Moving from on-premises IT or colocation to cloud hosting can be an involved process if complex applications and services are involved.
Certain systems might need significant redevelopment work before they can be moved, some may have security and compliance needs to consider, and for others it may even be more cost-effective to upgrade or replace outright.
Before we tell you about the seven of the factors you should consider before migrating an application or service to IaaS cloud hosting, take this opportunity to have a free IaaS test-drive by clicking the link below.
1. What operating systems do you use and are they compatible with cloud?
When you’re choosing which applications to move to the cloud, you’ll need to consider their architecture and the software they were initially built for. Some legacy applications may rely on old and unsupported operating systems that aren’t compatible with cloud, for example. To get around this, review carefully, conduct plenty of tests beforehand, and perhaps opt not to move them at all.
2. Are some legacy applications reliant on physical hardware?
In the same way, if some of your legacy applications were built to rely on specific physical hardware, migrating them directly to the cloud will be impossible. Before you migrate these applications, factor in the time and resources you’ll need to reengineer them into a working state, and consider whether it might be more cost-effective to keep them on their own physical hardware for now.
3. If so, would this be a good opportunity to upgrade?
In situations like the ones described above, legacy applications are often best left on physical hardware for the rest of their lifecycle, giving you a hybrid IT environment built on both cloud hosting and on-premises or colocated infrastructure. In some cases, however, an IaaS migration should be seen as an opportunity to replace those systems with more modern alternatives, which may work out more cost-effective when total cost of ownership and expected ROI are taken into account.
4. Are cloud versions of your applications available?
In some cases, upgrading will involve swapping legacy applications for their SaaS alternatives. Some organisations, for example, may find it simpler and more cost-effective to move their email from an on-premises Exchange Server to Office 365 rather than install Exchange in the cloud.
However, it’s important to review your security and compliance requirements here, and whether those would be better served by an IaaS environment you have more control over.
5. What software licences are you using?
Before you move applications into the cloud, take stock of your licensing arrangements. Would migrating them to off-premises infrastructure constitute a breach of contract?
Some software licences won’t allow you to install the applications outside of a specific country, for example, which can be problematic if your cloud provider uses a global portfolio of data centres and can’t ensure your data will only ever live in a particular territory. (This may be a barrier you can overcome with a UK cloud hosting service, however.)
6. What are your security and compliance requirements?
Taking the time to consider your security and compliance requirements is essential when moving applications to cloud hosting - especially as they may differ from one application to another.
Any application used to store or process personal data, for example, may need to stay within a particular territory to comply with local data protection laws (of which the incoming EU GDPR – affecting UK organisations from May 2018 – is one of the most demanding). Outside of regulatory compliance, you may also have internal policies that specify where and how you can store and process particular data items.
It’s therefore important to check your cloud provider can meet your requirements – potentially by offering full visibility of where data is stored or by supporting you in the development of a hybrid IT environment.
7. Is hybrid IT an option?
Adopting hybrid IT is becoming a popular option for many businesses, with 85% of enterprises now choosing a multi-cloud strategy and 58% planning on hybrid, according to the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud report.
This allows for increased flexibility to accommodate those applications that can’t easily be moved to the cloud, as well as those that need to stay where they are for reasons of security and compliance, while still migrating others at the earliest convenience. Some providers will also allow for cross-connects between cloud and physical hardware, which ensures the move to hybrid IT won’t impact on latency and stability.
Find out what it takes to deliver a smooth and successful move to cloud hosting in our IaaS migration checklist.