3 Journeys for Migrating a Data Center to Cloud IaaS 

As organizations turn to infrastructure as a service (Iaas), CIOs will be responsible for handling migration.

In today’s world, it’s possible a CIO will have to make a major decision regarding migrating a data center to Cloud IaaS. So what’s the best approach? You could simply shift everything to the cloud, completely transform the operation or settle somewhere in the middle. It all depends on what long-term value you are looking to gain.

An increasing number of organizations are also using cloud IaaS for Mode 1 reliable IT workloads

Organizations are increasingly turning to infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This includes anything from migrating existing applications to moving entire data centers to cloud IaaS. Gartner estimates through 2017, more than 80% of CIOs will be pressured by business management to evaluate migrating their data centers to cloud IaaS.

IaaS is most frequently used for new workloads in Mode 2 agile IT, but an increasing number of organizations are also using cloud IaaS for Mode 1 reliable IT workloads due to its ability to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

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“Efficiency-driven workload migration demands a different mindset and approach than agility-driven cloud adoption,” says Lydia Leong, vice president and distinguished analyst. “The greatest benefits are derived from cloud-enabled organizational transformation, yet such transformations are highly disruptive and difficult. Moving to cloud IaaS without sufficient transformation may fail to yield the hoped-for benefits, and may actually result in higher costs.”

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When considering migrating data centers to IaaS, organizations must select one of three options. The choice will depend on the end goal of the migration, as well as individual organization needs.

Option No. 1: Lift-and-shift

Lift-and-shift means that workloads are migrated to cloud IaaS in as unchanged a manner as possible, and change is done only when absolutely necessary. IT operations management tools from the existing data center are deployed into the cloud environment largely unmodified. Little or no use is made of cloud-native features. This is a straightforward option, but generally results in little created value. Plus, it can be a more expensive option and does not deliver immediate cost savings.

Option No. 2: Cloud-enabled virtual automation

IT processes are modified in this approach to take advantage of automation and some cloud-native capabilities. The migration process is used to make adjustments to drive greater standardization, automation and a cleanup of existing operations. Workloads are “sanitized” during migration to ensure they are resilient, secure and cost-efficient. This might be a good fit for an organization looking to avoid running its own data center or implement innovative technology more quickly.

Option No. 3: A DevOps transformation

IT and some business processes are transformed, and a cloud-native agile approach is used as much as possible during the migration. Cloud-native, Dev-Ops-oriented tools are used throughout the entire application life cycle, with a strong emphasis on automation and “infrastructure as code.” This approach will renovate the technology core of the company to support Mode 2 and Mode 1 needs. This is the most beneficial option, but a full transformation is difficult, disruptive and complex. It is a good option for enterprises looking to add agility and DevOps across the entire IT organization, and not just to Mode 2.

Gartner clients can learn more about migrating a data center in the full research Three Journeys Define Migrating a Data Center to Cloud Infrastructure as a Service by Lydia Leong

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