Sep 20 2018

How Colleges Can Overcome Top Cloud Migration Challenges

Higher education IT teams can use communication and roadmaps to limit the frustrations of transitioning to the cloud.

Cloud migration is a hot topic in the higher education sphere as universities update their networks to meet their need for flexibility and speed. While institutions want to use cloud technology, university IT teams may be having some issues with turning that desire into reality. 

For its 11th Annual State of the Network Study, VIAVI Solutions, a network testing, measurement and assurance company based in San Jose, Calif., interviewed 600 IT professionals on the current state of network and cloud migration. More than 80 percent of respondents reported multiple challenges with transitioning to the cloud, the first and foremost being deployment complexity.

With cloud computing in the education sector expected to grow by 26 percent by 2021, IT teams will need to know how to circumvent migration issues as demand for cloud integration develops.

MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how universities can shore up their cloud security!

Keep Faculty Up to Date Throughout the Process

It’s important for IT teams to keep staff in the loop on migration details in order for them to understand how to approach issues in the network when they arise.

Among those surveyed by VIAVI, 65 percent said they spend much of their time troubleshooting cloud issues, even though many of them were not involved in the initial migration to the cloud. And, having been excluded from the cloud setup, 52 percent of respondents said they can’t tell where cloud issues are coming from when they arise. 

Because cloud migration is so complex, IT leaders need to cultivate the support of their staff, says Tom Nikl, product manager at cloud workload mobility company Velostrata. 

“Even the most amazing IT leader will need help during a cloud migration project,” Nikl writes in the Velostrata blog. “One way or another, you’ll likely need assistance from those who manage the application(s), the network, the security, the budget, and more. Because a cloud migration project is a ‘team sport,’ it’s important to loop these folks in as soon as you can. The more they know — and the earlier they know it — the better off you and the migration project will be.”

Best Practices for Successful Cloud Migration

Developing a roadmap for cloud migration can be challenging, but it can be manageable if IT teams cover their bases during the setup. By following best practices, problems with visibility and reliability can be minimized. Mark Teson, a technical architect for CDW’s cloud practice, advises teams to take these steps during a migration:

  • Set up sandboxes: The migration is a singular process, but part of the effort for knowledge transfer involves getting coworkers comfortable with the cloud environment. Setting up a play area where they can experiment without impacting the migration planning and strategy is important for team cohesiveness and comfort.
  • Organize a cloud strategy team: Identify which coworkers are essential to the migration.
  • Define goals: Understanding migration goals helps with the architecture of the migration.
  • Map out governance, especially for data: How governance will work in the cloud — and, most important, how data will be managed and protected — is key to a successful migration.
  • Understand financial impacts: Be aware of the cost of migration, including future costs and scalability expenses.
  • Follow a performance checklist: Develop a checklist on performance requirements, and then verify them after the migration.
  • Perform a security gap analysis: Understand current in-house security needs and how they will change with the cloud.
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