5 ways to accelerate your move to the cloud

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Muhammad Khan & Anh Thieu

November 24, 2021

We are in Las Vegas on Monday for the 10th AWS re:Invent conference. What started as 6,000 technophiles discovering a handful of AWS services turned into a 60,000-person conference in 2019 showcasing the massive AWS ecosystem. Today, AWS drives over $45 billion in revenue and is perhaps the most profitable part of the Amazon business.

Cloud continues to grow

And it’s not stopping anytime soon. In 2022, global cloud revenue is estimated to total $474 billion, up from $408 billion in 2021. Over the next few years, Gartner analysts estimate cloud revenue will surpass non-cloud revenue for relevant enterprise IT markets.

In the past two years, we’ve seen foundational changes to the way we work and live. From supply chains to work collaboration, the power of the cloud enabled the set up of business models in days. In the early days of the pandemic, Amazon president and CEO Andy Jassy said that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption by several years and the rate of growth at AWS continues to accelerate at a phenomenal rate.”

As we emerge from the pandemic into a “new normal”, the speed at which we will move forward will continue to be in weeks, not months. The cloud has transformed connectivity between people and businesses and has set a new level of customer expectations. Without the cloud, would we even have COVID-19 vaccines? AWS has been Moderna's trusted cloud partner since 2017 and is instrumental in reducing the time and cost of bringing new life-saving therapies to market. Moderna leverages on-demand computing and machine learning to accelerate medicine development, with real-time analytics driving its cloud-native manufacturing facility.

But it’s not all roses!

In 2017, Dropbox detailed in its S-1 a whopping $75M in cumulative savings over two years prior to its IPO which was achieved by optimizing its infrastructure. According to a16z, an estimated $100B of market value is lost due to the cloud’s impact on margins across 50 of the top public software companies.

Customers that are moving to the cloud need predictable costs and timelines. Often, they do not have the skills, tools, and mechanisms needed to migrate and optimize cloud activities to achieve business outcomes. And when they do, they can fall short due to the magnitude of the task, which requires coordinating people and automation at scale.

How do you make cloud migration faster, then? There are five key points to consider:

1. Strategic planning

You will need a clear migration strategy, ensuring that your migration business case is strong enough to maintain continuity in the company. Failing to do so can trap you in a cycle of continuous start-and-stop situations. With a robust and long-term strategy, you can unlock the full potential of the cloud which lets you add more power, but short-term planning like a lift and shift strategy for your entire application portfolio can result in surprisingly large bills. Executive buy in and clear communication of your plan are key at this stage.

2. Modular migration

Attempting to migrate at a large scale in one go can create substantial migration stalls. As migration timelines get longer, business benefits get delayed, resulting in the business losing commitment. There is also the risk of getting stuck attempting to break inflexible monolithic applications into microservices. It may take several months to break all components in offline mode, to then bring it all online at the same time. The risks are high with this approach. A better way, to reduce this risk, is to gradually chip away parts of the monolithic application in a modular approach onto cloud-native architecture. 

3. Avoid serialized execution

Several interdependent activities can slow down teams in a migration process. With serialized execution, if one step fails, the migration is paused and unable to move until dependencies are resolved. This approach is a result of viewing migration in a serial order, starting with building automation and ending with the application architecture. To avoid this, organizations need to deliver business value quickly by refactoring existing infrastructure, architecture, and portfolio in smaller increments.

The biggest challenge for companies is orchestrating the migration, with 60% of companies moving to the cloud encountering these six common mistakes resulting in higher costs. As an AWS partner, Cutover can help you address these challenges by orchestrating teams, tools, and processes to deliver a 58% faster migration by providing real-time observability and the capability to visualize your plan and easily see dependencies and blockages. 

4. Reconcile divergent goals

Teams within a business can look at migration in different ways. With a project of this scope, the expectation is to address major problems and achieve measurable success. However, these two key components usually vary across departments, pulling the company in different directions. For one team, automating processes to drive potential efficiencies may be important compared to another that thinks application architecture is the antidote. Taking a note from Amazon’s leadership, teams can adopt the disagree and commit principle. Having a convergent goal is necessary to produce results, establish business priorities in decision making, and develop the path of least resistance.

5. Plan for a rollback

You have successfully completed migration testing and now are confident with the actual migration. But do you have a detailed rollback plan for when things go wrong? When planning a migration, it’s important to ask the question “how will we get this back online if the migration fails?” Having a phased approach means you reduce the blast radius during a failed migration. Only dealing with a handful of systems at a time means fewer things to undo.

Where to go from here?

Moving to the cloud creates three key benefits. It vastly improves reliability with an infrastructure that is resilient and scalable. Secondly, it adopts the most stringent security through encryption, implementation of best practices, and the elimination of an entire class of security risk that comes with managing your own data centers. Lastly, it increases application performance and speed.

We are in an era of zero downtime. Running your business as usual in the face of growing cyber threats, global-scale incidents, and unexpected events is what customers expect these days. With all these things and more to consider when migrating to the cloud, spreadsheets and traditional project management tooling aren’t going to be sufficient. Having the ability to provide real-time updates to the leadership team is critical to enabling key executives to understand progress, help remove roadblocks, and ease the move towards the goals of innovation, speed, and cost reduction. Improving visibility and coordination across your organization will greatly reduce friction in your cloud migration process. To learn more, you can download our white paper on seamlessly migrating to the cloud or find out how Cutover is used by major organizations to manage every step of their cloud migration

We can’t wait to see the next phase of cloud computing, which is why we are so excited for this year's AWS re:Invent. Whether you’re attending in-person or virtually, we’d love for you to drop by the Cutover booth and talk cloud migration with us. Plus, don’t miss our CTO Kieran Gutteridge’s talk “This is my architecture” on the AWS twitch stage at the Sands Expo center on Wednesday 1st of December at 12 pm PST.

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