This week’s FAQ Friday is sponsored by Coherent Solutions. Read more about the company and its services at the bottom of this post.
This Week’s FAQ Topic — Cloud Migration
What are the benefits of moving to the cloud?
First and foremost, the benefits of cloud migration is flexibility and elasticity. Cloud gives organizations the ability to allocate resources more flexibly to their workloads. While it does typically mean cost efficiency, it does not always mean cheaper. Workloads, with spiking demands for computing and storage, can certainly find cost savings when properly architecting a solution. If your workloads are relatively stable in terms of resource demand, the direct cost savings may not materialize (mainly if you are not operating a massive data center and have to factor in facility maintenance, electricity for cooling, physical security and labor costs to keep your facility operating), but where you would benefit is increased reliability, global reach and better security.
When you look beyond Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities of your cloud provider and look at their platform services (PaaS), you will find additional benefits. PaaS solutions increase the agility of your applications’ architecture on top of the flexible infrastructure. There are already a lot of great products in the space. Cloud Foundry, Heroku, Engine Yard, a wide range of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Services enable developers to focus on application capabilities and not worry whether the infrastructure is properly provisioned and managed for an application’s optimal performance. Some of these products are provided by IaaS vendors, some completely hide the infrastructure details from the customers, and some give customer flexibility in what IaaS vendor to use and enable seamless migration if needed. But what they all have in common is taking care of mundane details to correctly set up and manage infrastructure for applications as they are being created and maintained.
What types of businesses can benefit the most from cloud migration?
Today, cloud powers businesses of all kinds – from early-stage startups to banks and insurance companies to major worldwide manufacturing conglomerates. It does not matter what kind of business you have. What matters is how the workloads you run can benefit from what the cloud has to offer. A few possible scenarios include: dynamic provisioning of resources for spiking demand, speeding up the development of new connected products by leveraging the cloud’s global IoT connectivity and analytics backbone, adding advanced AI-drivel features to your applications or even merely improving reliability, increasing security, optimizing licensing costs, and reducing IT labor required for management of the fleet of your servers used to run a variety of line of business applications.
Is there prep work that needs to be done before cloud migration?
Absolutely. An organization would need to build and approve the business case for cloud migration. This business case would include the following: Understand the different types of workloads that are being run within the company’s IT infrastructure, determine what specific benefits of cloud migration will provide, and then validate the impact of these benefits. While the cloud is great, it is still not a one size fits all. The organization should look at both estimated costs of maintaining the cloud infrastructure and understand the overall TCO, including things like licensing fees, labor costs, electricity, and other utilities, etc.
What is the actual process of cloud migration like?
How long does it take? Does it interrupt business?
Once the business case gets approved and all stakeholders are on the same page as to why an organization has chosen cloud migration, the fun part comes next. The specific scope of the cloud migration effort, its duration and its impact on the business depend on what and how it is being migrated. There are six different migration strategies an organization can pursue (sometimes called the 6R of the cloud migration):
- Re-host (“lift and shift”) — The most straightforward migration approach with little or no modifications for your systems.
- Re-platform (“lift, tinker and lift”) — A middle ground of the migration approach where there is an opportunity to tweak a few things along the way while retaining the overall architecture of your systems. Slightly more effort than Re-host but may provide additional benefits.
- Repurchase — Replace your existing solutions with similar applications that already reside in the cloud. e.g., move from your on-prem CRM solution (e.g., MS Dynamics) to its cloud equivalent (e.g., Dynamics 365 or Salesforce)
- Refactor or Rearchitect — Change how the application is architected and developed to take the most advantage of what a cloud has to offer. For example, convert your monolithic line of business application to a cloud-native containerized or serverless solution. This will be the most expensive but also the most beneficial option.
- Retire — This is your chance to reduce and simplify your overall technology portfolio by sunsetting applications and solutions no longer used by the business.
- Retain — You don’t have to move everything to the cloud. Some applications can remain within your data center. This option allows you to be flexible and only migrate what makes sense for the business.
An audit and analysis of the active workloads will help formulate an appropriate strategy.
Are there any cloud migration glitches companies should be aware of?
The cloud is an excellent tool for the modern business. The cloud offers ultimate flexibility, limitless scalability, cost efficiencies and solid underlying security. However, when moving to the cloud, companies still have to architect, design, implement properly, and, even more importantly, operate their cloud environment to get all the above benefits from the start and into the future. Defining the governance policies upfront and diligently implementing them helps avoid common pitfalls that may result in not getting the right level of flexibility and security or overpaying for underutilized or unused resources. It is also essential to segregate resources based on their purpose according to your configuration management policy (org. unit, dev/test/stage/prod) so that the team responsible for managing the cloud environment can do so adequately based on the purpose of each of the resources and its ownership.
Several inefficiencies can result when a cloud environment is treated as a virtual datacenter by the implementation or migration team, with a collection of statically provisioned resources like the previously used environment. You might not be taking advantage of dynamic resource allocation based on real needs if you scaled your environment upfront to handle the peak load. Most cloud providers offer multiple flexible pricing schemes depending on how you utilize the resources.
Get expert cloud migration assistance
Coherent Solutions has multiple years of experience delivering a range of solutions and services on the AWS platform, from assessments to full lifecycle projects to migrations to ongoing support and maintenance. AWS Advanced Tier Partner status is a recognition by AWS of Coherent’s competency. We have the right set of skills, expertise and best practices knowledge on the platform.
We can help our customers to navigate the landscape of AWS Services for their needs. Our migration approach aligns with best practices established by the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP).
If you are working with Coherent, you can be sure that we will develop a solid, secure, scalable, performant, maintainable and cost-effective cloud solution for you that takes advantage of both established and new AWS offerings.
More About Our Sponsor
Coherent Solutions is a software product development and consulting company that solves customer business problems by bringing together global expertise, innovation, and creativity. The business helps companies tap into the technology expertise and operational efficiencies made possible by their global delivery model.
Meet Our FAQ Expert
Max Belov has been with Coherent Solutions since 1998 and became CTO in 2001. He is an accomplished architect and an expert in distributed systems design and implementation. He’s responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the company’s technology services, which include custom software development, data services, DevOps & cloud, quality assurance, and Salesforce.
Max also heads innovation initiatives within Coherent’s R&D lab to develop emerging technology solutions. These initiatives provide customers with top notch technology solutions IoT, blockchain, and AI, among others. Find out more about these solutions and view client videos on the Coherent Solutions YouTube channel.
Max holds a master’s degree in Theoretical Computer Science from Moscow State University. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his family, on a racetrack, and playing competitive team handball.