Journey to the cloud: The most common challenges and how to overcome them

Cloud has firmly secured its place on IT professionals’ agenda, with 95% citing it as one of the top five most important IT strategies today, according to the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance. However, migrating a database to the cloud is not a straightforward process. There will be challenges along the way. So, what do today’s IT professionals need to consider before embarking on their journey to the cloud?

Prepare for a new era of work

While cloud has many benefits, it also has greater complexity—and that complexity needs to be managed. IT professionals who have been tasked with devising new and creative methods to monitor and manage this infrastructure not only need to put the right solutions in place, but also need to prepare themselves (and the organisations they work for) for continued advancements. Moving databases to the cloud creates a new era of work—one that is more global, interconnected, and flexible than ever.

Mind the IT skills gap

The same report found that fifty-eight percent of survey respondents said an IT staff skills gap was one of the five biggest challenges they faced, meaning that organisations need to focus on improving and cultivating fundamental skillsets that will carry them into the cloud. This suggests that the skillset needed across IT is becoming increasingly blended, requiring versatile tech professionals that can adapt and flex in accordance with a changing landscape. Once you’ve got the right team in place, it’s crucial to give the migration project the attention it deserves and, by planning meticulously in advance (including a rollback strategy), you’re setting yourself up for success. The project plan must account for the scope of applications and related objects involved—and the number of stakeholders. By engaging the right people in the process, the migration should run more smoothly.

Create a single view  

By looking to their peer communities, IT teams will be able to better understand and adopt various technology adaptations and abstractions like software-defined constructs, containers, microservices, and serverless architecture. Considering the exponential rate of change happening in the industry right now, IT professionals need a management and monitoring toolset that gives a single view across those platforms. They need the ability to consolidate and correlate data to deliver more breadth, depth, and visibility across the data centre, which will allow them to proactively identify issues and resolve problems quickly.

Take your time and prioritise tasks

Many migration projects fail because the team has tried to do too much at once. For example, one team will be focused on the migration, but another starts deploying code changes at the same time. This often ends in disaster, as it’s not possible to rewind any issues with the new code or hardware. It’s vital that the workflow makes sense from the beginning to avoid having to retrofit a new plan of attack later.

Perform validation tests

Once the migration is complete, it’s vital to perform validation tests before handing it over for final testing. These validation checks will vary by industry. For some, they will require weeks of parallel production testing and sign-off on reports matching to the penny. For others, it will be as simple as executing a few queries. The important piece here is that there is agreement and signoff that the migration is complete, and that’s the validation check.

For such a well-trodden path, migrations to the cloud are rarely simple. However, when planned properly, with a little foresight and flex along the way, you’ll reach the destination in as good a state as possible.

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