Pitfalls to Avoid During Azure Migrations

The benefits of migration to Azure are substantial – infrastructure management is outsourced, expenses shift to pay-as-you-go, and capacity limits are removed. This combination improves agility, time-to-market, and business response to industry changes.

Like a shift from on site to outsourced electricity generation, the hard work is done elsewhere. Out of sight, out of mind. Right?

That was an early argument for the simplicity and beauty of the cloud. And likely the most prevalent metaphor. Of course, we don’t want a generator in our backyard or power plant down the street.

But while the cloud has been a viable source of enterprise compute and storage for over a decade, adoption is still low. While estimates vary, most analysts report less than 20 percent of workloads have migrated.

Old habits hard to break

So why do we still have complex apps and vast data storage onsite when others, like Microsoft Azure, can take care of the hard work? Even in the spotlight of amazing business and technical cloud benefits.

Because old habits are hard to break. And operational change is difficult to achieve. Especially when the move requires major architectural and behavioral change for both business and IT. Operational roles to manage on premise solutions vastly differ from IaaS and PaaS deployments.

What happens to the systems and storage admins? Who does the new business analytics and AI expert report to? How do I transform my IT operations from enterprise technology experts to the delivery of resources in a cost effective and timely fashion?

For so many years, enterprise IT teams managed compute, storage, security and datacenter networking onsite. And the business called IT when they needed new apps. How do we break this routine and change our traditional patterns?

Start with a strong strategy

Of course, 20 percent of workloads moved to cloud IaaS and PaaS solutions in the last decade. But large behavioral change lies ahead for companies to reap the vast cloud benefits for the remaining migration.

To realize these gains and compete with agile, digital upstarts that run their business on the cloud, incumbent leaders need a strong migration strategy and execution plan. And savvy managers to guide this change.

This includes a business case to convince the finance team. A seamless migration plan to win over the operations and support teams. And contingency tactics for the governance, risk, and compliance teams that pledged a vow of safety and security to their customers and board of directors.

Common pitfalls to avoid

The pitfalls to avoid may seem obvious by now. Or their corollaries of what must be accomplished to sidestep them. In either case, they likely read as follows. Don’t start the migration without…

  • Specific expected business and IT benefits
  • Documented performance and availability needs
  • Detailed security and privacy necessities
  • Strong understanding of architectural changes
  • Change management plan for new roles within IT Operations
  • Application portfolio analysis for best cloud migration candidates
  • Phased approach vs everything at once
  • Migration timeline with success metric read outs
  • Personnel gap assessment and create a plan to narrow them

But how do you translate these items to your company. The answer is a thorough and carefully crafted plan, specific to your organization’s people, process and existing technology. And one that ultimately selects a leading cloud provider, like Microsoft Azure.

Dedicated cross functional team

Creating this plan requires a dedicated cross functional team to thoughtfully frame the problem, outline the options, calculate the benefits, choose the migration paths, set a timeline, and monitor success.

None of this is easy but the payoffs are large; in some cases, the difference between business success and failure. And often best conducted with the consultation of cloud strategy and migration experts, like Trianz, that have guided hundreds of enterprises in this effort.

While it may seem hard to envision, wouldn’t you rather not have noisy and dangerous power generation in the neighborhood?

If the quick answer is yes, just don’t underestimate the effort to get there.

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