To better understand how cloud migration leads to unexpected costs, it’s important to first understand what this migration entails and how it differs from the traditional data center. The cloud itself is a collection of computing services accessed through the internet. Instead of hosting all of your company’s computing needs on-premise, the cloud provides access to a wide variety of tools and resources in a way that enables easy scaling and flexibility. This is great for speed and innovation, but has completely changed the roles finance and procurement play. The checks and balances with traditional capital expenses often don’t exist with cloud services, as it impacts the benefits of cloud.
Cloud migration is the process of moving your company’s data, workloads, IT resources, and applications from an on-premise environment to the cloud. Some of the migration strategies include the following:
- Rehosting: This simplest form of migration is a “lift and shift” that moves your current digital assets directly to the cloud unchanged. This may not be possible with all assets as some may require re-architecting for compatibility with the new environment. Keeping everything as-is during the migration can also mean forgoing additional cloud functionality. That said, this method is great for moving straightforward assets that don’t need any alterations.
- Replatforming: This method is essentially rehosting with a boost – some additional rearchitecting is undertaken in order to optimize the assets in the new cloud environment. This can include things like adding scaling and automation or updating infrastructure.
- Refactoring: This method requires rebuilding digital assets from scratch in the cloud and essentially replacing the old assets with new cloud-native ones. While refactoring is labor-intensive, it is very thorough when done by an expert.
Some legacy applications may not be supported in the cloud and need to be replaced during the migration process. Other legacy applications may be eliminated entirely during the process as they are no longer needed. Still, other applications may simply need upgrading for a successful migration. Clearly, migrating to the cloud is not one-size-fits-all.
When faced with this complexity and the speed with which it happens (along with fewer checks and balances as to total cost) organizations often end up with inaccurate forecasting and no simple way to resolve it.