Fact: product life cycles are not forever. Any experienced IT manager knows that. No matter how cutting edge that new data storage solution is, regardless of or how much incredible value the sales engineer of the newest HCI platform to hit the market claims you will realize, at some point, there comes a point when it is time to move on.
So, why would the cloud then be any different? At some point, there is a good chance you will change providers. The fact is that there are many reasons why companies choose to change cloud providers.
- The costs structures of the initial provider have changed
- The cloud provider suffered a security incident that affected you
- The cloud vendor has failed to keep pace with the innovation of its competitors
- The needs and priorities of the organization have changed since the initial migration
- Application performance is no longer what was promised
- Reliability and redundancy have become an issue
The only thing constant is change. Change is one of the chief reasons why companies migrate to the cloud in the first place. When you consider the fact that 94 percent of workloads will be in the cloud by 2021, it is a good bet that cloud-to-cloud migrations will become commonplace.
Another chief reason that companies migrate to the cloud is to escape the chains of vendor lock-in when it comes to on-premise hardware. The irony is, however, that cloud lock-in can is just as prevalent. No two network architectures are identically alike. Take the biggest players currently. Azure offers a natural transition for Windows dominant enterprises and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft services such as Power BI. Oracle Gen2 has a stellar reputation when it comes to bare metal applications and security. The Google Cloud Platform has definite advantages when it comes to machine learning and large-scale analytics. Then of course AWS continues its relentless pace of introducing new innovations. Every cloud vendor is composed of some level of proprietary architecture. Needless to say, the task of porting an application from Azure to Google Cloud would require significant rearchitecting.
Because each cloud vendor has its defined strengths, many companies today according to Gartner choose to adapt a multi-cloud strategy in order to take advantage of best-of-breed solutions. . A recent Gartner survey showed that 81 percent of respondents stated a commitment to working with two or more providers.
It Can Be Tough to Find An Exit
Cloud providers have a definite interest to ensure that migrating to them is as effortless as possible. They don’t have an incentive to make it easy to leave. Companies however, want to be able to move out in the same fashion as they migrated in. Even if cloud providers wanted to make leaving easy, it still wouldn’t be. All migrations have challenges. In the same way that your applications once relied on the infrastructure, services and resources of your on-prem datacenter, your cloud-based applications remain dependent on hypervisors, operating systems, virtual technology, management tools and network configurations.
Most organizations don’t expect the migration from the on-premise datacenter to cloud to be easy. Many are surprised to find that cloud-to-cloud migrations are just as taxing however. In a study conducted in 2014 that compared the complexity of cloud-to-cloud migrations to that of on-prem to cloud migrations, 29 percent of IT leaders said it was more difficult while 40 percent admitted to now being sure. Note that the study was in the infancy of cloud computing as things are even more complex today.
Things to Consider
There are a number of factors to bear in mind prior to performing a cloud-to-cloud migrations.
- Consider what the lifespan of the app.If you are not going to utilize it for more than a year, you are better off not migrating it
- Look past promotional pricing. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when pricing the services of each provider
- Read the fine print of your SLA concerning costs for migrating your data out one day
- Understand that every cloud vendor has different CPU architectures and network infrastructures that will affect application performance in terms of CPU performance and latency
- Be prepared to maintain a dual environment for a while. You will need to test your newly migrated applications before putting them into production. Make sure that you fully test you’re the new environment as stringently as you did the initial one and make sure that nothing is deleted from the original vendor until the migration is fully switched over.
Seek Outside Perspective
In the end, it is a challenge to move an application and its inter-dependencies from one location to another regardless of the environment. Moving is a pain. For the same reasons you considered the guidance and expertise of a partner in your initial cloud migration from your on-prem datacenter, you should do the same when making the move between cloud providers. At iQuate, we have helped countless companies make that first migration. However, we can also help in the next one too. If you want to find out if a parallel migration will benefit you or what the challenges and costs are, we encourage you to contact us and speak with one of our SMEs who can advise you. Moving is never fun, but we can sure make it easier.