What Goldilocks can teach us about cloud migration

Too big, too small, just right -- the same criteria can help you decide the size of your cloud push

What Goldilocks can teach us about cloud migration

Do you have a cloud push underway? "Cloud push" is the term I use to describe enterprises that are quickly migrating to the cloud around an urgent need. Organizations engaged in a cloud push are moving hundreds of workloads to the cloud ASAP, not a few dozen over several years.

Examples of cloud pushes include:

  • Because you're selling your datacenters, you need to get to the public cloud as fast as possible.
  • Your current systems aren't secure enough, so you're moving to the cloud to fix your security at the same time.
  • IT costs too much, and your investors are not happy. The choices are a new IT staff or a move to the cloud. You chose the cloud.

You can easily create a business case for moving workloads to the cloud. The board, the CEO, and the CIO all get the value. The challenge is to figure out the right pace.

Companies may move too fast, and although you need to make mistakes to learn the best practices in your context, you can afford to make only so many of them in production environments. A rushed pace can cause more errors to occur.

I often run into companies that move so fast that they haven't been able to truly understand the characteristics of their workloads, so they end up moving workloads that are not a good fit for the public cloud. These workloads end up requiring major rework after the migration. That rework may be necessary in any case, but you should know so before you migrate, not after.

There are also risks in moving too slowly. The big one is opportunity cost -- you stay less efficient and less secure longer that way. You may also be putting off flexibility, agility, scale, and all the other advantages of the cloud that can make a positive difference from your business, not only for IT.

You should have a cloud push underway. The only question should be how big that push should be, not whether you have one. To figure that out, invoke the Goldilocks principle, so you get the cloud push that is just right.

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