The Hidden Costs of Cloud Migration

By: Tom NiklJuly 9, 2016

When IT execs are asked about their main reasons for going to the public cloud, a top answer is usually “to reduce costs.” Other common answers are “increase agility” or “simplify operations,” but these are topics for future blog posts. Reducing costs is definitely achievable, but it’s important to understand the potential bumps along the road that can make a big dent in longer term savings. The first bump for many has to do with moving applications to the cloud in the first place: cloud migration.

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), published a study called  “Calculating Cloud ROI: From the Customer Perspective.”  While the report is a bit dated, the majority of the content is still valid and well worth a read. CRN published a follow-up article summarizing some less-obvious costs associated with cloud migration, and these 5 hidden costs are still highly relevant and will be a reference point for this post.

We’ll continue to explore these “hidden costs” with the primary objective of bringing them into the light so IT managers can improve their success rate and satisfaction with cloud projects. We’ll also discuss how Velostrata can help mitigate these costs and make moving applications to the cloud faster, easier and far less risky.

The hidden costs of cloud migration, as identified by ISACA and CRN include:

  • Lock-In Cloud Models May Thwart Open-Standards Adoption
  • Unexpected Expenses for Initial Migration of Systems
  • Bringing Services Back In-House Due to Regulatory Change
  • Implementing Countermeasures to Mitigate Risk
  • Loss of Internal IT Expertise That Provided Competitive Differentiation

Velostrata was founded with the mission to enable cloud workload mobility for enterprise applications – giving organizations the power to move applications easily to – and from – the cloud. As CRN pointed out, migrating applications, especially those with a lot of data, can be challenging. A core capability of Velostrata software is what we call Smart Migration – a faster, easier and more elegant way to migrate applications to public cloud (rather than the old fashioned “Replication-driven” approaches). If you’re interested, check out our Smart Migration use case, but let’s talk now about how Velostrata can reduce the costs associated with migration.

Avoid Cloud Lock-In

One of many concerns IT manager have about cloud is lock-in. The cloud is intentionally sticky, and despite cloud-specific services, tools, and long term contracts, organizations must think of ‘renewal-day’ and prepare accordingly. A huge “hidden cost” is hiding here.

With workload mobility, Velostrata makes it easy to switch cloud providers at any point in time, so you can shop for the best CSP offering, or bring workloads back on premises if desired.

Reducing Migration Expenses

Running workloads in the cloud has obvious costs that most organizations are aware of, like paying for compute instances, cloud services like storage or advanced networking services, the cost of bandwidth, software licenses, etc. But some other costs may not be so clear.

Cloud migration is a project, and to ensure success, companies should make the necessary investment in planning, operations, and management, as well tools that can enable migration. Migration projects typically consist of 3 main segments: each should be considered and will consume resources.

  1. Planning (Strategy, Design)
  2. Migrate (Build cloud, Transition)
  3. Run (Operations, Improvements)

Using Velostrata to handle the migration of workloads and data can significantly reduce unexpected expenses for initial migration. Velostrata’s workload streaming provides the flexibility to run and test any workload in the cloud in minutes while migrating data in the background when you are ready. This inherently simplifies and reduces the time and effort involved with planning, testing and re-testing from weeks to hours, and reduces the actual transition and cut-over time from many hours to a few short minutes.

 Bringing Services Back in House

Migrating workloads to the cloud means giving away some control over infrastructure, and in most cases it’s been a one-way journey. There may be circumstances where you want to bring an application back in house, or move it to another cloud provider.

When planning cloud migration, you should take into account how you will bring workloads back on premises should the need arise. If you have not planned for this in advance, the process may be difficult and pose additional “hidden costs.”  Just as with the initial migration, workloads must be adapted and converted, and the data migrated again. With Velostrata, workload mobility is built in. You can have applications running back on premises with just a click of a button, for any reason you decide.

Mitigating Risk

Organizations rightly put a lot of effort and resources to mitigate various risks – security, backup and DR efforts are common and necessary. When migrating to the cloud, the scope of your data center expands, and your governance and security policies should be revised and expanded accordingly.

Velostrata is designed to support secure cloud operations. When moving compute to the cloud, you can continue using the same backup and disaster recovery tools you use today. Data is encrypted in-flight and at-rest. In addition, Velostrata can keep a synced copy of your cloud workloads on premises so you can revert at any time.

Keeping Internal IT Expertise

Migrating to the cloud is often tied to re-platforming applications, which can mean losing current investments both in systems and in IT expertise. Further, new admin consoles and cloud-based tools require new skill sets.

Velostrata lets you run your workloads as-is in the public cloud, adapting the applications on the fly to run on their cloud target. Because Velostrata integrates with existing systems like vCenter, your IT staff can continue to maximize their leverage of these tools.

To summarize, hidden costs will most likely arise during your cloud migration project. Velostrata is uniquely designed to address these barriers and to enable real cloud workload mobility – giving you far greater agility in the cloud. If you would like to learn more about Velostrata, drop us a line!

Tom Nikl
Tom Nikl
Tom has spent twelve years leading product management and product marketing at technology companies large and small who focus on virtualization and cloud technologies. He currently blogs primarily about cloud migration, with an emphasis on overcoming challenges that companies face getting to the cloud and how to solve them. Prior to enterprise, Tom received a B.S. in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Outside of work he is an unabashed fan of Disney Theme Parks and delicious junk food.