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Since the clouds are now important for achieving end-to-end digital transformation, in this article we will give recommendations for migrating companies to the clouds.

Moving to the cloud saves companies money and makes life easier for large teams. However, without a detailed plan, qualified team, and risk assessment, migration can be too expensive, take too long, or not happen at all.

Why should companies migrate to the cloud infrastructure

Migration can be different, for example, moving to a public cloud, to your own private cloud, to a cloud with a global provider, you can create a hybrid cloud or migrate from one to another cloud platform.

Among this, the most important thing to remember is that the stages of transition to the cloud are typical, but the migration itself will differ from company to company. This is influenced by the size of the organization, its existing IT infrastructure, and the reasons and goals to be achieved by this transition.

The cloud gives the greatest advantage to large or developed medium-sized businesses. As for small companies, they can limit themselves to using public clouds from Google or Amazon , which will be enough for them to work. Therefore, in this article we will consider migration to the cloud using the example of large projects and firms.

The IaaS model is typically used for migration and can cover most needs, from application migration to relocation of entire data centers. Let’s start with the benefits, which include:

  1. Simplicity and speed of access to corporate IT services. For example, mail, CRM, 1C, specialized software for professional work or SharePoint (this is a set of web applications for organizing collaboration).
  2. Reducing the cost of IT infrastructure. Large companies often have a multi-branch structure. A typical process of working with a branch was setting up the Internet, an internal telephone, buying a laptop, setting up all systems, and sending it to another city. The process involves internal workers and external contractors. Therefore, it is more convenient and cheaper to work through a cloud service, even allowing you to use the concept of bring your own device. One-time setup and a new team member can work immediately.
  3. Reducing costs through planning. $1 today is not $1 a month from now. It is more profitable for companies to invest and make a profit than to immediately invest in CAPEX. Already having a certain amount of equipment, the company may be limited in launching new projects. For example, in the deployment of the mail system separately. This entails a lot of money, the purchase of servers, services, additional licenses. In the cloud, for example, the administrator always knows how many licensed programs he currently has in use. This allows you to plan and buy exactly the number of licenses and resources that you need, without spending money on unattracted resources.
  4. Centralization and security. In the cloud, administration and management are practically located in one place. Therefore, it is logical that the level of security is higher. After all, it’s easier to keep track of one room than to guard 16 different rooms in different cities. You can also save on monitoring systems and special software for encryption and data protection. The company always knows where its data is, what condition it is in, where it went and how it got back. This is much easier for internal security services, which, for example, investigate possible leaks of confidential information.

In general, the cloud is the elasticity of infrastructure. The company can narrow or expand it depending on the needs. In stationary equipment, the company is always locked.

How to calculate transition costs

Sometimes the director, to put it mildly, is shocked when they bring him a bill for several hundred thousand. Then several tens of thousands more are reported monthly, because something has been forgotten. To avoid such situations, when moving to the cloud, detailed planning is required.

There is such a thing as total cost of ownership, which helps to make a budget. This is the total cost of ownership of infrastructure, which is considered quite simply – capital costs plus operating expenses for a certain period.

When a company starts planning its own private cloud, it needs to take inventory of everything it has: every device and service. This will allow you to understand which of all this can be used to build your own cloud or move to a provider.

Next, you need to decide what else is worth buying and upgrading another expense item that needs to be taken into account. Perhaps this will be done by your own team or system integrator, the payment of which should also be included. Another big article is licensed software. And also – services for virtualization.

That is, the main costs go to the material part, the modernization of the existing one and the software. In the future, there will also be costs for protection systems and support and maintenance of everything.

It also happens that it is more profitable to build your own cloud. There are cases in which the cost of a monthly cloud rental reached about $150,000. And based on capital costs for 3 years, it was more convenient for a company to build its own cloud.

How long does it take to move to the cloud

In my experience, the planning phase alone can take up to 3 months, depending on the size and complexity of the IT.

Companies have several transition paths, but the most common is a gradual transition of systems over 1-6 months. Not all organizations have the ability, for example, to focus their IT team solely on relocation. But if there is, then it can take 30-50 days, in which the business cannot fully pay attention to its typical work.

With the involvement of external contractors (system integrators or providers), this process can be accelerated and reduced in cost, since the teams have already “stuffed bumps” and have the necessary expertise.

A separate time-consuming stage is a test migration, during which work in the cloud is analyzed without stopping the main activity. When everything is certified, the team switches to new resources and already monitors the correct operation of all systems.

What are the risks of migrating to the cloud

There are three main topics here: budgeting, safety and long-term planning. We talked about budgeting above. As for security, this is no less important point in the cooperation of both the provider and the company, as well as in building your own cloud. In the first option, the provider is responsible for the security of access to equipment, the integrity and storage of data and backup. Therefore, the protection of data or communication channels (if the latter is not provided to the provider side) remains with the company.

Another risk is not to document the information audit in time. These are additional hours of work, but in the future it can remove most of the questions “why so” and “where is located”.

Sometimes the infrastructure within the customer company can be a problem for companies providing migration. For example, outdated Windows 2003 or programs written by oneself. This should also be taken into account to avoid problems during migration.

And one more thing – sensitive information, the storage of which in your data center may be more justified.

What are the challenges for the team

If a company has matured to move to the cloud, then usually it already has people with basic or advanced qualifications in this topic. If there are no such people, this is not critical, but you should be prepared to search for such specialists.

Sometimes there are problems, such as changing the virtualization platform. It will be necessary to accustom people to another system, it takes time and effort. However, this problem is not so common, and is unlikely to create serious difficulties.

What is the result

When moving to the cloud, the company gets a more secure and convenient environment for work. If you take into account all the risks, warn the team, consult with contractors and draw up a detailed budget, this process will be easier than it seems.

The transition itself is not difficult. However, it requires a qualified approach and analysis.

To migrate to the cloud, please contact [email protected]