3 key tips cloud providers won't tell you about app migration

These best practices will keep you from wasting time and money in your cloud migration -- but few people know them

There's applications in them thar clouds! Now that enterprises finally understand that it's much cheaper to operate applications in the public clouds, it's become even more of a mad rush. That's a huge change in attitude from just a year ago.

As enterprise IT is now seriously moving applications into the cloud, some best practices are emerging. But they tend to be known by only a few, so most organizations don't benefit from them. Worse, the cloud providers themselves don't seem to understand how to use their own technology. As a result, the blind are leading the blind.

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What are these best practices? There are three key ones.

1. Get security design and technology into the application before it goes live on the cloud platform. Doing so means selecting the right security model for the application, plus the right technology to support that model. Do this work both before testing and after refactoring for cloud platform optimization. Unfortunately, the common approach today is to port, test, deploy, get hacked, blame the cloud provider, remove application, and wonder what went wrong. But if you follow best practices, you won't fall into that trap.

2. Figure out the data before you make the move. Ask yourself these questions before you move the application: Where will the data reside? How will it communicate with the application and interface services? What about integrity issues? Again, what about security issues? Organizations that figure out the data issues after making the move to a cloud platform often find they've jumped 10 steps forward only to hit a wall. Then they must slide five steps back to cover the 15 steps they needed to take in the first place.

3. Have a porting plan for your cloud applications. Yes, applications should be optimized and localized for the target cloud platform. But there should also be a porting plan in case the cloud provider goes away, gets too expensive, or breaks bad in a manner such that you need to quickly move to another provider or perhaps back in-house. Always expect the best and plan for the worst.

For most enterprises, adopting these three best practices for cloud app migration will pay off in just a few years -- trust me.

This article, "3 key tips cloud providers won't tell you about app migration," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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