For most enterprises, cloud migration has become inevitable. However, despite improved software tooling and lessons learned from those who have gone before, enterprises still often fail to articulate or achieve their expected ROI from cloud migration.

A report from Cloud Security Alliance suggests that 90% of CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted data migration projects – mostly due to the complexity of moving from on-premises environments to the cloud. Only 25% of those asked in the same study met their deadlines for migrations, with the average project taking 12 months.

A 2019 study from Fortinet found that 74% of companies have moved applications back on-premises from the cloud – repatriating them – after failing to achieve the anticipated returns.

But why do cloud migrations fail?

Lack of planning for both business & operational impacts

Migrating applications to the cloud incorrectly is costly and disruptive, causing issues such as performance degradation, security gaps, work interruptions, as well as a drain on IT and business resources. Some common pitfalls of insufficient planning include:

  • Unforced errors – AKA a lack of understanding and incorrect implementation of best practices. For example not having a full understanding of your application can cause extended downtime or performance degradation when you get to the cloud. Collecting the right information and baselines early in the process will lead to less problems later. 
  • Building the cloud for today, not for the future – While it is important to understand how you will use the cloud today, it is critical to take the future into account and build a plan that anticipates growth or new business models. 
  • Unknown unknowns – Issues with security and governance policies often remain undetected until a problem is exploited, but by then it is too late.  It is always less costly and time-consuming to use professionals to help design, build and review cloud environments than trying to fix mistakes after the fact. 

Inability to generate consensus and buy-in from stakeholders

Migrations often fail due to poor communication and misunderstood goals. It is important to have a clear migration communication strategy to ensure complete alignment up,  down, and across the entire organization.

C-Level Executives – Senior leaders need succinct information about the hows and whys of the migration if they’re not already directly involved. This includes costs, benefits, and expectations that can be passed on – a clear picture of what a successful migration would look like.

Management – While requiring less strategic information than C-Level, managers need detailed information about how this change will affect their departments. They need detailed plans outlining how the migration will improve the services they provide to the business.

End Users – Migrating to the cloud is a significant cultural change. End-users need to know when changes are taking place, who to turn to should issues arise.

Key questions to address are:

  • Why are we moving to the cloud?
  • How does this impact me and how I do my work?
  • What are the benefits to me and the organization?
  • How disruptive is this change going to be?
  • What are the differences between our old system and the new one, and how do I reconcile these?
  • Is my job in jeopardy?

Ensuring that a clear communication plan is in place will align all stakeholders and prevent unnecessary friction.

Inability to execute large migration programs at scale 

For an enterprise migration,  tasks are executed in the same order for every server in your environment. Even small inefficiencies can cause massive delays and send costs skyrocketing.  For instance, if you need to execute 25 tasks to migrate a server and you spend an extra five minutes per task, that would result in an additional two hours per server.  For just a handful of servers that is not significant, but for 100 servers that would cost an additional month’s worth of time for one employee.  For 1000 servers, that five minutes per task would cost 14 months of extra salary.  Efficiency matters.

An inaccurate view of your world

If your organization’s configuration management database (CMDB) is not perfectly up-to-date, you are not alone. Given this reality, most organizations face a long and tedious interview process that is rarely accurate. The less accurate your infrastructure analysis, the more likely you will be to break application connections in the cloud migration process. This means exposing your organization to performance/availability issues and increased security threats.

Workload misalignment

Failing to assess your infrastructure performance profile accurately (i.e., overlooking peak usage demands) means you are likely to select an inappropriate or unworkable cloud configuration. This risks cost inefficiencies and poor performance that may even bring critical business systems to a stop.

Storage misalignment

Storage IOPS and bandwidth are too often overlooked when selecting a cloud configuration. Every type of storage has limitations for these metrics and underestimating your requirements can have a crushing impact on performance. What’s worse, bottlenecks of this type are hard to find and quickly fix before there is an impact on the business.

How do you execute a successful enterprise cloud migration?

Cloud migration is no longer a technical problem, it is a business initiative.

To avoid the pitfalls outlined above and achieve true cloud transformation, enterprises must create and operationalize a comprehensive migration plan that aligns business drivers, generates buy-in across an organization, and manages past incidents.

Your plan will help guide the entire migration process. It designates which applications you will migrate, and how and when to migrate them. Your migration plan should include a migration strategy for each application, defining the amount of change you will make to each application as they are moved to the cloud. The amount of change will determine your migration velocity – in other words –  how rapidly you can move applications through the migration process.

Failure to properly plan can slow down migration, miss dependencies, and cause outages.

Smart cloud migration planning

When it comes to cloud migration, organizations demand speed to value at minimal risk and cost.

At Cloudreach we develop comprehensive migration plans by leveraging our powerful Cloudamize software to map all the dependencies within your environment and create migration waves to ensure a successful migration.

We also use data from hundreds of successful enterprise cloud migrations to develop models that significantly accelerate our ability to develop optimized migration plans.

Leverage our automation and experience to simplify, expedite, and reduce the cost of cloud migration while uncovering opportunities for agile innovation and modernization.

Our combination of cloud expertise and software-enabled automation will accelerate time-to-value of cloud adoption and identify opportunities for your organization to confidently optimize and evolve.  

Are you looking for more information on how Cloudreach can accelerate your cloud migration journey? Our Smart Migration approach combines over a decade of expertise with software-enhanced precision to ensure our customers migrate to the cloud at speed and with confidence. For more information, click here.