Moving to the Cloud – Challenges and Guidance

According to a survey by BetterCloud, 62% of included organizations will run 100% of their IT in the cloud by 2020, up from 12% today.  Services like Google Apps and Office 365 provide lighter, more nimble replacements for failure-prone on-premise infrastructure while facilitating a more mobile workforce.

This trend also extends to servers, databases, CRM platforms, and proprietary production tools. Netflix, for example, is becoming one of the first major companies to host all of their IT services remotely in the public cloud. In a Wall Street Journal article, Netflix states “For our streaming business, we have been 100% cloud-based for customer facing systems for some time now, and are planning to completely retire our data centers later this summer.”

Insurance and mutual fund provider The Hartford has also begun a transition to a private cloud infrastructure, partnering with IBM to outsource mainframe, storage, and backup services. In a press release, Andy Napoli, president of Consumer Markets and Enterprise Business Services at The Hartford stated that this partnership “will help The Hartford implement a strategic technology infrastructure that will provide us with greater agility and offer us more flexibility and transparency as we continue to grow our businesses.”

Planning the Move

These transitions doesn’t happen overnight, however. The Hartford migration plan has a 6-year span, and Netflix began to transition their streaming services to Amazon in 2008. This process requires critical decisions related to the security, storage, and virtualization of software, proprietary information, and data. As a result, many companies begin the move to a cloud-based ecosystem in phases, utilizing a hybrid approach. According to research by Accenture, nearly 75% of large enterprises are planning to have hybrid deployments by 2015. Creating a cohesive and integrated environment between cloud based services and on-premise systems is a challenge in itself, but the investment is worthwhile. Cloud based solutions can offer vast scalability, reduced cost of entry, outsourced resource management, and easier access to systems.


Without proper planning and foresight, implementation of cloud and hybrid cloud services can be problematic. A study by Microsoft and Accenture consulting venture Avanade found that more than half of study respondents did not have a [hybrid cloud implementation] strategy in place, and among those that do, 74% lacked defined steps for deploying cloud-native applications. Another 64% did not have proper guidelines for application migration, while 63% lacked a cloud management platform.*

Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) provides an example of how difficult this migration can prove to be. In a session at Interop called “Preparing Your Application for Its Journey to the Cloud: Lessons Learned from the Application Battlefield”, Ken Griffin, director of IT services and operations for HBP, stated “We made a conscious decision to reinvent our business. But the impact of that decision did nothing less than burst IT at the seams. It blew us out of the water.” The IT department was basically going to have to double its workload, maintain the current environment, build out the new infrastructure, learn the skills required to do all of that, migrate all the applications and then decommission the old environment — just after they had gotten through a bad time with a hardware upgrade, he said. The result? A “completely new digital organization.”

Unforeseen Issues

As Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) adoption rates increase, there is one issue that is not widely publicized: data loss. Providers of these services do provide robust data protection through geographically dispersed datacenters and redundant backups, covering the common causes of application downtime – power loss, natural disasters, and application failures. From a report from the Aberdeen Group, SaaS Data Loss: The Problem You Didn’t Know You Had:

While 68% of SaaS-users reported that they have never lost any of their data from an application, a full third (32%) reported that they had. Figure 4 shows the causes of the data loss. This portion of the chart will not total to 100% as those that lost data were not allowed to report multiple causes.


Figure 4 - Reasons for SaaS Data Loss

Successful Migration

Aberdeen Group goes on to recommend implementing a service to proactively backup cloud data, noting that some industries require third-party backup protection for compliance purposes. Additionally, as a key factor in every migration strategy must be the security and storage of critical data, finding a data protection partner to lighten the load on your IT staff will go a long way towards ensuring a successful cloud transition.

Armada Cloud partners with organizations moving to SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as a key element in their migration strategies, handling data security and recovery and allowing beleaguered IT teams to focus on the other aspects of their transition to the cloud. Our cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution protects all of your data sources, including Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.

Contact your Armada Cloud representative today and find out how we can bring peace of mind to your cloud migration process.