The Big Decision
Decisions have been made; the only way to go is up! Your systems are moving to the cloud. Now it’s time to consider your options, your business needs, and how well each option fits those needs. It’s time to chart the right course for your enterprise to the cloud.
What Are Your Options?
The chances are good you’ve heard about Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud Services. But did you know that IBM, Oracle, Verizon, Dropbox, and Alibaba also provide cloud services? The list of cloud service providers is much longer than that. Any one of them could potentially provide the service you need, but some of them will be better suited to your needs, budget, and requirements than others.
Here are some things to consider as your prepare to move your systems to the cloud.
Will Your Existing Software Work Well in the Cloud Environment?
Changes are to be expected any time you make a major infrastructure change. At the very least, you may have to make minor updates. Nearly any system can be made to function in the cloud, but if the underlying design isn’t set up to take advantage of cloud efficiencies, you may find your system running up unexpected costs. This risk is greater when cloud technology is a part of your legacy modernization strategy.
If this is the case with your system, you may also find it’s cost effective to replace part of the software with existing cloud-based services. Major cloud providers offer 90 or more different specialized services that can be incorporated with relative ease.
It’s also possible to implement a hybrid cloud strategy. You can keep parts of the system on premises while you work on optimizing them for the cloud environment. That way you can leverage cloud technology now where it makes sense, and avoid unnecessary costs where it doesn’t. There are many tools to assist with systems integration between on premise and cloud technology.
Are There Licensing Limitations To Your Software?
Once you’ve determined that your organization’s software will work in the cloud, you must consider whether the licenses you hold will allow you to use it in a cloud environment. In some cases, you’ll be fine; or you may have to pay additional fees, or the billing structure may change completely. Or, one of the cloud providers may offer the software you need as a service (SaaS), and you can take care of the licenses that way.
What about Sensitive Data?
If you work for an entity that handles sensitive information of any kind, there will be strict rules governing where your data can legally be stored so security restrictions will be a critical component of your decision. And there’s another thing to consider. Once you entrust your data to a cloud service provider, will your data become contractually bound to that provider in any way? How easy will it be to change cloud providers and migrate your data?
Is Your Team Trained and Ready for the Cloud Environment?
Moving to the cloud may be straightforward for your operation. After all, you’ve been supporting these applications for years; it’s just a new set of servers. It may seem that simple, but often it is not. There’s a new layer of management and configuration tools, and a myriad of available server options and configurations. The ease of use of these tools, available documentation, and the associated learning curve are all important things to evaluate when choosing a cloud provider.
Where Will Your Systems and Data Reside?
Once your systems are in the cloud, they can be replicated all over the world. And high-speed, worldwide availability may be exactly what your business requires. But maybe that level of cloud service is expensive overkill for your organization. To maximize your return on investment, consider the resources and physical files your system relies on and and serves up to users. How often are these items used, and from what locations are they accessed? How you answer these questions will determine the optimal geographic region(s) and method of storage. You may find your costs are higher than expected if your team is not versed in navigating available services and fine tuning your cloud environment settings.
How Will You Monitor Cloud Services Usage?
Evaluating your usage of cloud services isn’t something you do just once or twice; usage costs must be continuously monitored. Some cloud services have a trial period, or other temporary discounts that you might not realize are temporary. Other services are offered in tiers, where the price you pay for usage is billed at a higher rate once you cross a certain threshold. Will you have access to tools not tied to cloud provider to audit the services your business is using? And, if applicable to your agreement with your cloud provider, are you being properly compensated for service outage? Have cloud services that are no longer needed, like test and demo systems, been properly disabled?
Once you have migrated your systems to the cloud, you will need to allocate resources to monitor the health and activity of your cloud environment. The sooner you can involve resources in monitoring cloud service usage, the better off your business will be in the long run.
Let Dumas Software Help with Options
There is a lot consider, and hopefully we’ve been able to help you identify some important elements as you analyze your options. Dumas Software Services has the knowledge, experience, and skills to help you navigate the highway in the sky. With a proven track record in mainframe migration, legacy modernization and systems integration between platforms, we’re ready to help. Please contact us today or give us a call at 770-753-9623.