Cloud Technology

How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Cloud Migration Mistakes

If you’re moving your enterprise data to the cloud, you may encounter some roadblocks along the way. Here are 10 red flags that your migration is on the wrong path.

By 2020, enterprises will move 83 percent of their workloads to the cloud.

If you’re transferring your workloads to the public and/or private cloud, you might be under pressure to deliver a quick, cheap, and high-quality migration.

However, it’s impossible to hit all three of these targets.

If you speed through your migration, you run the risk of moving your data to unreliable cloud systems. Then, you will spend more time and money troubleshooting problems.

Meanwhile, cheap migrations often lead to downtime. If you need to keep users up and running, you must invest in the powerful hardware and/or state-of-the-art third-party software that is necessary to ensure a fast and efficient migration.

High-quality migrations are time-consuming, as they require extensive testing and troubleshooting.

A successful cloud migration requires flexibility in at least one of these three areas. When you develop a cloud migration strategy, you can achieve many benefits – such as greater agility and the ability to launch services faster.

The 10 Biggest Cloud Migration Mistakes

While moving to the cloud offers a number of benefits, a poorly planned migration can increase your costs and risks.

Here are the top 10 cloud migration mistakes that enterprises make, along with tips that will help you avoid them:

1. Underestimating the complexity of the project

Successful cloud migrations don’t “lift and shift” servers from one location to another. However, many enterprises try to run their existing environment in the cloud the same way they run it on premises.

Doing this can increase your costs and complexity, as many legacy systems aren’t designed or suited for a cloud environment.

For example, if you have outdated and slow hardware, or are running old versions of software, you may not have a direct path for migration. You can reduce your cloud complexity by preparing your systems and ensuring that they are in optimal condition before you move them to the cloud.

You can also minimize your complexity by introducing a proof-of-concept phase early in the migration project. The time and effort invested in this phase will help you manage your expectations, scope, and risks.

2. Failing to prepare your systems for migration

Many enterprises have had their legacy environment in place for 10 to 20 years. During this time, their systems have built up large volumes of mission-critical data.

When you move to the cloud, you must minimize downtime to these systems so that you can adhere to your service level agreements (SLAs) and keep the business in operation.

Before you begin a cloud migration, understand how your data volume will impact your downtime.

Minimize downtime by ensuring that your data is in good health before you migrate it to the cloud. Allow enough time to clean your data and get rid of anything that you no longer need. If you wait until the eleventh hour to address this, you will either need to delay your project or scramble to cleanse your data.

3. Not understanding how your systems integrate with each other

Before you migrate your data to the cloud, understand how all your systems interface with each other.

For example, your SAP environment may integrate with third-party applications across your enterprise.

Many IT teams don’t keep a reliable record of how everything is connected, which can cause integrated systems to malfunction after a cloud migration. You can avoid this by creating a catalog of your interfaces before you move systems to the cloud. If you wait until your migration to document these connections, you will face project delays.

4. Skipping the testing phase

Many IT teams treat a cloud migration like a purely technical project.
However, you must also involve your end users in your migration. That way, you won’t migrate everything and then discover that end users can’t perform the tasks that are essential to their jobs. Be sure to test your applications to ensure that they perform the way users expect them to perform.

Testing is also critical if you run a highly customized environment. The more customizations you have, the more complex your migration.

If your internal team doesn’t have the time or resources for extensive testing, you can work with a cloud partner. They can take care of your testing and give you a proof of concept before the migration.

5. Expecting fast migrations with zero downtime

Some stakeholders in your enterprise may expect zero downtime when you move your on-premises environment to the cloud. Alternatively, they may instruct you to complete the migration within an unrealistic timeframe.

Before a migration, tell your cloud provider about your expectations and agree upon a reasonable timeframe. You may also need to educate stakeholders about what’s realistic.

If you can’t tolerate downtime, you can bring in third-party tools to minimize it.

For example, SAP has native tools that can reduce your downtime in certain conditions. However, any hardware or software that minimizes your downtime will most likely be expensive. Ask if the cost of the tool is worth the uptime that you will gain during the migration. If you could lose millions for every hour that you are down, the cost of a third-party tool that provides you with near-zero downtime might be worth it.

Your cloud partner can evaluate your landscape and requirements to help you find the optimal solution. If you don’t want to bring in third-party tools, plan your migration thoroughly and allow for as much downtime as the business can tolerate.

6. Not planning how you transfer data to the cloud

You might be able to push small volumes of data over your network if you have a fast connection. However, this isn’t possible if you have massive quantities of data. You will need to transfer your data to a physical device and then ship it from your source data center to your public cloud provider.

Hyperscale public cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), might not offer SLAs for receiving a physical device, connecting it to the network, and making it available for the data upload. Private cloud providers are often more flexible about receiving your device and getting it online quickly.

7. Failing to create a back-out plan

What will you do if your migration fails?

For example, your transfer media may break, or something unexpected could happen at your target data center.

How will you address unexpected downtime and restore service to your end users – without them noticing that something went wrong?

Dedicate as much time to creating a back-out plan as you do to planning a migration. Don’t leave any loose ends that prevent you from rolling back if things don’t go as planned.

8. Combining several projects into one

Some enterprises may use a cloud migration to address several IT projects.

For example, they may try to combine an SAP version upgrade with a migration. They often think that completing multiple projects at once will minimize their downtime or allow them to save money.

But from a technical perspective, it’s better to complete one major change at a time. This makes it easier for you to roll back if you have a failure. You can also resolve issues faster if you manage just one project at a time.

9. Underestimating the time that it takes to set up a network connection

Setting up network connections might take up to eight weeks.

Be sure to order your links well in advance and prepare your connections before the cutover data. A strong network connection and ample bandwidth will minimize downtime during your cloud migration.

10. Doing it alone

A cloud migration isn’t something that happens on a regular basis, so you may not have the expertise or resources to manage one in house.

Internal IT teams are usually strapped for time. They may not have the resources to take on a complex migration and perform the testing that is needed for the project to succeed.

Working with a partner can ease your transition to the cloud and free up your internal team so they can focus on what they do best. A partner can also help you apply cloud best practices that minimize your risks and downtime.

A Cloud Migration Roadmap and Next Steps

Moving to the cloud requires a solid strategy. If you rush your migration or cut corners, you will likely make a mistake. Luckily, you can minimize your risks by working with a partner who has a proven roadmap to ease your transition to the cloud.

If you are moving to SAP S/4HANA, learn how to successfully migrate to S/4HANA and if you are moving your SAP environment to the public cloud, learn how to successfully migrate SAP applications to Microsoft Azure. Our architecture design session can help.

You can also contact us today to discover how we can help you seamlessly migrate your data to the cloud.