How to Make Cloud Migration Less Hazy

The steps to migrating applications to the cloud can be as nebulous as the name of the technology suggests. Every agency will face their own challenges when trying to best use cloud computing powers, but just about all agencies have to overcome the same challenge of dealing with what they already have — that is, legacy applications.

“Most agencies have decades’ worth of IT  investments that weren’t built in a cloud environment. So if you’re going to move to the cloud, that makes it difficult,” said Chris Chilbert, Chief Information Officer of the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

It’s true that there are many benefits to cloud computing, but knowing how to reach them isn’t as straightforward — if agencies will see any at all. If the end user does not experience a difference between an application on the cloud versus on premises — or worse, they experience a decrease in quality — could that still be a successful cloud migration process?

Sami Begg, Sales Engineering Manager for U.S. Federal at AppDynamics, says no.

While an agency may be able to successfully launch something into a new cloud environment, the actual use of the application and the satisfaction of the end user is what ultimately makes it a successful migration project, Begg said at GovLoop’s online training Wednesday.

The key to success here, then, is having visibility — “where you are at, and at a granular level,” Begg said.

In other words, agencies need to have visibility into how their legacy applications are performing for the end user. This way, they can create metrics that can measure against their cloud applications as the agency migrates. And they can make sure their services run successfully so that the move is worth every penny.

“The ability to measure the before and after is going to help prevent disappointments and failures,” Begg said.

Agencies should turn to guidance like the new Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) 3.0 Use Cases or the Cloud Smart policy to help them adopt cloud powers well. Chilbert said these policies can help agencies take creative and holistic approaches to using cloud technology, all for the intent of having a more mission-focused, triumphant transformation.

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