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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.

2. Don't repurpose old hardware

Tom Soderstrom, chief technology officer for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, warned conference attendees not to bring their old hardware into a new private cloud.

"In the beginning, we had a lot of people trying to bring their old hardware and put it into the new private cloud," Soderstrom said. "It just didn't work. It's a different world... Build a reliable system from reliable components. That works."

3. Don't screw up something critical

You know those mission-critical data stores, services and apps? Leave them alone, at least for a while.

Soderstrom said that some IT leaders want to jump into the cloud with their biggest, shiniest app or service. Just don't. Start with something small.

"Go where it's easy," he said. "Move the things that work well to the cloud first. Don't move the sensitive data until you're ready."

Jason Fischl, vice president of engineering at Remind, a company that makes a communication tool for teachers, students and parents, agreed, adding that enterprises would be wise to take the migration at a slow, steady pace.

"It can be tempting to try to do too much, and you have to find ways to do it incrementally, or you won't be able to keep up with your current products," Fischl said.

4. Don't get stuck in analysis paralysis

Stephen Orban, the head of enterprise strategy at AWS and the former CIO and global head of technology at Dow Jones & Co., said he too often sees enterprises get stuck in the planning stages. Mired in spreadsheets, plans and what-ifs, they never get out of the starting gate.

"Don't be afraid to get started," Orban said. "I have seen some people get stuck in analysis paralysis where they're planning and planning and not moving forward."

Start small. Start slowly, but just eventually start.

"If it doesn't work the way you expected, you can spin it down and move on and you've learned from what didn't work," Orban added. "You can get started… and you can learn along the way."

5. Don't neglect a strong network connection

Eric Geiger, vice president of IT operations at Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, said IT leaders need to make sure they have a good network connection.

It's easy to forget and it can make a big difference, he said.

"Connecting to [the cloud] through your VPN is fine, but if you have offices in Chicago and you're connecting with Virginia, that latency can become frustrating," Geiger said. "And that latency can become a little obnoxious. Make sure you pay a lot of attention to that networking component. How you get there is a big part of it."


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