Moving to the cloud with Microsoft Azure can bring significant benefits to a business including reducing overall IT costs and improving business resilience but as with any change there are always some challenges.
Having supported multiple organisations in different sectors as they move their applications to the cloud, igroup have encountered many of the common issues and helped our customers overcome those challenges to deliver successful migrations.
One of the most common issues businesses face with a cloud migration is failing to plan properly. The most common assumption is that a move is simple to achieve and is practically plug and play. The reality is that to ensure success it needs to be planned correctly.
During the process of migrating to azure, an initial plan should include:
- Objectives – What do they want to move to the cloud? What are the expected benefits?
- Timescales – Understanding that a move will not be done overnight and ensuring all stakeholders know timescales will ensure support from all levels of the business
- Resource – For many in house teams who manage a move to Azure they fail to plan resources correctly. They don’t consider the need to do their normal tasks and therefore the migration takes much longer than expected.
- Stakeholder Buy-In – once the plan has been created, resources allocated, and a timescale set, all stakeholders should be taken through it to identify any gaps as well as ensure that their expectations are managed effectively
By preparing a plan for the move to Azure, businesses will understand the obstacles and challenges they face.
Lack of understanding of Azure
The business benefits of moving to Azure can be significant but a common issue that many companies experience is lack of knowledge and experience with the solution. This means it fails to meet expectations; doesn’t deliver any benefits; or, in some circumstances, increases rather than reduces costs.
Because of the potential of Azure it is often therefore worthwhile bringing in external expertise to manage any migration. Not only have they managed numerous other migrations but they also have seen the not so common issues that can delay or even stop a deployment.
Within Azure services and components are priced differently and a common issue experienced by many companies following migration are rapid increases in costs and additional charges for unforeseen elements.
Again, this can be overcome in part by correct planning of which virtual machines will be used for which service and how the compute, storage and networking will work. Additionally, the ongoing maintenance of infrastructure can help identify where costs are incurred and mitigate them through management.
Many companies have sensitive data which needs to be protected. Moving to the cloud can often be seen as a significant security risk and as such is often one of the most common issues that slows a move to Azure.
To overcome this issue Microsoft developed their Azure information protection process which follows a five-step process:
- Classify data with security rules
- Label data with classifications
- Protect data according to its labels
- Monitor access and network activity
- Respond to suspicious activity
This allows administrators to control and monitor access effectively and meet compliance standards.
Once a business has migrated to the cloud it needs to be managed. Azure provides a number of management tools but if they are not used or understood this can cause significant future issues for a business.
In-house staff need to be trained to effectively use the admin tools within Azure and if required experts should be brought in to provide day to day management and support. Not only will this ensure that Azure delivers the expected benefits but will also allow the company to plan for the future.
As with any new IT system there will be a number of common issues that have been seen before and can be avoided making any migration run smoothly and deliver maximum benefits to the organisation.
Azure takes time to understand and experience and knowledge are critical to making a move worthwhile. By working with professionals who know about the different components costs can be managed and ensures that Azure meets specific business needs.
If your business has stated migrating to the cloud or is looking to move a specific application or software solution to Azure, talk to one of our UK based experts to find out how we can help make your move successful.