It is now common knowledge that there are considerable advantages to moving your applications to the cloud. From improving resource usage and agility to lowering operational costs, the cloud can provide your organisation with a competitive edge.
Payara Accelerator - Advice for your Journey to the Cloud
At Payara, we have always embraced the cloud, with both Payara Server and Payara Micro long having included features that make them ideal platforms putting applications on the cloud - read Mike's blog on the full details of these features...
However, moving to the cloud isn't without its complications and challenges. To take full advantage of its benefits and get the most out of cloud computing, you'll have to be willing to adapt your approach to designing, developing and deploying applications.
To help you, the Payara Accelerator team have put together this first-look post with three questions for customers looking to migrate to the cloud to consider.
What is your Motivation for Migrating to the Cloud?
There are plenty of reasons that may motivate an organisation to make the move to the cloud. Common reasons include wanting to:
- reduce costs
- increase flexibility
- embrace scalability
- increase efficiency
Whatever your specific reasons, you have to make sure that making the move will be of benefit to your organisation and applications. Hidden challenges may crop up and pose difficulties for your organisation.
Consider, for example, the complexity of both your applications and their integration with other external systems and how this could impact the ease with which you can migrate. Whilst your motivations for migrating sound beneficial, the initial process may not produce the outcomes you'd hoped for straight away.
Also, if your motivation is to use the cloud to reduce costs, you will need to make sure you are factoring in the hidden costs that may arise as a result of moving your applications to the cloud before you experience a positive ROI from the migration. However modern and agile the approach, if the migration to cloud results in you having to retrain your development or operations team, you need to make sure you factor this in too.
We thoroughly believe in the benefits of the cloud, but advocate reviewing your existing applications to make sure that you stay realistic about the outcomes for moving your applications, and don't get let your motivations for migrating distract from understanding the potential challenges your team may face.
Do you Have a Comprehensive Plan that Identifies and Accounts for Potential Risks?
Once you understand why you want to migrate, and what success looks like, you need to plan how you get there. The risks of a migration project can broadly be categorised into two types:
- Technical risks:
Where applications or components don’t work in the cloud, or need more work than anticipated to get working
- Non-technical risks:
Where business or process factors need to change
A migration from on-premise infrastructure to a cloud provider is very different to just upgrading your infrastructure versions and refreshing the hardware.
It is key to consider from the start that you will be significantly changing the way some people need to perform their jobs. The project therefore needs to be handled with sensitivity and care from the start, ensuring that retraining and organisational change are tackled at the same time as technical migration.
At a more technical level, it is important to understand how many systems you are planning on moving to the cloud and when they will move. There will be dependencies between systems that will need to be managed, and interfaces between your cloud infrastructure and on-premise infrastructure that need to be migrated.
One of the biggest factors to consider when planning your migration is whether you plan to “cut over” to the cloud systems as a big bang, where all systems are migrated at once, or in a staged process. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, so it's worth considering in detail for your particular organisation.
A cloud migration is not just a technical task, and there will be a number of business processes and strategies that will need to be reconsidered or rewritten from scratch. Disaster Recovery (DR) and business continuity plans, support processes, new account processes, etc, may all need to be rewritten with new ways of doing things.
Are you Aware of the Common Pitfalls Associated with Migration to the Cloud?
There are a number of common pitfalls that people come across that can result in a cloud migration project not delivering its benefits, or not giving the anticipated savings.
The main cause of this is underestimating in some way the complexity of the task, or trying to rush it and making early mistakes. It is not uncommon to find undocumented interfaces in a system that is to be migrated (for example, reliance on shared file systems or authentication providers) that are not covered on infrastructure diagrams, and so get forgotten in migration planning.
Another key cause of failure is not planning for the business and process change needed with adopting a cloud provider, leaving staff forced to accept changes that they don’t understand, and without the necessary skills to perform their jobs.
All of the above pitfalls can be avoided with good planning and an understanding of the complexities of a cloud migration project, allowing you to deliver the very real benefits and cost savings that a cloud infrastructure can provide.
If you're considering the cloud as part of your infrastructure strategy and would like to discuss your project with one of the Payara Accelerator Engineers ,then please contact us.
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