"Be really careful about how you select the early projects you're going to do," said Chapple. "We do have an incredible diversity of services. We operate our own power plant. We have a hotel. We run 40 residence halls and, oh, yeah, we do all that teaching and learning and research. We have somewhere between 600 and 1,000 IT services. Sorting through that and finding the first projects you're going to do is really important.
"Make sure whatever you're going to pick, you're going to succeed with it," he added. "Look for things that are as straightforward as possible."
Notre Dame has migrated its website and global student and faculty authentication stores to AWS' cloud, and has plans to move 80% of its workload there in the next three years
Geiger also cautioned that cloud migrations shouldn't be done too quickly. Be steady. Be careful.
"Pay attention to the velocity of your migration," he said. "You don't have to migrate everything in one day.... It's tempting, but don't. Don't eat the elephant in one big bite. Do a little bit at a time. Find those simple wins and then do something else. Success promotes more success. Do just an app. Do just one service. Success will help your team feel better."
Getting rid of the creepy crawlies
VJ Rao, Deputy CTO at the National Democratic Institute, a non-profit organization that works to support democracy around the world and runs all of its apps on the AWS platform, said migrating to the cloud is an opportunity to think about best practices - and whether you're actually on top of them.
"It's an opportunity to think about standards," he said. "There are probably a lot of things we're all doing that are probably not as secure as they could be. This move could serve as a blank slate for best practices. If you don't do that, you'll carry forward your bad practices."
That goes beyond security, according to Chapple.
"That's also true for your overall infrastructure," he said. "In this process of migrating everything, we're shining a flashlight in some very dark places and we're finding some creepy crawly things. How many times do you go through and look at everything you're doing? This is a great opportunity."
Rethink your network
Bob Micielli, director of Enterprise Technology Services with King County, Wash., said it's time to think outside the box...or at least outside the mainframe.
The issue for many IT people is that they've been working on the same kinds of systems for years, even decades. It's easy to narrow your thinking to a certain kind of system, a particular network.
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