IT Hero: Cloud Migration Expert Mark Smith

Regional Manager, Oracle Support
4 min read
IT Hero: Cloud Migration Expert Mark Smith

When it comes to cloud migrations, failing to plan is planning to fail. That’s where Rimini Street expert engineers play a pivotal role, enabling and empowering hundreds of clients to build successful ERP cloud strategies. In this IT Hero profile, we showcase one such expert—Mark Smith, regional manager, Oracle support at Rimini Street—and discover how he helps clients succeed no matter where they are in their cloud journeys.

How many businesses have moved their data to the cloud? “Everyone,” according to VentureBeat. This isn’t strictly true, but while there are plenty of companies yet to complete their data migrations, the point is a salient one: The cloud is here to stay.

Rimini Street surveyed 1,006 CIOs and CTOs across Europe and the Middle East and found that 89.2% of them had either already moved their ERP to the cloud, are in the process of doing so, or are planning on it. A Deloitte study of 500 senior decision-makers found that 90% of them see the cloud, along with other innovative technologies, as driving positive outcomes for their businesses.

Despite the overwhelming interest and support for the cloud among businesses of all sizes, migrating to and maintaining cloud infrastructure is not without its risks and drawbacks. This project can easily become unmanageable or overly expensive. A leading research firm predicts that a majority of infrastructure and operations leaders will contend with public cloud cost overruns in 2024.

The antidote to cloud migration cost and timing problems? Proper planning.

Planning is paramount to successful cloud migration

“Migration from your data center to cloud should be straightforward, but you’ve got to plan it,” says Smith, who has seen many examples of companies failing to plan well and then rushing last-minute into poor implementation. This problem is a big part of why he says his job has, “an element of firefighting and reactiveness.”

Gartner asserts that doing an application assessment is the most crucial early planning task for a cloud migration project. This assessment looks at the workloads for migration and helps determine which approach is best for each application. Failing to do this kind of planning can leave a team with insufficient specifications to guide the migration, which can cause problems that result in delays and increased costs.

It’s not uncommon for projects relating to databases to get delayed in the early stages, leading to rushed execution later in the process.

“You have to get that time back from somewhere,” says Smith, noting that lost time is often recouped by dispensing with necessities such as regression testing. Testing is an important element of planning for migration, and it’s far better to spend the time on such tasks before moving into a production environment.

“If you don’t, you will pay the price,” says Smith. “And you’ll have a more expensive price on the back end.”

The temptation to rush elements of implementation or skip testing phases is often a result of companies setting arbitrary timelines for cloud migration. Leadership might demand that everything be moved out of the data center by, say, September 30th, a date that gets legally enshrined in a contract with a third-party implementer.

In many cases, says Smith, “it starts going wrong from day one, and starts going a lot slower. But the contract that they signed only lasts until September 30. It’s a drop-dead date. So what happens is that people get towards that date, and they basically lift and shift.”

Lift-and-shift: Fraught with peril

Lift-and-shift is an expedient method of data migration that involves either using automation tools to convert the original application as-is into a new application or manually converting it to the cloud without modifying its architecture. The result is a fast migration, but one that is likely to have flaws such as retention of any duplicated, corrupted, and orphaned data that existed in the on-premises data center, or slow performance due to poor configuration.

“If the architects don’t have time to plan the migration, all that’s left is to throw it over the fence and call it good,” says Smith. “When that happens, we get calls the following Monday morning about slow performance – something that used to take 10 minutes is now running in 15. In most cases, it’s because they haven’t configured their cloud environment properly.”

Slow performance is just one drawback of poor planning; mishandling a cloud migration can be expensive, too. McKinsey estimates that companies are likely to waste about $100 billion over the next three years on inefficient and delayed migration efforts. Such cost overruns are enough to inhibit companies from tackling migration at all.

But with a proper amount of planning, good data-management practices, and a sufficient time horizon, cloud migration doesn’t have to become a morass.

That’s exactly why more than 5,200 organizations worldwide have trusted Rimini Street to help them extract more value from their enterprise software investments. And in the case of experts like Smith, insights and guidance on cloud strategy and planning can prove invaluable.

“If you’re going to make the move to the cloud, take advantage of the opportunity to re-imagine your application stack,” says Smith.

“It’s a great chance to revisit legacy functionality and to rightsize your database. Can you leverage an open-source database for some of the processing and ensure that the feature-rich databases are used for the higher horsepower tasks? Can you make use of microservices? Use the migration as a chance to improve and perhaps even futureproof your systems, as well as treating it as a directive to get out of data centers. “

Learn More: Discover how Rimini Street Cloud Advisory Services enables and empowers clients to build an ERP cloud strategy that keeps them on a Business-Driven Roadmap, not a vendor-dictated path.