Many enterprise IT teams have experienced, or continue to experience, problems with the migration of their physical on-premises networks to their new cloud solutions. Despite all of the hype about how great public clouds are, there are normally issues with a public cloud migration that include: performance problems, service outages, missed security threats, and more.
For example, according to research from Dimensional Research in late 2017, half or more of the companies they surveyed experienced application performance problems. Additionally, 88% of companies surveyed experienced some sort of issue with their cloud environment due to a lack of visibility into what is, and is not, happening within that environment.
These issues stem from one fundamental misconception. While moving workloads to the cloud may be as simple as a “lift and shift” approach, moving everything else (like network monitoring, performance monitoring, security architectures, troubleshooting activities, and compliance activities) is not that simple. The key to a successful deployment is knowing ahead of time where the issues lie and addressing those potential issues upfront—before they become a service impacting problem.
Here are the seven “deadly sins” of public cloud migrations you should avoid:
1. Assuming what functions should be migrated instead of conducting a thorough investigation first
2. Not researching the right type of cloud provider solution
3. Ignoring how the solution will be managed
4. Believing that the cloud vendor is responsible for the security of your cloud solution
5. Lack of planning for network visibility and monitoring functions
6. Lack of understanding of the solution’s performance capabilities
7. Believing industry and vendor hype about efficiency expectations
The first thing you need to thoroughly understand is what are you migrating and why?
While this topic sounds simple, it represents a fundamental stumbling block for IT. Business operation is not just about spinning up apps as fast as possible.
The public cloud migration cloud solution you choose to deploy, and how you choose to deploy it, will dictate your data visibility, how you can access data, and long-term costs, i.e. your total cost of ownership (TCO). Many gloss over this and make quick assumptions because they need to make decisions fast. This decision will make or break the project’s success.
Here are three core considerations that you should investigate for your cloud solution:
- What workflow types do you plan to migrate?
- What cloud solution do you plan to deploy (e.g. SaaS, PaaS, IaaS)?
- When will you migrate all your workloads?
The next level of public cloud migration planning focuses on the type of cloud provider solution you require. Here are three of the most common variants:
- Single vendor
- Hybrid cloud
So, which type of cloud provider solution will you deploy? This decision will dictate uptime, complexity, costs, vendor lock-in, data access, and the control that you have over your solution.
Management of any technology solution is a perennial concern, and for good reason. The time spent managing a solution is one of the largest components of TCO. Cloud-based solutions are no different. The value proposition of a cloud solution is that it will reduce the cost to deploy and maintain new services.
Therefore, a cloud solution needs to meet these two objectives for you to realize cost savings in the management component for your solution:
- Maximize the ease of use of the interface
- Ability to manage the solution from a network operations center (NOC)
- Security Concerns in the Cloud
Another concern is security. Proper security has specific “do’s and don’ts” which take security experts years to understand. This means that security must be a forethought, not an afterthought.
For cloud networks, this is as important as it is for a physical on-premises solution. ln 2017, there were 2.6 billion cloud data records breached alone.
While you might be under the misconception that the cloud vendor already handles security issues for its customers’ cloud instances, this not the case. There are some security measures in place, like customer firewalls, but that is from a cloud computing perspective.
Otherwise, the cloud vendor will put security protections in place for their infrastructure, but that is intended to protect the cloud vendor, not customer cloud instances.
For security and monitoring solutions to perform optimally, they need full visibility into the network. Better visibility eliminates blind spots, decreases troubleshooting and monitoring costs, improves operational efficiency, and enhances compliance data.
The 2017 survey performed by Dimensional Research showed that 9 out of 10 respondents have seen a direct negative business impact due to a lack of visibility into public cloud traffic.
The ramifications of limited visibility include extended threat analysis times, more false positives, inaccurate conclusions, and longer mean times to repair (MTTR). Simply put, better data results in better monitoring, which reduces your troubleshooting and forensic analysis costs, as well as the cost of missed security threats.
Read Next: A Case for Cloud-Based Access Control
While cloud instances are great for spinning up business-critical applications, they often limit visibility into cloud data and functionality. This can lead to severe performance issues. It is especially true for public cloud instances where you have less control of the infrastructure.
There are two things to keep in mind about cloud performance:
- Application performance is critical, otherwise you have wasted your time and money to migrate to the cloud
- You will need to validate the actual service level agreement (SLA) from your cloud provider to get a true understanding of your network
In the end, organizations migrate workloads to the public cloud because it offers scale, agility, and flexibility. At the same time, you need a high level of efficiency to maintain those benefits.
IT operations can achieve that efficiency with a cloud-based visibility solution. In addition, a “pure cloud” solution might not be the best option. A hybrid of public cloud and on-premises equipment might be the right prescription for what you need.
The only way to know is to do your research up front and validate your solution at specific points as you progress with your public cloud migration.