February 5, 2024 By Teaganne Finn 4 min read

Cloud computing continues to grow in popularity, and its scalability, functionality, cost-effectiveness and other potential benefits have helped transform traditional business models and update legacy systems, creating opportunities for various organizations. A cloud migration, however, is a huge undertaking that requires thorough planning and execution of a comprehensive strategy to successfully achieve business goals. Cloud services are readily available and come in all shapes and sizes—it’s important to determine which is best for your organization.

Though it can deliver many benefits, a migration project poses some risks to an organization and presents a unique set of challenges. The better an organization understands those challenges, and prepares to proactively address them, the more successful (and less stressful!) a migration will be.

In this blog, we review the benefits of cloud migration and some common challenges organizations face, to help your organization better prepare for a cloud migration.

Cloud migration benefits

Cloud migration—the process of moving data, applications and workloads from an on-premises data center to a cloud-based infrastructure, or from one cloud environment to another—offers several significant benefits: 

  • Scalability: A move to cloud removes the physical constraints to scalability; it reduces or eliminates the need to add servers and supporting infrastructure to a data center.
  • Cost-effectiveness: With cloud pricing models, you can pay for only the capacity you use. Rather than adding on-premises capacity in anticipation of scalability you may or may not need, cloud deployment enables you to pay for the capacity you currently need and scale on demand when required.
  • Security: Leading cloud providers offer secure environments that comply with applicable industry standards and government regulations. They protect these environments with security tools, best practices and policies, updating them regularly and at scale as needed.
  • Accelerated adoption: Migrating applications to the cloud allows your company to adopt new technologies faster and increase compatibility. In short, enterprises typically migrate workloads to cloud to improve operational performance and agility, workload scalability and security.

Cloud migration challenges

Though cloud migration might be the right move for your organization, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges involved. The nature of these obstacles depends on your organization’s migration plan. The outcome of your migration might be affected by whether your organization plans to migrate all its computing assets to the cloud or run a partial migration while some applications and services remain on-premises. This replatforming can reveal vulnerabilities and help to highlight your business needs.

In the following sections, we explore some of the most common cloud migration challenges and offer cloud solutions to help your organization manage a smooth migration and avoid issues such as data loss and performance degradation.

Lack of cloud migration strategy

While businesses and organizations are often eager to take advantage of cloud infrastructure, it’s important to approach the process with a clear design and plan of action to achieve the best outcomes. A cloud migration strategy should consider many different factors, including overall migration goals and how to avoid downtime.

It’s important to carefully examine which workloads are most appropriate for cloud and avoid selecting applications to run in cloud that might be better suited on-premises. This factor differs depending on your company’s specific needs and business objectives, chosen cloud service providers and cloud distribution models (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, for example).

Solution: After you have decided to adopt cloud, creating a detailed roadmap outlining the migration process and necessary resources is crucial for success. Things to consider include what you migrate and why, and who is responsible for each part of the migration. Clearly defining these workflows makes for a smoother transition.

The roadmap considers factors like dependencies, latency and security concerns, and the leveraging of technologies like automation. Organizations must decide whether a private cloud, a public cloud or a hybrid environment is best suited for their cloud data needs.

Migration cost

Calculating cloud migration costs can be one of the most challenging aspects of migration. Organizations often underestimate the full scope of expenses incurred during data migration, such as new network connectivity needs to handle increased bandwidth demands and post-migration costs to run workloads in cloud environments.

Solution: The best way to plan your cloud costs is by taking advantage of cloud migration planning tools that walk you through all the considerations of the cloud migration process. Set a budget for the migration and be sure to factor in current costs associated with moving the workloads and the expense of running them in the cloud.

Complex architecture

Matching your organization’s cloud strategy with the overall IT strategy can present a challenge, particularly if the current IT infrastructure is complex. IT complexity can make it a bit more difficult to develop and run a compatible cloud migration strategy.

Solution: To prevent creating a complex new cloud or hybrid environment, along with its accompanying costs and challenges, your organization needs to carefully plan and establish a realistic vision. Strive to design a cloud architecture that is compatible with the existing in-house IT infrastructure to minimize inconsistencies and interoperability problems between different systems.

Data security and compliance risks

There is security risk involved with any transfer of information, including when moving data to and from cloud platforms. Cloud-hosted data and apps must follow the same security protocol as those on-premises. A successful cloud migration includes these security measures as part of its refactoring.

Solution: To address this risk, choose a cloud service provider with robust security features and a demonstrated history of platform security. Ensure that network connections are appropriate for the task at hand. For example, always opt for a secure private connection to handle sensitive data. Additionally, ensure that cloud providers have the tools, practices and policies in place to comply with relevant security requirements.

Cloud migration and IBM®

Cloud migration doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The IBM Instana™ and IBM® Turbonomic® platforms provide cloud migration solutions and tools that simplify the migration process and help your organization find the most efficient and cost-effective path to the cloud.

Here’s how it works:

With IBM Turbonomic you can optimize your cloud consumption from the start, expedite cloud migration initiatives and enable cloud security.

Turbonomic analyzes the real-time resource needs of application workloads, whether they’re cloud-based or running on-prem. The platform then delivers potential application migration plans. These plans detail specific actions and indicate which cloud configurations will support your workloads. This applies whether you take a “lift-and-shift” approach or optimize workloads as part of the migration. This migration assessment strategy can help with cost savings by avoiding expensive lift-and-shift migrations.

Whether your organization is pursuing a cloud-first, hybrid cloud or multicloud strategy, Turbonomic can deliver cloud migration planning tools to accelerate your digital transformation and help you take full advantage of discounted pricing.

With IBM Instana you can establish pre-migration performance baselines, understand your infrastructure needs, automate cloud provisioning and orchestration, pinpoint the root cause of issues during migration and establish proactive post-migration monitoring processes. IBM Instana™ Observability helps to ensure your success throughout the entire cloud migration process (plan, migrate and run) for smooth and efficient application and infrastructure performance, without disruptions to your users.

Explore cloud migration planning with IBM Turbonomic Explore IBM Instana cloud migration
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