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Understanding the Present Landscape: A Crucial Element for Maximizing Cloud Advantages


The Importance of Understanding the Current State 

There is a myriad of reasons why companies nowadays decide to move their workloads to the cloud. Some come to this decision to optimize costs, some need scalability unavailable on-prem, while others just need to expand their business or create a reliable disaster recovery strategy. Whatever the reason might be, to utilize the full benefits that the cloud offers, a good deal of planning and a clear understanding of a baseline is needed. In the cloud, you are no longer procuring resources for peak usage. You need to look at the ongoing utilization and configure your workloads to scale on demand. This creates the need to right-size infrastructure components accordingly on the way to the cloud.

Unless you know what you currently have, how can you know what the best option in the future would be? A complete picture of the existing infrastructure, applications, and skillset should serve as a foundation and starting point for any cloud migration initiative. This will ensure that any decision made in the strategic cloud journey is based on facts and not perceptions or opinions.

Understanding where the money goes now, what the existing bottlenecks are (both technical and non-technical), and making sense of communication obstacles between departments and business units should be addressed before the workloads move to the cloud. Otherwise, you would be moving your challenges from one place to another. Technically, the cloud is just another data center and the same applications will be delivering the same kind of service to the end users. However, cloud migrations can be, and should be treated as an opportunity and a strategic business investment that allows you to review the status quo, find the things you want to improve on, and start from a clean slate using the features that were not available to you on-prem. Otherwise, the move to this new environment will not allow you to fully yield the benefits of the cloud, making the whole endeavor pointless. It is always better, and more cost and time-effective to do something right from the get-go than fix it later.

Without a snapshot of the on-prem environment, it will be impossible to answer the following questions precisely:

  1. What is currently deployed?
  2. What does the resource utilization look like?
  3. How much does it cost you to keep the infrastructure on-prem?
  4. How much do you spend on the technology and its administration?
  5. What is the forecast for future spending based on ongoing and possible growth?

These questions could be quickly answered after your current environment and processes supporting its day-to-day operations are evaluated. Let us discuss how to achieve a clear outlook of an existing environment and what should be included in the current state overview.

Assessment of the On-Prem Environment

IT infrastructure consists of many components. Technology-wise the most important ones are compute resources, storage, and databases. A great way to make sense of what is housed in the data center is to go through an assessment and gather the full inventory. It is of vital importance that the collected data is correct and verifiable because many subsequent decisions will be based on this information. There are many tools available in open-source and provided by public clouds that help gather information about the existing environment either by automatically pulling data or through spreadsheets where the needed data is manually supplied. AWS offers a complimentary tool called Migration Evaluator that is very helpful in providing data on resources utilized in the data center. If bundled with AWS Migration Hub, it can also supply server dependency mapping that enables companies to identify potential first movers to the cloud based on the applications’ interconnectivity. 

Other aspects that are extremely important during the assessment of on-prem environments are a review of its processes, skillsets, and any non-functional requirements that might influence future choices in cloud architecture. This information can be collected through a series of interviews or workshops involving all of the on-prem stakeholders.

The Infrastructure


When assessing compute resources, their number and utilization parameters (CPU/RAM) are gathered to check if they are over or underutilized and could be rightsized during cloud migration. These assessments often uncover many zombie servers that have no purpose. This information allows you to see how many real servers could be lifted and shifted to the cloud even before taking a closer look at the applications running on them.


Storage assessment shows the amount of storage that might need to be moved and lets decision-makers once again consider backup and archival options both on-prem and in the cloud. Understanding current storage patterns and requirements allows them to evaluate the possibilities of switching to more affordable options available in the cloud, like AWS S3, which is their proprietary object storage solution.


According to public cloud providers software licensing costs are 3X the cost of all other spendings in the cloud combined (e.g., compute, network, and storage). Taking advantage of existing licensing investments can significantly reduce the overall cost of entry into the cloud. The client can choose to bring their licenses (BYOL) to the cloud or use the license-included option (LI). The use of licensing optimization options such as core reductions, right-sized instances, and SQL consolidation can help to bend the cost curve and lead to savings on future purchases and contract renewals. While going through license assessments, it often comes to light that the purchase of Enterprise type of licenses that may have been relevant in the past is no longer needed. Using the Standard type license features can fully suffice many use cases. Once information on the current state of license consumption is available, the licensing options in the cloud can be adequately analyzed and the chosen addressing each scenario most cost-effectively.

