Migrating to Azure, AWS, or GCP? For most organizations, it is really not a matter of if, but when and how! While some traditional IT organizations have excellent track records for delivering reliable, secure and cost-effective IT infrastructure, most struggle to provide the reliability and breath of services cloud providers can deliver.
The benefits of Cloud are extremely clear. Better reliability, recoverability, security, flexibility, accessibility and scalability.
Depending on an organization's traditional on-premises environment, cloud migrations have the potential to be extremely complex programs. Engaging the right team, with the right resources and methodology, will ensure your success. Our cloud migration services have been consistently improved to manage the program from beginning to end. This allows you to focus on leveraging the cloud's capabilities and growing your core business.
A cloud migration or cloud transformation program is when an organization commits to utilizing cloud computing providers for some or all of its traditional data center computing needs. While there are a number of cloud providers available, AWS, Azure and Google Cloud are the most prominent providers based on maturity and breath of service offerings, track record of service availability, and public cloud market share.
While some of the benefits of cloud computing include lower costs, scalability, security, and accessibility, let’s touch on a few specific capabilities that make cloud computing so appealing. Anyone that has spent their career in the IT industry understands how impressive cloud computing architectures and capabilities truly are. In a traditional company, designing, building, and properly maintaining complex computing solutions is an around the clock, never-ending and many times thankless job. Even with the best staff, fully documented designs and runtime procedures, the latest hardware and software, it’s impossible to reproduce the massive breadth of services cloud providers have developed. In addition, while cloud providers have had well publicized outages, collectively cloud providers still provide better reliability than most organizations could ever obtain. Finally, while organizations have the internal ability to scale based on virtualization technology, they simply can’t replicate the ability to scale virtually any service at any time around the globe.
The biggest challenge we encounter working with organizations is the lack of a holistic cloud strategy. Surveys have consistently found that most organizations don’t dedicate enough effort to their strategy development, and it’s a primary factor why most companies never obtain desired results. The strategy must adequately assess existing application and infrastructure solutions to determine the best way to utilize cloud capabilities. It must also define business and IT service goals. Well-defined strategies outline guiding principles, including identifying and assessing cloud competencies. The strategy needs to define how the organization will manage costs, as it’s essential to understand an organization's historical run-rate costs and how new cloud-based costs will reduce or eliminate legacy costs. A well-planned strategy also addresses post-migration cost control solutions that routinely measure cloud computing utilization while continually adjusting cloud services to further reduce costs. This is a critical step in the process to ensure a desired cloud ROI is truly obtainable.
Maintaining program focus, engagement at all levels, leadership support and momentum are critical to the success of any initiative. Cloud migrations can be long and tedious programs that require consistent engagement, leadership support and year-over-year funding. An effective change management program is critical to the success of your cloud migration initiative. Marketing IT is an area where many traditional IT organizations suffer and an area that shouldn’t be overlooked or undervalued.
Another obstacle that organization need to understand and effectively plan for is cloud vendor lock-in. Just as organizations of the past attempted to not get locked-in with a single hardware or software vendor, today's organizations are stuck with a similar quandary. The ability to move VMs across cloud platforms exists and while not inexpensive, it gives organizations the ability to move workloads between clouds if needed. But keeping workloads at the virtual machine level also doesn’t allow organizations to take advantage of other services that are quite attractive from a cost / performance perspective. Native cloud database solutions, app services and serverless functions all help drive down the cost of computing, but this comes at a price of locking into a specific provider with the cost of exit very challenging.
A well-defined strategy will also define the different migration paths or disposition strategies the organization plans to utilize for each application and parameters around when and how each will be used. The paths are generally considered to be: Rehost, Replatform, Repurchase, Refactor, Retain and Retire. This can be a fairly time-consuming process, but it is also where the rubber meets the road! Simply moving all an organization's virtual machines to the cloud is an easy “quick win” to get to the cloud, but it will also have a significant impact on your overall cloud ROI. Are you trying to get to the cloud to meet an objective, or are you developing a long-term business strategy that takes advantage of cloud computing architectures that will provide unparalleled business capability while also driving down the cost of computing? Those questions need to be defined in your strategy, as it is the only way to fully define your most likely computing outcomes, allowing you to methodically take advantage of cloud services that provide true business value.
