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Cloud Migration Challenges: 5 Ways to Avoid Migration Failure

Cloud Migration Challenges:

5 Ways to Avoid Migration Failure

What are Cloud Migration Challenges?

The use of cloud computing in enterprise applications continues to grow. Enterprises are adopting a multi-cloud strategy to place more workloads on the public cloud, reduce costs, increase agility, and increase flexibility.

However, not all cloud deployments offer these benefits. Many organizations face failed cloud migration projects, because simply migrating applications to the cloud does not guarantee benefits over on-premises deployment. In many cases organizations have repatriated workloads back to their on-premise data center. This article covers key challenges that plague cloud migration projects and relevant solutions.

In this article, you will learn:

Cloud Migration Failures: The Strategic Aspect

A study published by Unisys found that a third of cloud migrations failed because companies did not make the cloud a key part of their business strategy. The report is based on a survey of 1,000 senior IT and business leaders in 13 countries.

According to the report, 37% of cloud migration projects in the US fail. Benefits of cloud migration were dramatically different depending on an organization’s strategic focus:

  • 77% of respondents who used the cloud as part of their core strategy showed at least some improvement as a result of cloud migration

  • Only 23% of respondents who used the cloud as a secondary strategy saw some improvement

This proves that cloud migration success is strongly dependent on cloud migration strategy - an organization changing its business strategy to embrace the cloud.

5 Cloud Migration Challenges and How to Overcome Them

1. Lack of a Defined Strategy and Business Objectives

Successful cloud adoption and implementation requires meticulous end-to-end planning. Some data and applications are more difficult to migrate than others, and the business impact and benefits can also be very different for each workload.

To address this challenge, thoroughly analyze your organization's current infrastructure and decide how to migrate in a way that will cause net benefits across the board. Also take into account assets that are already in the cloud, and may require adjustments or reconfigurations now or in the future. Break the migration strategy into several steps to simplify the migration process, make it easier to understand across the organization, and reduce risk.

2. Security & Privacy

Security is a top priority for any company when migrating data to the cloud. The cloud operates based on a shared responsibility model, and this means cloud users also share the burden of security.

The following list of questions can help clarify what security aspects are covered by the cloud vendors and which should be attended to by the cloud consumer:

  • Where is the data stored?

  • Is the data end-to-end encrypted?

  • What are the safety management policies and procedures?

  • What regulations and standards do you comply with (e.g. HIPAA, PCI/DSS, ISO27001)

  • What are the options for moving data back from the cloud to the on-premises data center?

  • What are the security responsibilities of customers running workloads on your infrastructure?

Advanced tools such as Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) can help you assess vulnerabilities in complex cloud deployments and automatically remediate them.

3. Managing Costs

Cloud migration is often motivated by cost savings. However, when migrating to the cloud, many organizations do not set clear KPIs to understand what they plan to spend or save. This makes it difficult to understand the success of the transition from an economic point of view. In addition, the cloud environment is dynamic and costs can change rapidly as new services are adopted and applications scale.

To address this challenge, before starting your migration, create a clear business case in writing to understand how much you expect to save or increase from the project. Create economic models that simulate how much you expect to spend on the cloud for an entire application, service, or project, compared to anticipated on-premises costs.

All cloud providers offer cost calculators that can help you plan your budget more accurately. You can define complex configurations and get realistic estimates of your cloud costs. However, even with the best planning, reality might surprise you. So it is essential to constantly monitor costs, look for deviations from the original cost model, investigate, and compensate before they turn into a major issue.

4. Cloud Vendor Lock-In

Even if the initial experience with your cloud provider is positive, later in the project roadmap, you may face unexpected challenges, or you may discover a competing provider offers better features or pricing for your workloads. However, if you are locked into the vendor’s technology or terms of service, you might find it difficult to shift.

The process of migrating data from one cloud to another is a lengthy and costly process, so most businesses stick to the cloud vendor they initially selected.

To address this challenge, compare cloud computing service product providers:

  • When planning your implementation strategy, sign a cloud contract that includes your termination plan, and make an internal plan detailing your exit costs

  • Integrate applications with cloud infrastructure using industry standards like JSON, REST APIs, and HTTP, to reduce their reliance on the core cloud platform and make future migration easier.

  • Maximize data portability by avoiding proprietary formats, and clarify the data model using schema standards.

  • Maximize code portability with DevOps tools and processes. In particular, the use of open source Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools will allow you to preserve configurations and deploy them to other clouds in the future.

  • Adopt multicloud friendly technology, which packages workloads in a way that can be deployed consistently to any cloud. A prime example is enterprise Kubernetes.

5. Training Employees on your Cloud Solutions

When introducing a new technology into business operations, it is important to make sure all users and stakeholders are involved. Expect some resistance and different challenges and objections posed by different parts of the organization.

To address this challenge, take the time to familiarize your employees and relevant departments with the proposed cloud solutions. In the long run, you can prevent many problems just by sharing your plans, obtaining feedback and taking it into account in your migration plans.


Cloud migration projects can be tricky. By following the guidelines in this article, we hope you can avoid at least some of the pitfalls that cause projects to fail. Wishing you a successful and fruitful migration to the cloud.

Author Bio: Gilad David Maayan

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.

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