For large and small businesses alike, the prospect of moving operations to the cloud is daunting. While the scalability, flexibility, and financial advantages are clearly appealing, a review of your numerous systems and dependencies may lead you to think that the difficulties of migrating your applications to the cloud outweigh the benefits.

It will take significant effort, there is no doubt about it. But many of the migration issues that concern businesses can be resolved during the planning phase, and you most likely won’t need to endure a significant disruption of business operations in order to complete the process. Here are just a few reasons why your cloud migration may be closer than you think:

1) You don’t have to do it all at once

You can gradually migrate over a long period of time, setting up infrastructure and standalone applications that don’t rely on other systems as much. Start with easy targets such as collaborative tools and application testing, which are simpler and carry lower risk. You don’t have to worry as much about major compatibility or performance issues, and maintenance is relatively easy.

A secondary benefit of moving these initial applications to the cloud is that you will familiarize your team with working in this new environment.

2) You don’t have to move everything

While public cloud infrastructure provides a host of benefits, the truth is that not every application is right for it. Legacy applications, applications dealing with sensitive data, or volatile business-critical applications can remain on your internal servers.

In cases like this, your business could still benefit from a private or hybrid cloud, giving you the best of both worlds: complete control of your critical applications and their dependencies, with the ease and flexibility of cloud for everything else.

3) Increasing virtualization makes for a smoother transition

As more and more businesses turn to virtualization as a means of maximizing computing efficiency, they are also setting themselves up for an easier transition to the cloud. Virtualization takes the first step of separating servers from the underlying hardware, so when the time comes to move to the cloud, the process is that much easier.

Cloud hosting services and virtualization providers have taken note of the increase, and are beginning to offer services that let companies move resources between public and private cloud without the hassle. Microsoft provides integration options to connect its Azure platform with its virtualization service Hyper-V, and Amazon Web Services recently partnered with VMware to offer its own solution to the hybrid cloud market.

4) You don’t have to rearchitect all your code

When migrating to the cloud, you may look over your list of applications and panic a bit at the thought of having to refactor them all in order to work on the cloud. But most can simply be rehosted on cloud platforms with some configuration, and no change to their overall architecture.

This option does not take as much advantage of the benefits of cloud hosting as rebuilt applications do, but it’s a good start to the transition, and can set you up to refactor once you have the time and resources to do so. If you’re planning to move to the cloud sometime in the future, rehosting prevents you from investing in even more hardware that will eventually go unused. It is also useful for new standalone applications, or temporary workloads that won’t need hosting forever.

5) There are many service providers who have specialties in cloud migration and can help you throughout the process

While many aspects of the cloud migration process are manageable, the truth is that not all parts of the process are so easy. Fortunately, many managed service providers specialize in helping businesses handle the more laborious or complicated parts of the process, to make sure that all of your applications are up and running smoothly in their cloud environment.

The process is much easier with the help of people who have years of experience, who are familiar with the major platforms, and who can help you make the most cost-effective decisions for your cloud strategy.

Don’t Let Uncertainty Hold You Back

For most businesses, the decision has changed from if the cloud is right, to when they’re going to make the change. The benefits of this platform are too many and too powerful to ignore, and every business needs to have a cloud strategy mapped out.

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