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7 warnings to heed before a cloud migration

Sharon Gaudin | Oct. 12, 2015
Veterans of cloud deployments offer tips about hardware, legacy systems and staff.

LAS VEGAS -- If a cloud migration is in your company's future, some IT cloud veterans are warning you to avoid the technology pitfalls that could be lurking in the dark.

Migrating to the cloud is becoming more common, especially for sizable enterprises. Certainly, most CIOs and IT managers are aware that they need to size up their security needs and ask about critical points, like reliability and scalability, before taking such a big step.

There are, however, those pesky missteps that are easy to make and that can lead to major headaches if you don't plan around them.

At the annual AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this week, veterans of cloud deployments laid out some warnings for enterprise teams preparing to make such a move. Here are some pitfalls they urged companies to watch out for:

1. Be prepared to deal with old legacy systems

landon williams weather company
Landon Williams, vice president of Infrastructure Architecture and Services at The Weather Company. Credit: Sharon Gaudin/Computerworld

Landon Williams, vice president of Infrastructure Architecture and Services at The Weather Company, the parent company behind The Weather Channel, and Weather Underground. Williams said his company has migrated 80% of its services and apps to the cloud. Now they are facing the really hard part – that last 20%.

So why are those last apps and services going to be so tough? Because they're legacy systems and Williams and his team have to decide whether to rejigger them to work in the cloud or rebuild them all together.

"There are still legacy systems you have that are hard to re-architect or are fundamentally built to not be compliant with what the cloud needs," Williams said. "I want to get off some of these legacy systems or upgrade them because they have architectures built 15 years ago for an [in-house] data center, and it's not built to move to the cloud… The enterprise space still has a hard time with this."

If the apps or services are so outdated that they're either not meeting the company's needs or they would cost more to fix than to start over, then Williams will decide to just rebuild them.

Jeroen Tas, CEO of Informatics Solutions and Services for Philips Healthcare, a division of the Netherlands-based Royal Philips, said it's not worth it to repurpose old apps or services.

jeroen tas philips healthcare
Jeroen Tas, CEO of Informatics Solutions and Services at Philips Healthcare. Credit: Sharon Gaudin/Computerworld

"You have to re-architect," said Tas, who has used cloud computing services to analyze 15 petabytes of patient data. "If you want to leverage the cloud, there's no way you can fix an old legacy service. It's a different architecture. It's built with a different model in mind. In our experience, you can't just tweak it."


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