Cloud Migration Team: Why Build It and Who to Include

With the global shift to remote work, cloud migration has turned from a distant prospect to the indisputable reality for most businesses. According to Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report, 59% of organizations plan to focus on cloud migration. At the same time, Cloud Guru survey (2020) shows that more than 80% of cloud leaders point out lack of internal talent as a top barrier to cloud success. Not only do these numbers indicate the growing need for strong cloud migration teams, but also make it absolutely clear that cloud adoption gets nowhere without the people who execute it.

We’ve already discussed the benefits of cloud migration, highlighted the hidden costs it might entail, and deep dived into the cloud models to help you choose the right one for your business. Now it’s high time to talk about the importance of having dedicated cloud experts who will bring your cloud-related ambitions to life.

Why do you need an experienced cloud migration team?

  • Saving money, time, and tons of headaches

You take your car to the service when your transmission is blown, and hire a construction team to build a house for a reason – you believe that experts know best. It’s nice to apply the same principle to cloud migration, as there are many nuances your in-house team might be unaware of. For example, do you know what size of the Virtual Machine (VM) is optimal for your workload? Selecting the VM which is more powerful than you actually need is fraught with unnecessary expenses. It’ll turn out that you’ll spend a fortune and believe that the cloud is “too expensive,” when the trick is that you just need to approach it wisely.

Cloud migration

The biggest misconception regarding cloud migration is to think that it’s a piece of cake, whereas it’s definitely not for people with no relevant experience. We’ve recently had a client who reached out to us to figure out what was wrong with their cloud expenses. It turned out that they’d been testing Azure Databricks and had written a test script to see how the platform worked and what data could be analyzed. But to make the script work, it was necessary to create a Databricks cluster, which implied using Virtual Machines. However, the user can’t have known that, because those VMs were configured in Databricks interface not Azure itself. Eventually, without realizing it, our customer created an auto-scaling cluster that made them blow 50% of their total cloud costs and, on top of that, wasn’t even used for production needs.

– Petr Spirichkin, Cloud Engineer at *instinctools

Those, who aren’t experienced in cloud computing, will barely pay due attention to Service Level Agreements (SLA), however, they really should. SLA is the document where both the client and the provider agree to the terms and conditions for provisioning and consuming the cloud service. It defines the level of services to be delivered by the provider and compensation in case the specifications are not met. Although to the untrained eye, cloud services might seem quite forthright, with little variations, there are always areas to customize and details to negotiate, such as data retention, or pricing and compensation.

Cloud migration

For 61% of companies, optimizing cloud spend is the top initiative for the year ahead (Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report). Meanwhile, 30% of users admit to wasted cloud spend. Indeed, cloud provider pricing structure might seem confusing and difficult to decode, but careful examination of the discounts can uncover opportunities to reduce costs.

discount types
  • Ensuring security

If losing the chance to decipher cost reduction opportunities is unpleasant, yet bearable, dealing with security issues is another story. Cloud migration means shifting to a completely new operational model, so it’s natural that not only does the approach to security needs to change but the expertise itself has to be different as well.

Ensuring your organization’s cloud security becomes only possible if your team knows how API and CLI tools work, understands the principles of cloud identity and container security, and, in general, has a clear, undistorted vision of your cloud state.

You might not know about replication, failover, and a recovery plan and think everything is ok until it’s not and the data center goes down. Datacenter outages result in downtimes, financial costs, and, sometimes, even data loss. As frightening as it sounds, this issue can be tackled by replicating your Virtual Machine to a different region. For example, Microsoft offers a built-in recovery service – Azure Site Recovery, that helps ensure business continuity by keeping business apps and workloads running during outages.

– Petr Spirichkin, Cloud Engineer at *instinctools
  • Staying on track

It’s easy to get off track if the route is not mapped out. The same goes with cloud migration – without a careful plan, there’s a high probability to get caught up in the maze of a completely new operational model. That’s why a well-defined cloud migration strategy is a must. It outlines all the key stages of the cloud adoption process and addresses the risks that may occur on the way. Developing a solid plan is not that simple at all and you are unlikely to do it without the help of experienced specialists, as there’s no universal solution – one common method cannot be used to move all your IT assets to the cloud. A coherent strategy aims to answer the questions of what, how, and in what order has to migrate.

  • Preventing delays in business

Keeping a relentless eye on your cloud migration project is great unless it’s to the detriment of your company, that still has to be run. Losing focus on your direct responsibilities may end up with some serious delays in business. Turning to a cloud migration consultant, you buy yourself time to concentrate on what matters most and eliminate the risk of dealing with migration issues on your own. 

What is a cloud migration team structure?

cloud migration team

The structure of the team varies according to many factors, like cloud migration approaches, which, in their turn, depend on the size of the company and the data you want to migrate. So let’s put it this way – if you just want to give it a try and shift a couple of applications to the cloud, hiring a whole squad isn’t necessary – one cloud engineer will probably be enough. On the other hand, shifting the entire workload to the cloud requires a solid team of experienced specialists.

Aside from the people on your end responsible for major decision-making, here are the experts that will pull your cloud adoption off.

Cloud architect

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a cloud architect plays a vital part in cloud success. It’s the person responsible for designing and building environments in the cloud. Someone, who not only has in-depth knowledge of cloud technology but can also look at the project from above to see a full picture of it. 

What does a cloud architect do:

  • Develops a cloud strategy
  • Develops and coordinates cloud architecture
  • Evaluates cloud infrastructure costs
  • Designs cloud infrastructure
  • Supervises security in terms of privacy and incident response planning

Being aware of the options and limitations of cloud services, a cloud architect will help you to dodge ‘gotcha’ moments during your migration journey.

Cloud engineer

A Cloud engineer is a universal soldier who performs technical duties related to cloud computing. 

What does a cloud engineer do:

  • modifies and improves existing systems
  • develops and maintains software to run on virtual systems
  • manages software and hardware connected with the use of cloud-based services
  • investigates, creates, and recommend technologies that will provide security for cloud-based digital platforms

Smaller businesses are likely to get by with a cloud engineer as a generalist, whereas larger organizations need specialists with more specific expertise. Accordingly, the role of a cloud engineer can be broken down into several positions with their own responsibilities each: cloud software engineers, cloud systems engineers, cloud network engineers, and cloud security engineers. 

Project manager

There are plenty of possible snags that can prevent you from staying on time and on budget during your cloud migration project. Dealing with obstacles and keeping the team to milestones and timelines is the project manager’s job.

What does a project manager do:

  • creates a cloud migration project plan
  • delivers cloud migration within scope, schedule, and budget
  • manages the process of translating IT strategic goals, roadmaps, and business requirements into future state architectures
  • identifies roadblocks to migrating and offers solutions
  • ensures alignment across teams

Should I migrate to the cloud with my team?

If you are a lucky devil with a proficient, committed team of the experts above – go ahead! But if you lack cloud specialists or doubt their skills you’d better either table your migration plans or hire a cloud migration consultant.

Sticking to the DIY concept during cloud migration can lead to tons of wasted time at best. While at worst…Wait, let’s not even go there.

Not having a team with a decent plan results in stumbling over many problems companies don’t initially expect to face. That being the case, there’s a long shot to get everything done properly on the first try.

However, cloud migration is fast, safe, and cost-effective for those who have the right team with the right skills. 

Looking for highly qualified professionals to support your cloud initiatives?

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