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Planning a Cloud Migration: 4 Expert Tips

planning a cloud migration: photo of a checklist

planning a cloud migration: photo of a checklist



During our recent webinar, Calm the Storm with Cloud Data Management, Stewart Bond, Director, Data Management for IDC Canada, and Paul Lacey, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Matillion, touched on a number of subjects related to data in the cloud, including the 3D’s of data and why the cloud is more important than ever for managing the increasingly distributed, diverse, and dynamic data. For many businesses, migration to the cloud is still the next big step in their cloud data journey. If you’re contemplating a move to the cloud, how do you even start? Cloud data experts Stewart and Paul offered 4 great tips to help in planning a cloud migration.


Tip 1: Know your requirements–including cost


Before you do anything, you need to think carefully about all of your requirements, both functional and non-functional. In recent years, requirements have shifted. Initially, cost savings was the first priority for many businesses going to the cloud. For most teams, the cloud would significantly reduce operational and maintenance costs. And security was something that people thought wouldn’t necessarily get from the cloud. Today, security and high-availability are some of the top benefits companies expect to gain. Companies think a lot about their security, availability, and scalability needs and less about cost. 


But despite the benefits of less maintenance and consumption-based pricing, don’t forget about cost. All of that data-crunching adds up, and companies can still be surprised when they get that bill at the end of the month. To ensure that you don’t have sticker shock, consider carefully what you will be doing in the cloud, how long it will take, and how to use your resources efficiently to keep costs in check. 


Tip 2: Think holistically about your cloud migration


If you’re moving to the cloud, you’re likely starting with a challenge in your own team and thinking of the cloud as a way to solve it. But think bigger. How is a cloud migration going to affect the rest of the organization? The applications they use? Their processes? Their access to data and the things they can do with it? A cloud migration affects more than just the data team, even with tactics on a day-to-day basis. Be sure you think through the implications and the benefits for each part of the enterprise, and you may be able to plan and build in some capabilities that yield immediate results across the business. 


Tip 3: Do your homework


Once you’ve thought about your requirements and how moving to the cloud will affect the whole business, do your homework on cloud platforms.  No one solution fits all: Each one is competing on a different perspective and has its own differentiation. And sometimes, many solutions fit a single enterprise, with many companies getting value out of multiple platforms for different use cases. You want to really understand the position, the vision, and the point of view of different cloud service providers and different cloud data platforms when you think about how you want to construct your architecture. Also, back to Tip 2, consider that multiple teams might have multiple preferences for working in the cloud. There are as many options as there are enterprises, so make sure you architect the solution that’s right for yours. 

Tip 4: Document your decisions


“Document everything” is common advice for most endeavors, but one thing that most people don’t do at the start of a project like a cloud migration is document the decisions they make. Don’t just make decisions and move on. Ask:


  • Why did I have to make that decision?
  • What was the motivation? 
  • What was the justification?
  • What are the implications?


That way, when things change (they will), that documentation can help you remember what you did and enable you to be more agile in adapting to new situations (like a pandemic) and how you are managing and using data. 


Learn more about calming the data storm


In addition to migrating to the cloud, Stewart Bond also discusses more tips for navigating today’s complex data environment with the help of cloud-native technology in his IDC Technology Spotlight, Calm the Storm with Cloud-Native Data Integration. Download it to learn more.


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