The Applications

Mapping dependencies between applications is essential for a successful migration and smooth transition to the cloud. This mapping also helps in prioritizing migration efforts and minimizing disruptions to business operations. Not all applications are suitable for the same migration strategy. It is essential to assess each application's characteristics, such as complexity, criticality, and compatibility with cloud services, to determine the most appropriate migration strategy - whether it is re-hosting, re-platforming, re-factoring, retaining, or other. Tailoring migration strategies to each application maximizes efficiency and minimizes risks. Moreover, acknowledgment of whether connections to the data center will be needed after migration is crucial for planning network architecture in the cloud. Companies should evaluate post-migration connectivity requirements, including data transfer, latency, and security considerations, to ensure seamless integration between on-premises and cloud environments.

The Skillset

Assessing the skillset gaps within the organization is essential to bring the shared vision of cloud adoption to life. Employees' training and development needs should be evaluated to build a skilled workforce capable of effectively managing cloud infrastructure and applications. Also, reassuring employees about their roles and job security post-migration is critical for alleviating fears. Organizations should map existing roles to new responsibilities in the cloud environment and emphasize the value of upskilling and adapting to new technologies. Providing career growth and development opportunities fosters a positive attitude toward the upcoming change. Those people who were able to maintain infrastructure in the data center, if presented with adequate training options, will undoubtedly be able to support the cloud environment as well. Building internal expertise is essential for maximizing the advantages of the cloud. The investment in training will increase employee retention and satisfaction and will overall create a positive atmosphere within the company undergoing this strategic transition. Upskilling existing teams who are already SMEs in the applications they maintain will ensure they have the knowledge and skills required to architect, deploy, and manage cloud-based solutions effectively. This approach to addressing the skillset gaps has proven to be the most beneficial way of going through cloud migration for all of those involved.

The Non-Functional Requirements

In addition to the servers, storage, and licenses, an organization needs to assess and control many other aspects to sustain a fully functional environment. These include governance policies, compliance with security standards, and disaster recovery strategies.


Security standards are the cornerstones of any cloud migration strategy. While cloud service providers offer strong security measures, the responsibility for securing data and applications ultimately lies with the organization. This is an example and a part of a shared responsibility in the cloud. Before migrating to the cloud, an organization must conduct a thorough security assessment of its existing infrastructure and applications. This involves identifying potential vulnerabilities, assessing data sensitivity, and determining access controls. By making sense of the security needs of their systems, organizations can implement appropriate security measures in the cloud environment. This may include encryption, multi-factor authentication, network segmentation, etc. 


Effective governance is essential for maintaining control and ensuring compliance within an IT environment. The established policies, procedures, and controls that govern the usage of on-prem components need to be reviewed as they will directly influence the choice in the cloud architecture. The governance requirements that outline the roles and responsibilities, describe access controls, and define resource allocation and usage policies need to be analyzed.


Compliance with industry regulations and standards is mandatory whether it is on-prem or in the cloud. This is especially true for organizations operating in highly regulated finance, healthcare, or government sectors. Before embarking on cloud migration, companies must assess the compliance requirements relevant to their industry and geographical location. Understanding the compliance landscape involves identifying applicable regulations (e.g. GDPR, HIPAA, SOC 2), assessing data residency requirements, and ensuring adherence to industry-specific security standards. Organizations can avoid costly penalties, safeguard sensitive data, and build trust with stakeholders by aligning cloud migration strategies with compliance requirements from the outset.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery planning is imperative to ensure business continuity and mitigate the impact of unforeseen disruptions. Before migrating critical workloads to the cloud, an organization must evaluate existing disaster recovery mechanisms and assess their effectiveness in the current environment. Understanding the disaster recovery requirements involves identifying recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) for different applications and data sets. This is especially crucial for applications that operate under strict Service Level Agreements (SLAs). 

In addition to security, governance, and compliance, decision-makers should consider other non-functional requirements, such as performance, scalability, and availability. Acknowledging these requirements and benchmarking the metrics related to them before the move helps to see the benefits of the cloud post-migration.


In conclusion, understanding the current state of your infrastructure and applications is indispensable for maximizing the advantages of cloud migration. By meticulously assessing existing workloads, application interdependencies, and skillset gaps while also analyzing non-functional requirements, companies can ensure a smooth transition to the new environment. By knowing what the companies are paying for now and how these components are used, they can optimize resource allocation, determine the right-sizing opportunities, and choose the appropriate cloud storage solutions and licensing options. By conducting thorough assessments, selecting appropriate migration strategies, addressing skill gaps, and ensuring compliance and security, organizations can successfully navigate the complexities of cloud adoption and reap the benefits of agility, scalability, and innovation in the cloud era. 

If your organization is considering cloud migration and wants to alleviate the stress of doing this alone, contact us. Ippon is a trusted migration partner who is here to help you! To learn more about cloud migrations, read our latest eBook Assessing the Maturity of your Cloud Strategy, or check out Part 1 of our webinar series, where we discuss how to prepare for a seamless transition to the cloud.

Post by Iryna Chmelyk
Apr 30, 2024 7:00:00 AM


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