Models, skills among hurdles in the way of cloud migration

Johannesburg, 23 Sep 2022
Louis van Schalkwyk, Head of Technical Operations, Digicloud Africa.
Louis van Schalkwyk, Head of Technical Operations, Digicloud Africa.

South African organisations, increasingly keen to benefit from the tools and benefits available to them in the cloud, still have a number of hurdles to overcome in migrating their data warehouses.

This is according to Louis van Schalkwyk, Head of Technical Operations at Digicloud Africa, and Thomas Fowler, CTO of Google Cloud Partner CloudSmiths (formerly DotModus), who were speaking ahead of this year’s ITWeb Cloud & Data Centre Summit, where Digicloud will be a sponsor.

Van Schalkwyk says the key reason for organisations moving to the cloud is to take advantage of a plethora of modern tools, including AI and machine learning. “Companies are reaching a point where they have to move because the amount of time they now have to spend looking after on-premises systems isn’t feasible anymore,” he says.

“Everyone is moving, but they are at varying levels of maturity. In sectors like retail, they are jumping in and reaping the benefits. More traditional areas like finance might be a bit slower and may always want to retain some data on-premises. Now organisations are looking at what should be moved and where they can extract more value when they move data warehouses to the cloud.”

Among the challenges facing those that have not yet made the move is getting to grips with the pros and cons of various migration strategies, Van Schalkwyk says. “Many organisations are still weighing up whether they should lift and shift, lift and modernise or completely re-platform, building a new data environment and letting go of their legacy environment. They are also grappling with cost optimisation, understanding value versus cost and how to make the best use of their engineering resources.”

Fowler says organisations that have not yet made the move are typically held back by a lack of skills: “Most organisations absolutely desire to move to cloud, there’s no doubt there’s a demand. The cloud is filled with incredible tools and it unlocks an inordinate amount of capability. However, there’s a level of maturity in local organisations in realising that cloud environments require a different set of skills from what IT departments have needed to run on-premises infrastructure. They realise it isn’t exactly the same, working with data needs skilled individuals. Data governance is incredibly important and you need the right skills to make data solutions work in the cloud, in ways that are fit for purpose and safe.”

Van Schalkwyk notes that Google Cloud offers platforms and tools that reduce the number of skilled resources needed to start benefiting from the cloud. “With Google Cloud, you don’t need as many skills – you can use your engineering time to build out things that add value instead of managing maintenance,” he says.

Van Schalkwyk and Fowler will address the ITWeb Cloud & Data Centre Summit on 1 November, on ‘Migrating a data warehouse to the cloud’. They will discuss the trends, challenges and learnings around data warehouse migration, with insights on assessing what workloads to run in the cloud for the best outcomes and how to leverage Google Cloud tools to easily start benefiting from AI and ML.

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