Migrating to the Cloud? It’s like another TCO evaluation!

If you have been evaluating the TCO optimised benefits of running your business applications on the cloud, it’s important that you also evaluate the options of optimizing your application migration costs to the Cloud environment. Here are some of the points to consider

Migrating your software applications to the cloud may involve one or more of the following,

  • Architecture migration (determine and move to a specific cloud infrastructure deployment topology)
  • Data migration  (this might involve database porting)
  • Application porting (porting to a similar platform or different platform)
  • Security migration  (reconfiguring your system and app. security layers)
  • Process migration   (service deployment and management configurations)

Which Cloud to Migrate to?

This is a critical part of your evaluation,assessment and strategy. The answer to this depends on your business objectives and priorities. For instance

a) Slash the time to deploy to optimise the TCO and ROI

b) Reduce the TCO of these 10 applications by 40% from the existing TCO in 1 year

c) Increase of the revenue from specific services by 20% in one year

d) Increase the reliability of my service by 25% while reducing the ops.costs by 15%

For example a Cloud services vendor like RightScale could help slash your time to deploy and manage your applications significantly on Amazon AWS than what if you were to do a similar thing on Amazon AWS by yourselves. Similarly some of the software and tools used by the Cloud Vendor GoGrid.

On the otherside, Cloud vendors like Rackspace or Eucalyptus might appeal to you from a pure cost perspective over others or they are able to provide the right platforms that helps you to maintain or improve your application deployment’s relaibility.

Migration Testing & Quality assurance :-

This is often overlooked, but very critical. Please note that the more layers of migration that you have, the risks are more in the implementation. So,make sure you have a rigorous test and QA plan and execution as a part of the Migration project plan. Your QA should finally certify that the migrated application(s) have been deployed with NIL defects against the planned business objectives and technical criteria.

Failure to deploy successfully ,if it surfaces later will affect your TCO as you may have to spend more on managing and supporting the issues (increased cost of quality)

Efforts & Costs of Migration : –

Don’t under estimate the efforts ,cost and risks of migrating your business applications to the cloud. Do a through home work and you will need the participation of many stake holders from various departments of your organisation to Analyse/access and then evaluate the strategy and plans.

As a part of your evaluation, consider evaluating *multiple* cloud vendors and its environment . For instance , if your priority is to slash the time to deploy your application(s), then specific cloud environments or vendors can help jump start and accelerate it .

A longer path to migration or a poor quality of migration to the cloud can potentially affect your TCO in the short to mid term.

  • A Longer path to migration will delay your transition time to the cloud which means your TCO for a specific planned term (say one year) will get constrained-
    – Your budgets, resource requirements and technical strengths can directly affect your plans to move to the cloud.
  • Poor quality of migration will indirectly increase your costs in the form of IT maintenance,management and support costs or loss of revenues ,there by reducing and offsetting the cost advantages offered by the Cloud  for a  short to mid term until you stabilize the applications.

Your  focus? Your TCO?

  • It is better that you have your team to focus on the critical aspects and your core business as otherwise, getting your team to work on the nitty gritties and implementation might lead to your team losing focus and your core team involved in non-core activities. They need to stay at the top . They have to be lean and mean as you can’t afford to allocate a lot of resources and their time from your business operations.
  • It is worthwhile to evaluate reducing the efforts and costs of migration by local or global outsourcing the cloud migration to a third-party company with the right capabilities and providing Cloud migration services. This can help you to shorten your time to migrate to cloud and at a lower cost at the same time.

Essentially if your company is looking at migrating a number of *non-mission critical* or departmental,non-revenue generating applications of your business, then  higher efforts and costs of migration makes little sense to your business and hence it is prudent to look at ways of optimising the migration costs without it denting on your TCO optimisation. This is excactly where you can explore the options of Cloudshoring!

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