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3 considerations when migrating critical workloads to the cloud

By Vikram Ramesh, Senior Director of Product and Digital Marketing –

IT workers have spent the better part of the last decade thinking about the cloud. The cloud offers plenty of benefits, but those promised perks of cutting costs and making departments more agile don’t come without risks. CIOs need to consider every option and realistically take into account just how difficult migrating different workloads to the cloud can be. Applications, specifically, present a number of unique challenges before they can be moved. The more sensitive an application or the more critical it is to business operations ramps up the degree of difficulty exponentially. While there’s no such thing as a simple migration, these three considerations may make it a bit easier to make the move:

Will the application work once it’s been moved?

Sometimes IT teams integrate applications into their own infrastructures with the highest specifications. In other cases, they design and architect different applications specifically for their own systems. When it’s time to move these solutions to the cloud, or at least to consider doing so, the architecture of an application may need some adjusting. If the amount of time – and money – required to adjust the application is too great, it’s likely not worth the investment to migrate the application to the cloud. Cost optimization is at the heart of so many cloud migrations. Adding in more costs to a migration eliminates a lot of the benefit.

Is it performance sensitive?

Housing a critical application on a public cloud service usually warrants a thorough investigation. Cloud vendors are quick to hype the availability of their networks. When an IT administrator hears about “five 9s” from a cloud provider, it’s easy to be swayed, but, for a number of industries, availability by itself isn’t truly the concern with most workloads. Companies’ assorted apps drive their businesses, so they can’t just be available; they need strong performance at all times. Performance-based SLAs need to be a starting point when moving any business-critical application offsite.

How often is the application accessed?

Pay-as-you-go pricing draws the eyes of every CIO with that common mandate of keeping every cost under control while (in theory) not sacrificing performance standards. The issue, though, is that usage fluctuates heavily for many applications at different times, whether it’s daily, monthly or annually. To be sure that both cost and performance expectations can be met, usage needs to be fully understood, and performance benchmarks simultaneously need to be firmly established. Without performance guarantees alongside usage baselines, increased usage could lead to more latency, and the migration may prove less valuable in the end.

There aren’t many organizations without some aspect of their infrastructure in the cloud. Be sure to approach the migration with careful research and a strong IT foundation to ensure a successful endeavor.

Planning a cloud migration? Start with a critical infrastructure audit from Virtual Instruments to see where your system has room for improvement first.