I was tasked the other day with trying to estimate the number of potential clients for a service I am working on. It’s a tough question because the market is still in the first stages of adoption. As for why more companies haven’t started to adopt cloud, it really comes down to one key thing: It’s not something you just do, it’s a huge challenge and takes longer than organizations plan for. Frankly my dear, it’s a pain in the ass.
It’s true. While many organizations have virtualized a good chunk of their infrastructure, when it comes to migrating applications to a cloud environment the numbers are pretty slim (Although that number is expected to increase moderately in the next few years). Moving legacy systems to cloud environments involves a lot of troubleshooting and when you start to look at mission critical systems, well, it gets complicated. On one hand, you have to customize every application so the troubleshooting involved would be unique for each one. On the other hand, you might have applications that cannot be down at any time. It’s a tough call.
The best way to look at cloud as a project is to consider it like any other migration. Look at starting with less critical systems, or to offerings that are cloud hosted by the vendor such as SalesForce.com and Office365 from Microsoft. From there, get as many team members together to map systems that might be dependent on other systems to ensure that any migration takes into account any cross database functionality that would suffer from an interruption.