Rehosting, commonly referred to as “lift and shift”, is the process of moving systems “as-is”. It generally takes advantage of “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” cloud type offerings. Simple rehosting provides the least amount of business value and cloud ROI savings, but is still a very viable option based on an organization’s business drivers.
Replatforming an application involves some level of changes to the underlying platform without major application changes. An example of this might be migrating an IIS Web Server running on Windows to an Azure App service. In many instances, the underlying code base doesn’t change, but the application is running on a new, more efficient platform.
Depending on the feature set used, another example might be migrating a legacy SQL Server running on Windows to running on an Azure SQL Managed instance. The underlying SQL solution hasn’t changed, but you no longer need to manage the operating system level aspects of the infrastructure.
Repurchasing is the process of replacing legacy solutions with a COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) solution that will be provided in a software-as-a-service model. Depending on the organization’s needs, this can provide significant business benefit, both short and long-term. A great example of this is moving from an on-premise email solution to something like Office 365. Once migrated, an organization no longer deals with the constant headaches associated with operating system upgrades, patching, system scalability and feature upgrades. It’s all managed for you and, in general, extremely reliable.
Refactoring is the process of rewriting a major portion of an application's code base to take advantage of cloud technology. While this is the most expensive and time-consuming option, it will provide significant cost savings long term. The ability to leverage serverless computing, native database solutions and other native cloud solutions can provide a compelling argument for refactoring business applications. It all depends on the application lifecycle and business drivers. If the business was already planning to perform major application updates based on needed features, it might be the perfect time to leverage cloud services for long-term cost savings.
Retiring, as it sounds, is the simple act of retiring an application based on business usage. While it sounds simple, we’ve consistently found that between 10-20% of the applications in a legacy data center were candidates for retirement. This is an easy way to “clean house” and help fund further initiatives.
Retain is our final disposition path and one that should not be overlooked. It’s important that during a cloud program the organization fully understands the value of retaining specific services in-house due to the business drivers or industry requirements. This is the old adage that you shouldn’t try and drive a square peg in a round hole. It’s a recipe for disaster that will likely end up in migrating the solution back on-premise!
Cloud computing platforms provide never before seen advantages in terms of reliability, scalability, accessibility and cost efficiency. Whether you plan to use AWS, Azure, or GCP, cloud requires a different approach and skillset compared to traditional on-premises environments. Without the proper framework and governance, cloud initiatives can lead to disappointing results.
CTM Technology Group is proud to be AWS and Azure partners with in-house certified experts to help support your needs. Our team can help you assess your current environment, design and deploy a cloud-based environment, and efficiently migrate your legacy solutions to the cloud.
Is your organization struggling to get your cloud costs under control? Is your migration ROI in jeopardy? Are you challenged to get an initial baseline service cost prior to migrating services? If any of these concerns sound familiar - you are not alone!
A recent Flexera survey stated that 45% of respondents had concerns about accurately assessing on-premises costs vs future cloud costs.1 Once migrated, the same survey found that almost 40% of respondents said that optimizing costs post-migration was a challenge.1
Many organizations suffer from not developing an upfront framework to support governance, policy and detailed reporting to ensure cloud investments are appropriate. Like traditional on-premises solutions, cloud environments must be managed. Through either operational process or automation, capacity management should not be overlooked, and systems should be routinely reviewed to ensure a balanced approach to cost and performance. If you are finding your organization in a similar situation, we can help!
Are you ready to take the next step to migrate or build in cloud? Contact us for more information on our Cloud Migration Services.
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CTM Technology Group completes asset discovery and analysis and delivers recommendations to support cloud and data center migration, consolidation, or transformation initiatives.
CTM’s Migration Wave Planning Tool creates a cloud migration schedule in minutes! Automating and simplifying the migration move group planning process.
Following a company acquisition, CTM integrated users and environments with the new company, migrated applications and systems to new data centers and the cloud, and decommissioned a data center facility.