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Cloud Migration

Why Cloud Adoption Fails and 6 Tips for Success

What Is Cloud Adoption?

Cloud computing offers advantages over on-premises systems for certain business use cases. Cloud platforms can offer flexibility and scalability that would be difficult to achieve in an exclusively on-premises environment. The cloud also allows you to eliminate upfront infrastructure costs and ongoing maintenance costs.

Organizations often choose to adopt new cloud-based systems and services to take advantage of the capabilities offered by cloud service providers (CSPs), a process known as cloud adoption or cloud migration. Today, most organizations operate hybrid and multi-cloud environments, leveraging the advantages of different cloud providers and in-house capabilities.

However, cloud adoption requires reorganizing how your company operates. In addition to the new tools and services you adopt, you may need to change your business processes and management strategies. You need to address security from a different perspective, and you will likely need to retrain your staff or recruit new personnel with the relevant expertise.

 In this article:

What Is Your Cloud Adoption Maturity Level?

This discussion is based on a cloud maturity framework shared by Jon Guerin of Microsoft. When adopting the cloud, organizations typically fall into one of the following maturity levels:

  • Foundational adopter
  • Intermediate adopter
  • Advanced adopter

You should undertake a cloud maturity assessment as a first step towards identifying your current adoption stage. A cloud maturity assessment addresses the process, technology, and people aspects. This process lets you create a plan to improve the organization’s cloud maturity framework as fast as possible, minimizing uncertainty and risk.

The foundational phase
In this phase, the organization starts its cloud transformation process. A core success factor is defining your business reasons for transferring data to the cloud. In the foundational phase, the customer has minimal understanding of cloud services and advantages and needs guidance, direction, and education.

The intermediate phase
In this phase, the organization understands cloud services and has migrated certain non-essential workloads to the cloud. However, they could lack the confidence to move production and mission critical workloads. They typically have employees partially trained in cloud technology.  

The advanced phase
In this phase, the organization has been running workloads on the cloud for a while. The main focus is on optimizing cloud usage to reduce costs, improve performance and better meet organizational goals.

Related content: Read our guide to cloud adoption frameworks

Why Does Cloud Adoption Fail?

Here are some of the main challenges impacting your cloud adoption efforts.

Cloud Security

While security is important both in the cloud and on-premises, each environment requires a different approach. Security challenges often result from a lack of investment in new security tools, personnel, and policies. To manage the security challenges associated with cloud adoption, you need to build a comprehensive strategy to protect your systems and data.

Vendor Lock-In

Companies worry that they will become reliant on a single vendor if they move all their systems to the cloud. Vendor lock-in makes it difficult to leave the cloud when prices increase, or another provider releases a new solution you want to use. Competitive providers continuously cut their cloud computing costs, so you don’t want to be stuck with a less competitive vendor.

Most organizations use multi-cloud solutions to avoid vendor lock-in. They spread their systems across multiple cloud platforms and switch providers when necessary. Interoperability and portability are essential for enabling multi-cloud deployments.

Skill Shortages

Organizations lack the necessary expertise to make the most of cloud technologies. Recruiting new employees or training existing staff to use new systems can be time-consuming and challenging. To help address this problem, many CSPs offer technical support and managed services with automated tools for various management tasks.

Data Sovereignty

Companies are often concerned about data sovereignty regulations in various countries. For example, organizations might avoid transitioning operations or data to the EU to avoid specific regulations about storage of personal data in European countries.

Existing On-Premises Investments

Many organizations have already invested heavily in their on-premises data centers, making them reluctant to abandon them for the cloud. However, maintaining data centers can be costly, so moving to the cloud can help you save in the long term. Cloud adoption typically means replacing a capital expenditure (CapEx) business model with an operational expenditure (OpEx) model.

6 Best Practices for Cloud Adoption Success

Make a Cloud-First Commitment

The cloud-first approach is a commitment to trying the cloud first for new applications or workloads, and only if the cloud is not appropriate, running them on-premises. Cloud-first allows you to maximize usage of cloud benefits, but without insisting on the cloud for workloads that have special requirements.

Related content: Read our guide to cloud first strategy

Understand Cloud Economics

Studies show that a majority of enterprises don’t invest the time needed to establish the business case for transferring data to the cloud, likely because organizations assume the cloud is always beneficial. Create a business case for cloud adoption to gain valuable insight into cloud economics and understand the cost impact of the cloud.

Adopt a Hybrid Cloud Model

It will not be feasible to move all your applications to the cloud. You can use a private MPLS circuit to connect on-premises services to the cloud. This way, some applications can reside on-premises and others can be hosted in the cloud, with full connectivity between them.

The difficulties with hybrid cloud networks include the volume of data transferred through the network and latency issues. Pay attention to data volumes and perform careful mapping of application dependencies and performance requirements.

Related content: Read our guide to hybrid cloud management

Plan for Continuous Compliance

Organizations have multiple controls that regulate the IT environment. Because many resources are hardware-based, IT operational processes and change management are sufficient for compliance. However, the new cloud approach is software-based and highly dynamic, making it almost impossible to control manually.

The consumption-based approach of the cloud demands greater governance. Employing the typical change management model won’t work. Legacy change controls will hinder the process, and will either stop cloud innovation, or will be largely ineffective.

What is needed is continuous compliance. Continuous compliance is software that regularly examines your environment and manages the usage and consumption of services in your cloud. The controls are applied via “software signatures” that check for specific compliance and governance requirements.

Use Infrastructure as Code

Cloud automation is a central tenet of cloud implementation. Infrastructure as code (IaC) is the guiding principle. At the center of cloud adoption is infrastructure automation for all applications. The aim is to have all applications deployed and implemented via code. This makes it possible to deploy applications consistently and repeatedly across cloud environments.

Cloud Data Migration with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP capacity can scale into the petabytes, and it supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP assists with lift and shift cloud migration. NetApp’s data replication tools SnapMirror® and Cloud Sync service will get your data to the cloud.

Download our free eBook The NetApp Guide to Migrating Enterprise Workloads to the Cloud to learn more.

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps with lift and shift cloud migration.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager