According to market analysts like IDC, Gartner, 451, GigaOm and others you are about to migrate to the Cloud or you already did. Their research claims that, by end 2014, almost 60% of Small and Medium-sized businesses in Europe will have migrated part of their infrastructure to the Cloud.
Sounds appealing and innovative, doesn´t it?
But will it all be that easy? Is Cloud really just a matter of signing up online to virtual machines? Is it merely a matter of switching off your physical servers and start working with Cloud servers? Off course not. Migrating to Cloud can actually give you a big headache when you do it ill prepared and are not aware of the choices to make. A worrisome future might be yours if you do not prepare well for it.
Challenge 1: choosing a Cloud provider
First you have to decide which Cloud provider you will trust your infrastructure to. Indeed, it is all a matter of faith. If you have not yet been using Cloud before, it will be the reputation and friendly advice of fellow IT administrators you will trust. You will ask them if Amazon AWS is indeed the most trustworthy provider. Or is the hip and trendy Digital Ocean provider a cheaper and more powerful option? Or maybe you should use Swiss-based ExoScale? We have all heard the stories about American government snooping around in sensitive data…
Challenge 2: Far away or close to home?
Geography will be your second challenge. Physical servers have a great advantage over Cloud computing. You know where they are and you know they will stay there. You can control their environment and make a strategic business choice where to host them. This does not apply to Cloud. Cloud servers do have the benefit however that infrastructure can be distributed across continents. So you might choose to contract a global provider with datacentres across all continents. Or maybe you prefer a small provider that promises you a local and personalised approach. Going local or global will bring along linguistic issues; will your provider be able to help you in your language? And which consequences will it have for data protection? Which commercial law will apply? Many issues arise when looking at Cloud migration from a geographical perspective.
Challenge 3: Size does matter
After deciding which provider you want to use and where you want your VM´s to be active, you will have to figure out which type and size of Cloud server you need. You will be charged accordingly every month. An important decision with a potentially severe impact on your profit margins. What if you choose a contract that turns out to be too big or too small for your business needs?
Wait a minute…! Didn´t they tell you Cloud is flexible? That you can scale your platforms anytime and anywhere depending on peak demands and growth? Yes, but some providers are not that agile or accurate. With some providers you are not even able to plan an autoscaling. You might need to carry out all those processes manually.
Challenge 4: learning to work with Cloud
Enters your fourth problem; how to deal with your main IT processes? Each provider has different rules and procedures. APIs will ease your life a bit, and even allow integrations, but you will still be stuck behind your black screen typing command line after command line. Not really a change compared to having physical servers, is it? Most Cloud providers will offer you compute capacity but do not take care of helping you deal with it. Other providers offer a dashboard with that many features you will need a separate training on how to use them. Not to mention knowing and understanding what is happening on your virtual machines and giving the right response at the right moment.
Challenge 5: What to do with your legacy servers?
You have been investing time and lots of money in your physical infrastructure. So shall you wait until you have obtained the full return on your investment and delay your migration? Or should you assume the loss? Today’s providers will only offer you one of the above choices. Unless you use a Cloud management platform that allows you to manage physical servers.
Cloud management tools will help you with all of the above. They are built for automating IT tasks, streamlining processes and procedures and simplifying the migration towards Cloud. In case of ECmanaged, the award-winning Cloud management tool, you will even be able to set up multi-Cloud platforms and include physical servers. Multi-Cloud is the same as using more than one provider in a single platform. That way you do not have to put all your eggs in one basket and can build a flexible and resilient IT platform. ECmanaged offers a single dashboard to manage all servers, regardless of the provider. Simple and easy.