date, high quality ICT services – with rapid adoption of new services
  • Services available any time any place

Although moving to the cloud is not without its difficulties, you will be able to mitigate them if you plan carefully. Here are 12 points worth exploring:

BEFORE YOU MOVE

  1. Why are you moving to the cloud and are our expectations achievable?

Knowing the answer to this question will guide crucial adoption decisions, you should consider and prioritise:

  • Cost saving
  • Fast deployment of business systems
  • Providing additional functionality and benefit
  • Ability to be able to scale use
  1. Do a data assessment

When you are considering an application for migration assess the data:

  • How secure does the data need to be?
  • Which data records can be migrated? Some types of data may need to be kept on internal systems
  • How much data are you thinking of moving and do you know where it is housed?
  1. Prioritise applications
  • Focus on applications that provide the maximum benefit for the minimum cost / risk.
  • Measure the business criticality, functionality of the services, business risk, impact on sovereignty, regulation, data and compliance
  1. Analyse functional and non-functional requirements

Ensure that the functional and non-functional requirements are met, or even better exceeded, by the move

  • Ensure that if you are moving to SaaS services the variant of any application that it provides the same functionality and fits into existing business processes
  • Remember the impact the move may have on customers’ expectations, the amount of down-time, availability hours, performance, data protection
  1. Manage data residency and legal jurisdiction

Business information stored outside its country of origin is subject to the commercial laws of the country in which it is held. Legal activities in a foreign country can have added complexities and costs. You need to check:

  • Which legal jurisdiction will be invoked by your cloud provider?
  • Which court will be used for any service disputes?
  1. Work IaaS application maturity knowledge into your plans

Cloud application maturity is extremely variable; some software applications have rudimentary security and access controls added.

  • A smart move is to determine whether the product was built from the ground up specifically for the cloud.
  1. Plan around development lifecycle impact

If an application is split to segregate the data from the application within the cloud this will impact the development cycle.

  • You will need to deploy changes separately, taking time and impacting schedules
  • This could impact operations, if only for a small time.
  1. Plan for performance and availability changes

A potential increase in power may be necessary to ensure service delivery and availability will need careful assessment. You will need to consider:

  • Are your local and wide area networks enabled for cloud?
  • Will all your systems support the associated increase in bandwidth and network traffic?
  • Can you manage different availability characteristics for applications that are all on the cloud or distributed across the cloud and on premise legacy systems?
  1. Manage volume and data migration

Manage your time and effort well to avoid problems

  • Remember that if demand for a new application or websites is high there is a good argument for creating a common repeatable solution patter that is based on the cloud.
  • Moving data into or out of a SaaS application may require considerable transformation and load effort that you will need to mitigate for.

 

BEFORE YOU BUY

Once you have developed a strategy and developed mitigation plans it is time to go out to the market.

  1. Compare apples with apples

It is essential to compare like-for-like cloud services, headline services might be the same or better, read the small print carefully.

  • Not every application will need the same level of service or charge.
  • SLAs may differ radically
  • Data extraction, novation and end of contract details may vary
  1. Properly understand your consumption models

Some models will charge on an hourly basis, some on a per-user per-month basis, consider these from two perspectives:

  • Frequency of change – as processing units are procured and used on demand they will also need to be retired when not being used or costs may rack up.
  • Volume – you should remember that with SaaS services there is a tipping point where the cost of the service being procured on a per-user per-month basis exceeds the cost of deploying the same or similar service in-house or running a PaaS or IaaS service
  1. Protect ‘in-flight’ activities during data extraction

The market is still immature and there may be a worst case scenario making it impossible to extract your data without disrupting your services.

  • Ensure your vendor’s business case includes activities and costs covering the end of the contract, novation and data-extraction.
  • Correctly identify long-lasting data elements being stored in the cloud and how these can be transformed to an appropriate data structure for your organisation.
  • Maintain a catalogue of application interfaces in order to facilitate an optimised reuse model.

 

Once you have moved don’t forget to decommission legacy systems when the cloud service is operational and fully tested for your institution. This will help you achieve targeted cost savings and prevent business users from migrating back to their old ways!

 

Acknowledgements:

Fujitsu – http://uk.fujitsu.com/cloud

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