A successful IT strategy begins with the setting of technical and business objectives. So far in 2017, Forrester found 40 percent of 1,000-plus North American and European enterprise infrastructure technology decision-makers are building private clouds, with 33 percent procuring public cloud services and the remainder working to implement some form of cloud technology in the next 12 months. While many enterprises are moving to the cloud, their cloud strategies are still a work in progress and often involves technologies from their on-premise datacenter investments. 60 percent already have a hybrid cloud strategy in place today.

It’s not strategic to rush into a cloud service simply due to price. Evaluate your cloud plans to ensure they align with your actual needs, and the goals set to meet those demands. Understanding the proper steps in cloud deployment will help you keep track of what your enterprise actually requires to create a business plan that aligns with the business infrastructure – today and in the future.

 What are the application requirements for a cloud migration?

As a starting point, investments in infrastructure are something to strongly consider as compute, network architecture, storage and application portfolios all play a role in efficiency and cost implications. If you’re evaluating the benefits of a migration, you should consider current utilization and costs associated with your existing datacenter investments compared to the costs on other public and hosted cloud platforms.

But let’s be honest, on one hand, there’s a significant investment associated with an on-premises server beyond licensing costs, such as power, cooling, physical capacity and human management resources. Organizations will invest, on average, $1.62 million in cloud computing. On the other hand, outsourcing a server’s data and/or functionality to the cloud may lead to abandoning your on-premise investment, unless on-premise servers can be repurposed.

Are my applications cloud ready?

“Cloud will increasingly be the default option for software deployment,” according to Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner1. We know for sure that no matter how good it is, any server hardware eventually becomes obsolete as support agreements and amortization spans beyond the three-to-five-year window. Some organizations deal with this by adopting a hardware life cycle policy — the same could be done for cloud migration — if an organization can integrate a cloud services road map into its IT policy.

In the 2016 Enterprise Cloud Computing Survey conducted by IDG, researchers found that even with so many options to consider, the top business goals driving cloud investments were primarily three-fold: lowering total cost of ownership, replacing on-premise legacy technology and enabling business continuity.

What are the infrastructure considerations?

When it comes to migrating applications, hardware scalability is key when moving application servers to the cloud. Cloud services are ideal for hosting hardware-intensive workloads as they generally offer high (and almost unlimited) scalability. Even when a service provider can scale its offerings to meet even the most demanding workloads, this scalability comes at a price.

As your organization contemplates the risks and benefits of cloud migration, it is important to keep in mind that a cloud migration is not an all-or-nothing proposition. In many cases, it will make sense to immediately move certain services to the cloud while continuing to operate others on premise. However, a full cloud implementation is a very complex and ever-evolving matter. Your needs today and tomorrow will certainly vary, so it’s important to have flexibility to evolve your solution as it becomes more complicated. Consider what your enterprise needs to arrive at a solution today and follow the three rules listed above for a deeper, strategic look into your IT investment for the future.

Questions about how to assess your multi-cloud strategy? Connect with an expert at CenturyLink today.

1 Gartner Press Release, Gartner Says By 2020, a Corporate “No-Cloud” Policy Will Be as Rare as a “No-Internet” Policy Is Today,  June 2016, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3354117

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