Across public and private sectors, migrating technology infrastructure, services and data to the cloud is a well-established trend with a long list of proven benefits. The education sector is no different, with IT teams facing pressure to get there as soon as possible to deliver better services to teachers, students, and support staff.
But is this sense of urgency fully justified, and are better outcomes over the long-term more likely if schools, colleges and universities choose a more strategic route and take their time moving to the cloud?
There are certainly lessons to be learned from those who have moved too fast, and by taking gradual steps, organisations can avoid rushing to a solution that might lock them into a particular approach or service provider. Instead, a strategy where cloud migration happens in manageable increments and where hybrid environments or multiple clouds are used as part of a best practice approach can more effectively fit the decision-making and funding processes seen across the education sector.
Moving to the cloud without interruption is the ideal scenario, and choosing a multi-cloud/hybrid cloud approach can also help maintain ‘business as usual’ services for key IT systems, avoiding the need to bring infrastructure to a full stop for migration purposes. A phased approach can also take the pressure off IT staff to shift in a single sitting, can help prevent mistakes, and ensure nothing is being overlooked. A good strategy is to start the migration process with less critical workloads, taking note of any issues while migrating before moving on to more critical data.
Why choose a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environment?
As far as cloud migration strategy is concerned, the idea of putting all the technology eggs in one basket is increasingly a thing of the past. Central to this view is the rapidly growing trend among organisations to work with more than one cloud provider, not least because it allows them to more effectively manage and expand their options while taking full advantage of the different features various cloud platforms provide.
This approach also recognises every educational setting has its own technology needs, and some cloud platforms may be better suited to meet those needs than others. The critical nature of education IT infrastructure also often means it’s necessary to keep working on-premises even when migrating to cloud infrastructure.
The critical nature of education IT infrastructure also often means it’s necessary to keep working on-premises even when migrating to cloud infrastructure
Using a hybrid cloud solution opens up the benefits of cloud while maintaining control of an on-prem environment. This also makes migration easier, as some workloads can remain on-prem while simultaneously shifting others to the cloud.
Preparation is key to cloud migration success
The single biggest issue that can derail a cloud migration strategy is failure to prepare. Top of the list of preventative measures should be training everyone involved in the cloud migration process, so they understand the technology to ensure moving legacy systems to the cloud runs as smoothly as possible.
In addition, consider allowing IT staff to take on smaller migration tasks before tackling bigger, more ambitious steps, as this not only helps minimise the risk of problems occurring during the process, but also builds experience in what it means to shift to the cloud.
Working to a precise, well-planned timetable can deliver huge benefits over the course of a cloud migration strategy. By establishing overall objectives around any new multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environment and ensuring the proper training is available, it becomes easier to focus on a best practise approach that will help deliver the performance, versatility, and cosy benefits of the cloud in the short- and long-term.