“Nuées” series by Laurent Millet

5 Signs You Need Cloud Migration Consulting

At some point in the last decade, you’ve probably had this experience: you buy a brand-new computer. And at first, it’s great: performance is zippy, there’s plenty of storage, the features make your life easier. But after a few years, you notice that some websites load really slowly. Even though you upgrade your OS, startup seems sluggish, or things seem wonky when you’re running a lot of programs at once. And your friends—who just bought the latest model —are talking about all kinds of cool features you’d like to have, but aren’t available on your machine. So you start shopping for a new computer...and the cycle repeats.

Although that’s a standard experience for personal devices with (relatively) low costs, if that’s your company’s approach to your digital infrastructure, you have a problem. Sure, there was a time when on-premises infrastructure was simply the only option, and a time when cloud computing was new enough to be risky for business-critical operations. But in the past several years, the power of the cloud has grown so exponentially that it’s not only unnecessary to keep on-prem systems—it may actually be detrimental to your business.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the biggest players in the cloud-computing field, has over 90 services—and they’re adding new ones at an astonishing pace. Cloud-native development offers a dizzying array of opportunities to maximize performance, reduce costs, and innovate at a rapid pace. The cloud allows you to do more, do it faster, and do it cheaper. Simply put: if you’re interested in innovation and growth, your on-prem infrastructure can’t compete.

All this means that it is not only vital for you to move to the cloud, but that it’s becoming ever more necessary to partner with an expert who can help you make that migration in the right way, at the right time, using the right tools.

Here are five signs that it’s time for your organization to find a partner for your cloud migration.

1. You had a recent failure of your on-prem infrastructure

At Metal Toad, we’ve worked with many clients who first reach out to us after their on-prem system failed—often at significant cost to the organization. One client referred to their failure (sweltering summer day + air conditioning outage = total server meltdown) as “The Incident,” a term that sent chills down the spines of their entire IT department whenever it was mentioned.

The fact is, on-prem infrastructure is vulnerable to the laws of nature (as well as the inevitability of human error and Murphy’s Law). No matter how good your disaster recovery is, an infrastructure failure will cost you. And if you’ve felt the pain of “The Incident,” chances are you’re not only in need of a cloud migration—you may be desperate to get your data to the cloud as fast as possible.

This is where many organizations miss a valuable opportunity (or even set themselves up for future problems) in the name of haste. In order to take advantage of the power of the cloud, you need to create a smart cloud infrastructure and leverage the many tools of cloud computing. A simple “lift and shift” of your data is a recipe for replicating the inefficiencies, risks, and problems that have built up over time in your existing systems. Expert consulting allows you to shift your mindset from solving a pain point to embracing a chance to optimize--and avoiding “The Incident” in the future.

2. Your infrastructure costs aren’t delivering the performance you need

Buying hardware is similar to buying a new car: as soon as you drive it off the lot, the value starts to depreciate. When you buy on-prem infrastructure, you’re stuck with the level of performance available at that time for as long as you run that machinery—which means you’re missing out on the rapid pace of hardware improvements. One year after you invest in new hardware, your performance will be lower than that of a competitor who just bought the latest machine. The only way to continually improve on-prem infrastructure is to continually invest in new hardware.

The best way to break that cycle is to transition to the cloud. Cloud services providers are constantly innovating and improving performance—and you get the benefit of those improvements without additional capital investments. Cloud migration consulting can help you make the move in a way that optimizes the current cloud capabilities, as well as leverages ongoing improvements to cloud platforms.

3. You’ve experienced failures with load balancing and meeting the needs of your traffic

Have your servers been overtaxed with traffic spikes that you didn’t anticipate? Have your properties experienced slowing or even outages because your infrastructure didn’t have the capacity to handle demand? With on-prem infrastructure, these problems are inevitable. And if you keep that hardware onsite, the only solution is to add more hardware—and commit to the costs of keeping it running constantly, even when traffic dips.

Even if you’re already using cloud services, you might find yourself in this scenario—which is a sure sign that your cloud infrastructure isn’t built or managed to meet your needs. Cloud consulting services give you the advantage of building a cloud-based ecosystem with the elasticity and scalability you need to handle your traffic demands automatically and flawlessly, with much lower cost than running always-on servers.

4. Your internal stakeholders view IT as a cost center, not a strategic partner

If your IT department’s primary focus is maintaining your hardware, chances are that the budget needs are constantly increasing—as infrastructure needs maintenance and upgrading—without an increase in your digital assets’ performance. This paradigm leads to IT being treated as simply a source of overhead, instead of as the strategic partner it ought to be.

If your organization sees IT as a cost center, you’re missing out on a huge amount of business value. When you transition to cloud-based infrastructure, you free up your IT leaders to collaborate on strategic decisions and tap into the real power of digital transformation. Get off the hamster wheel of always-increasing capital costs and let your IT department deliver on the promise of the cloud through mature DevOps practices that fuel increasing performance.

5. Your annual IT costs are going up while your budget remains the same

No one wants to increase budget for things that don’t seem to deliver increasing value—but that’s par for the course with on-prem infrastructure. Ongoing capital investments and increasing salaries are necessary just to keep the lights on; IT departments often have to cut corners and put off activities that could drive more business value because their limited budgets are barely enough to cover hardware maintenance and load-bearing upgrades.

The other thing you sacrifice with on-prem systems is flexibility. Most companies amortize capital expenditures—but doing so means you’re stuck with that budget for the length of the amortization. As the landscape shifts, your budget priorities are lodged in the past, without the necessary flexibility to shift resources to keep up. If you find that your organization consistently hesitates to increase the IT budget in the face of rising costs, it’s a sure sign that a cloud transformation is due.
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There’s a good chance you’ve already been thinking about how a cloud transformation—whether just launching away from on-prem infrastructure or optimizing and expanding your existing cloud use—might add value for your business. And if any of the five signs above sound familiar, it’s time to make the move. At Metal Toad, we’ve helped leading enterprises make the shift from on-prem infrastructure and realize the promise of scalability and performance offered by the cloud. And those clients rely on us for ongoing strategic partnership that continually optimizes their operations with the latest cloud innovations.

 

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About the Author

Victoria Blake, Vice President of Product

 

Victoria is a product manager who developed her product practice in the crucible of startups. Because of this, she understands technology within the context of the whole business organization, from sales to client services to customer support. She specializes in investigating users' core needs, digging into the competitive landscape and business case, and prioritizing features that deliver real value. Victoria is a true believer in Agile. She uses all the tools in a product manager’s toolkit--including A/B testing, continuous improvement, phased and MVP releases, user testing, and data-driven decision making--to build products that solve real needs. She takes pride in good work, believes in the power of teams, is fluent in Nerd, and has a burning desire to get things done. 

When she is not drinking Kombucha from the tap at Metal Toad, she is spending time with her family, attempting to get to the gym, and trying to get to sleep by 10 p.m. after watching an episode of Battlestar Gallactica. 

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