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5 steps to cloud success

by wrich

Businesses’ rapid uptake of cloud technologies shows no signs of slowing as companies look to unlock greater IT agility and escape the burdens of running their own datacentre. But many find the journey to the cloud can be a bumpy ride. Here Rob Smith, CTO at award-winning cloud provider Creative ITC, outlines five common pitfalls to cloud migration and how to avoid them.

Rob Smith, CTO, Creative ITC,

A third of business leaders are planning to invest more in cloud technologies in 2022 and half of enterprises aim to go ‘cloud first’ this year. Migrating to the cloud offers businesses quick access to scalable storage and the latest technologies to improve employee and customer experience.

However, achieving a pain-free migration to cloud storage and long-term success is no mean feat. To help you steer the right course on your cloud journey, take note of five pitfalls organisations frequently encounter and how to avoid them:

1.Under-estimating time

The most common mistake organisations make it not allowing sufficient time to manage a cloud migration. Without enough time to properly design and implement a storage strategy tailored to business needs, too many IT teams find themselves forced into a rushed lift and shift of their data and workloads; this simply transfers legacy issues to a new platform.

Collaboration is essential to make the right long-term storage decisions, but too often data migration is delegated solely to stretched in-house IT teams. De-risk the process by involving finance early on to gain clarity of the true cost of various storage models before making your move. Work with DevOps and enlist support from business unit and application owners to build understanding of how your firm uses data and how it should be classified, accessed and stored. Premium performance should only be applied to critical workloads to avoid paying over the odds. 

2.Look properly before you leap

In the headlong rush to the cloud, many fail to do a thorough assessment of their storage needs to meet both immediate requirements and future business aims. There’s a vast array of vendors and service providers clamouring for your business and a dizzying selection of storage options on offer. Public, private, hybrid and multi cloud options now sit alongside on premise storage, making it hard to pick the right solution for your organisation.

First, conduct a thorough assessment of your apps and data on a case by case basis. The cloud may not be the best choice for all your data and workloads – there may be some data which you need to keep onsite for regulatory or security reasons. There may also be some information that you don’t need to keep at all, which simplifies challenges like GDPR compliance.

Calculate how much capacity you need both immediately and taking into account long-term growth plans. Right-sizing takes skill and experience, but done properly, will result in the most cost-effective solution.

3.Scrutinise special offers

It’s quick and easy to purchase public cloud storage, but many find the attractive entry prices are a fraction of what they end up paying. Public cloud giants Microsoft, Amazon and Google have been blasted by Gartner for their aggressive pricing to lure in customers.

It always pays to scrutinise the small print. IP addresses, failovers and backup commonly incur additional charges. You might also find your budget drained by unused static IP addresses, unhealthy instances and unattached persistent volumes, too. Beware of ‘hidden’ costs for 

  • Incorrect provisioning: Under-provision and you’ll need extra capacity at a higher cost; over-provision and you pay for resources which are not used.
  • Transactions: Many public cloud providers charge for accessing your data – as your data increases, so do the costs. 
  • Migration and egress: Most providers bill to extract your data, so you could find yourself effectively stuck with your cloud provider. 
  • Data transfer: Transfer of data into a public cloud is generally free, but transferring it out is often subject to charges.

Don’t be taken in by attractive discount offers for long-term cloud commitments. You’ll only benefit from the savings if you use all the prebooked capacity.

Although private cloud starting costs can seem high, it may prove more cost-effective over the long-term. Calculate TCO of your cloud storage before you choose. Seek out a specialist provider offering a managed storage solution right-sized for your needs, with transparent pricing and expertise to optimize performance. Choose wisely and you’ll avoid costly mistakes get good, honest advice, save on resourcing and make the most of the storage you’re paying for.

4.Keeping up to date

In today’s ever-evolving storage landscape, unlocking the full ROI from your IT investment isn’t straightforward. Whether you opt for on-premise, cloud or hybrid storage, review your in-house resources honestly. For self-managed options, you need to certain that your IT team has the right skills and up to date knowledge to deploy the latest technologies, oversee multiple platforms, optimize performance and battle rising security threats.

Could a specialist provider offering Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) across cloud and on-premise platforms add value? Consider:

  • Performance – Do you have the internal resources and skills to optimise storage performance with effective data tiering to ensure speed of access and maximum uptime? 
  • Visibility – Does your IT team have effective insight across all storage platforms, with visibility of capacity, usage and bottlenecks?
  • Lifecycle management – Do you have sufficient knowledge and budgets to keep up with the latest storage technologies? 

5.Answers not alerts

It’s a common fallacy that more security tools mean better security. In a complex cloud environment, alert fatigue is likely to set in. Blind spots between multiple tools and lack of 24/7 monitoring also leave organisations vulnerable to attack. 

One security advantage of hybrid cloud infrastructure is the flexibility to decide where applications and data will reside. If you need to retain some data on-premise, with others in a secure private cloud, some fully-managed STaaS offerings can accommodate this. Seek out an MSPs offering top-end cybersecurity tools and expert staff with 24/7 monitoring, reducing the need for you to hire and retain infosec professionals.

Whether you’re reviewing costs, service from your current provider or looking to ease the burden of cloud management on your in-house team, considering your cloud options and choice of MSP carefully. The ever-evolving storage landscape has never offered a wider choice – and it’s worth taking time to shop around.

(1)2022 TechTarget IT Priorities Survey

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