I woke up the other day thinking about a customer question – how do we move to the cloud. Its an easy question right? One I answer every day. But it is a question that begs many more questions. In fact it demands some questions.

What are you moving?

The first question of course. The reality is anything can be virtualized. Anything can run in the cloud. That’s a fact. There is no difference in the end between a virtual machine and a physical machine. Now that said there are performance goals that virtual machines will struggle to meet mostly in the area of video performance. But that remains a predominantly VDI issue. The what of your migration is really important.

Depending on the answer to this initial question we have a number of other path’s and questions to ask. This is however the critical question to start with.

“We would like to move our email.”

Or collaboration or, well any of the traditional cloud solutions. Those are easy to plan for. Migrations are painful so you have to have a good partner to lean on, but they aren’t rocket science so we can end up in the right place.

“We would like to move some of our business processes.”

Oh boy, now the questions will flood out of you, right? The first one is what process. And what application platform does it use today. We have to be careful with these as a number of solutions have some interesting quirks.

  • Which of your business process would you like to move
  • Do the process you are moving have user response requirements (SLA’s)
  • Are you in moving to the cloud considering loss or protection insurance and does that come in the migration process or are  you planning on purchasing that separately?
  • How do you operate the solution today?
  • Do you have core or specific operations requirements for this application going forward?
  • What and how is the application written?

There is nothing more painful than dropping the bowling ball on your own foot. So you dive into the concept of processes and how they work today. An assessment of the application or applications that the processes are built with is critical. What and how do the applications interact with the hardware and software they consume. Where are the lags in the application and finally a detailed risk assessment is a critical component going forward.

The last thing to consider as you look at moving a cloud application is the transformation. Taking an application as is to the cloud will mean in the end that the problems you have today, will be the problems you have tomorrow, while creating a new operations paradigm for the overall solution.  More to come on this topic as we talk about transforming your applications.

  • On the fly transformation
  • At the destination transformation
  • Planned pre-migration Transformation


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow