What You Need to Know Before Migrating Your Business to the Cloud

What You Need to Know Before Migrating Your Business to the Cloud

Moving to the Cloud might be on every organization’s agenda, but the constant question to ask is, “Are these organizations ready to make a move to the Cloud?” The benefits of the Cloud might be numerous, but every organization needs to be prepped before the move can be successfully made. To get the most out of the move to the Cloud, here are a few necessary steps which need to be performed before moving to the Cloud.

Does the Cloud Have all the Resources to Sustain Your Needs?

The first step is to understand what resources you would need to post your move into the Cloud. During the investigation stage, check what hardware your business already has, and all you would need to move to the Cloud successfully. You need to take into consideration all your applications, web servers, storage possibilities, databases, along with the other necessary components. These days, most businesses are relying heavily on AWS services, along with databases like RDS and NoSQL to do their bidding.

An organization can make use of AWS services like EC2, S3, Glacier, and RDS amongst many other things. This way, one can understand the Cloud and its service options, while there are other ways to understand the different resources available within the Cloud. The idea is to know if these resources are enough for you to manage your deliverables.

Which Applications Go First?

This concept is a crucial factor since an organization can have a series of applications, which need to be migrated to the Cloud. During the migration stage, an organization has an option to push everything in one single instance or migrate slowly and steadily over some time. If you are doing the latter, you might want to identify the most critical applications to be relocated, which might be followed by the rest of the applications. On the contrary, you can try and push those applications which have minimum complexity, and dependencies, so that post-migration, there is minimum impact on production and operations.

How do You Use Scalability and Automation?

The Cloud is well known for its scalability and automation options, amongst other benefits. If you are using AWS, then you will soon understand that you have the opportunity to design a scalable infrastructure, right at the initial stage, which can help support increased traffic, while allowing you to retain your efficiency model. You have the liberty and flexibility to scale horizontally and vertically, depending on the resource availability. These are some excellent discussions which can be looked at, right during the planning stage, as these are primary factors worth considering in the long run.

How does Software Licensing Work?

Software licensing might look like a cake walk, but the reality is far from it. After moving into the Cloud, your software might need some additional licensing, which might not be available as and when you need it; this can be discussed with the Cloud vendor, at the time of negotiations. Licensing might seem like a big step, involving heavy financial budgeting; make sure you speak to your legal and business teams, before finalizing the list of software to be moved to the Cloud.

How Can We Make the Transition?

One has to understand that moving to the Cloud is no simple task. Having said this, it is essential to decide the migration plan, and what all it will entail. There is a lot of critical planning which goes into determining the type of Cloud service to undertake; an organization needs to weigh the pros and cons of each kind of Cloud model, and accordingly make a move. There are three types of Cloud services which are currently prominent: private, public, and hybrid. As per the cost, security needs, and other factors, an organization can narrow down the options and choose the one with the best fit.

What About Training Staff to Work in the Cloud?

While this might seem to be a bit overrated, it’s nonetheless essential to train your staff to work on the Cloud more seamlessly and efficiently. Rest assured, your team would face a few teething issues, considering the exposure to an altogether new environment, which might not seem as conducive in the beginning, as you might want it to be. Identify the teams which will be on-boarded to the Cloud first, and create elaborate training manuals to help the teams move forward and adopt the Cloud to the best possible extent.

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Infographic: Cloud Migration Overview and Benefits

Cloud Migration Overview and Benefits: Know more about cloud migration facts and figures, business benefits of cloud migration, how to calculate migration cost and cloud migration investments. See the below infographic for more details.

Infographic: Cloud Migration Overview and Benefits

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How to Avoid Cloud Migration Mistakes

Best Practices for Cloud Security

The data world is very dynamic, and it is critical to update services according to the demands of business. When you are operating cloud storage, it may occur that you are not satisfied with your service provider and want to migrate to another cloud provider. That sure is a right step, but what many miss upon is the fact that cloud migration is a very critical task and should be executed wisely. Even when you are moving your resources to the cloud for the first time, you should keep in mind the following basic ideas that will keep you away from any significant mishaps.

Not Every App is a Candidate For The Cloud
Some applications’ data need not be migrated to the cloud for several reasons. Some apps have very complex structuring and codes which might not embrace migration smoothly. Migration for these apps may directly result in local data unavailability. Maintenance and repair of such apps are relatively easier when the files are located near the execution team. As a precaution, you should keep an intact copy of the data of that app and migrate one copy to the cloud. However, the locality issue will still hold—the shared responsibility with your cloud provider will be hard to maintain. Therefore, avoid the migration of such products.

Migration Requires Absolute Care
Often, people are unaware that cloud migration is not merely a process of zipping up their files and uploading to a server (similar to uploading files on Drive). The key to a successful migration depends on the quality of work and experience of your service provider. Your provider should be well aware of cloud migration operations and their repercussions. Cloud migration changes the entire paradigm of your activities—from security to file exchange everything has to work differently. Such an operational model requires a set of expertise on the service provider’s end for the smooth functioning of the business, so make sure that you have the right partner matching shoulder with you.

Choosing Your Service Provider
Thinking that every cloud service provider is going to offer you the same services is a disturbing thought. Let’s take the example of billing. Each cloud provider will have its own set of features and functions to offer; their sizes, add-ons, and prices may vary significantly. Your task is to choose the one that’s best suited for your business’ needs. Additionally, each service has a particular set of APIs and consoles which are, in most cases, incompatible with each other. Therefore, it is advised that you do not indulge in experiments and instead should go with the expert’s suggestions on business-specific cloud services.

Rushing The Migration is Out of The Question
Migration requires time to be exclusively dedicated to the process. During migration, a business might not function entirely for a bit of time, but that’s only temporary. Faster migrations result in compromising with the quality of your data being transfer, while slower migrations might consume your valuable time unnecessarily. What you should do is to find the perfect balance between the two. Having migration at a moderate speed is what you must strive to achieve — this is where the expertise of your cloud provider will matter at large.

Security Aspects Must Bot be Neglected
Although you might be moving to the cloud for better security, you are still vulnerable to risks. Having a weak front in the migration process, especially the sensitive data, can cost your company a lot. It is advised that you take proper measures before migrating through the help of an in-house expert; they must ensure the security before, during and after the migration.

Keeping these precautions in mind before moving ahead with migration will undoubtedly save you from common mistakes that many business owners commit. The critical factor in avoiding many of these mistakes will be your service provider, therefore, choose them wisely.

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Six Cloud Migration Strategies for Applications

Six Cloud Migration Strategies for Applications

The Cloud has become the go-to computing point for enterprises these days. Many companies prefer to transition their existing apps to the Cloud, simply because of the security and efficiency benefits the platform can provide. No matter the type of IT environment within your enterprise, chances are the Cloud will prove to be beneficial.

Moving to the Cloud needs to be practical and resourceful; it does not have to be simultaneous and all at once. In other words, some applications should be run in the traditional manner, while some can slowly and steadily be transitioned to the Cloud. With this mode, one can make use of the hybrid Cloud model, wherein a few apps can work on the Cloud, while others are slowly and steadily moved over.

If you are also looking at making use of the Cloud for running your business-related apps, then it is time to check out the following options available for the process.

Re-Hosting

Re-hosting is all lift and shift since it entails redeploying apps to a cloud-based environment, where changes are made to the app’s host configuration. This type of migration is not only easy but also considered to be a quick and seamless transition methodology.

What makes this solution appealing is the use of the re-hosting capabilities with the likes of AWS VM Import/Export; however, this does not stop customers from learning as they go. In other words, once apps are in the Cloud, redesigning them to meet your current demands is an easier task. Generally speaking, re-hosting as a migration option is best suited for large-scale enterprise transitions. With such extensive scale migrations, enterprises can realize cost savings up to 30%, without having to involve any cloud optimizations.

Re-Platforming

Re-platforming is all about migrating applications, and their components, to a cloud-managed platform without having to change the core application architecture. The essential idea is to run applications on the Cloud provider’s platforms, which entails replacing the configuration of the app’s architecture, without worrying about the implementation of developer cycles.

Backward compatibility is an added advantage of re-platforming, as it allows developers to reuse known resources, without going into the nuances of new app development. However, at the same time, re-platforming is a relatively new concept and is yet to gain the necessary traction in the PaaS market.

Re-Architecting

As the name suggests, this method is all about re-architecting existing applications to run smoothly in the Cloud platforms by leveraging the features or services provided by the cloud provider. This feature usually comes into play, when an enterprise is interested in customizing and developing the software within the Cloud, to cater to new ventures or software needs. However, this comes with its own set of disadvantages, which translates into the loss of legacy codes and known development frameworks.

Despite the disadvantages, it is difficult to overlook the advantages it brings with it. When you look at re-architecting as a migration option, it opens up the enterprise’s access to a series of world-class developing tools, which are available on the cloud provider’s platform. Such advantages include the likes of pre-designed customizable templates, along with a set of data models, which can enhance productivity greatly.

Re-Purchasing

Repurchasing often means that old application platforms are discarded with the aim to purchase new ones or to upgrade to the newer versions. Through the repurchasing option, enterprises can deploy the use of SaaS platforms, such as Drupal and Salesforce.com in a more secure, efficient manner. While it comes with its own set of disadvantages, this option offers companies a better view of their app deployment strategies.

Retiring

During the migration process, an enterprise has to do a deeper dive into the list of its owned apps’ this would mean going through every app which needs to be migrated and further trying to understand its uses and cost to the company. If the company feels the app is obsolete or not worth the money and effort of migrating to the Cloud, it can be downsized, and removed from the existing kit — this not only simplifies the cost and translates into saving for the company, but also makes it better for an enterprise to promote scalability and efficiency.

Retaining

This process involves holding back applications from migration which could either attract a significant amount of time in rearchitecting to be able to run in the cloud or are not migration ready as they were upgraded recently and may turn out to be a costly affair if migrated. One may also decide to retain an application if the cloud doesn’t support the app or if there is an existing sunk cost associated with the application.

Depending on the need of the hour and the immediate uses, an enterprise can pick and choose the best available option, when it comes to migrating to the Cloud. An enterprise needs to weigh the pros and cons of the selected method and act on it accordingly. This way, there is a lot of effort which is saved in running old apps in a traditional and unconventional manner.

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Best Practices to Help your Team Migrate to the Cloud

Best Practices to Help your Team Migrate to the Cloud

If any IT organization feels that shifting their workloads to the cloud is as simple as a lift and shift operation, then it must be noted that there is way more than what meets the eye. The cloud has become the preferred choice of services; from small businesses to large enterprises, organizations slowly realize the importance of shifting to the cloud. However, moving to the cloud is not as easy as it sounds; getting there needs extensive planning, forecasting, and lots of reconfiguring to ensure a successful transformation.

To get the most out of the cloud organizations need to be on their toes. To fully harness all that the cloud has to offer organizations need to direct their mindset towards resourcing, operational efficiency, and offline storage. Organizations which don’t consider these factors often end up losing heavily on productivity and in turn suffer from increased costs.

Pre-Migration Stage

Have a Vision Ready: Communicating a central vision to the team is of the utmost importance. It is essential to understand how the overall idea will pan out in the long run. Being able to share the vision with the employees can help the team assimilate the concept and work towards the successful migration eventually.

Share a Well-Defined Plan: By having a governance model ready, the migration can become easy. During the drafting of the project, any loopholes can be addressed through brainstorming sessions. All the questions which arise during the brainstorming sessions can then be answered preemptively.

Train Staff to Handle the Migration: Your team members should be well trained with the nuances of the cloud procedure; this way, everything can be handled without incurring any problems. The better-trained people you have on your side, the smoother the migration to the cloud. Well educated people can be an asset in such movements since they are already familiar with the problems that can occur during the migration procedures.

Migration Stage

Start Small: Don’t try to transfer everything in one go. Instead, concentrate on migrating in bits and pieces, so that everything can be moved without too many hiccups. Break more significant fragments into small segments and then try to migrate to the cloud. Rest assured, efficiency will be enhanced, and the team would be well equipped to transfer everything seamlessly.

Automation is the Key: Automation within the cloud is helpful when it comes to driving efficiency. Spend considerable time in automating the processes and functions within the cloud, so that teams can be empowered to perform and adjust to the migration effectively.

Leverage Fully Managed Services: Organizations can use services like Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, and the AWS Directory Service. Through AWS, day to day maintenance can be handled with ease, allowing the team to be freed up.

Post-Migration Stage

Monitor the Results: Post-migration, it’s important to stay abreast of all the changes that were initiated during the migration. Source the results, and the deviances, post-implementation strategies need to be developed to enhance the results and make them more effective. Any loopholes can be plugged, and the findings can pave the path for future migrations.

Use Cloud-Intensive Monitoring: There are a series of tools, which make the task of monitoring results more accessible and more straightforward. Tools like New Relic, App Dynamics, and AWS CloudWatch Logs are some examples of devices which can be used in this regard. Not only will the ops people benefit immensely in the long run, but stakeholders will also have a more precise base to make future strategies.

Cloud migration does not have to be a daunting job, as it is made out to be. With the right approach and techniques, the tasks can be eased out and can make the migration more natural and more effective. With the right partnership between ops and management, the movement to the cloud will be an asset worth maintaining.

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Four Key Steps That Can Enhance and Endure Cloud Migration

Four Key Steps That Can Enhance and Endure Cloud Migration
There are always specific steps that ensure a targeted result in any process; they make use of three essential prerequisites—background information, resource availability and a predetermined goal. This principle does not go unnoticed when considering cloud migration solution. Though, to achieve the optimum results out of this process, while in line with this principle, the migrators must employ systematic steps that stand to endure the whole process. Some of those critical steps have been explored below.

1. Testing and Re-testing
It is always necessary to run planned tests to achieve a better hold of the current situation. The first stepping stone to a successful migration is successful testing. A migration test performs steps to ensure the data migration is ready or identifies the areas in which improvements are needed so that the process runs seamlessly. No firm can afford the loss of data – primarily when it belongs to a third party. Therefore, it becomes essential to work on the safe side. A migration test helps determine that a business workload will run in the cloud successfully after migration. The process involves multiple sub-steps such as:

• Replicating business data to the cloud
• Ensuring the testing solution creates a real-time copy of the replicated data
• Attaching replicated data to the testing workload on the compute instance before bringing it into production
• Repeating the tests seamlessly without manual effort or downtime to the business

These sub-steps are essential for successful testing because the dynamic IT environment can be severely impacted by configurational divergence. These crucial, automated and non-intrusive tests repeatedly run parallel to the business operations without affecting foreground data in any way.

2. Ensuring Continued Visibility into Business IT Health
Monitoring business IT health is vital in guaranteeing compliance with internal and external regulations, in addition to ensuring business critical service level objectives. The spectrum of business workloads falls so sporadically in public clouds that the real-time visibility and analysis of business IT health becomes very complicated.

Organizational cloud adoption is becoming common nowadays but very minimally in public domains. Many companies rely on the legacy and critical workloads hosted on premises. Since business applications have spread across multiple geographic locations and one or more clouds, this geographical and functional fragmentation can potentially affect IT operations. The various teams managing these workloads also contribute to the lack of visibility into IT health, which in turn increases expenditure costs. Thus, it is very wise to keep a proper eye on business IT health.

3. Adding a Resiliency Safeguard
When a third party’s data is taken into custody, it naturally becomes the responsibility of the service provider to ensure its protection. The data cannot be said to be “safe” until, and unless, it is protected by a resiliency safeguard. Loss of potential data may likely impact the business’ financial and reputational aspects. It is mandatory to remain vigilant and prepared for an outage that is beyond any control; this can be achieved by implementing a resiliency solution for public cloud workloads other than the basic resiliency add-ons made available by the cloud provider. A robust solution, on the other hand, helps instantaneously alert a business when an outage occurs, and shifting of workloads to another zone or region in the cloud is quickly performed.

4. Being Prepared to Migrate out of the Cloud Whenever Needed
The custody of business workloads can often be tricky, especially when one opts to move out of the cloud. According to IDC’s 2016 Cloud Computing survey, Vendor lock-in is one of the prime concerns of organizations surveying the public cloud. Other pressing matters include the sourcing and storing of data, and the security of cloud computing solutions; this indicates how the custody of company data plays a vital role in strengthening the business’ backbone. Cloud platform vendors prefer to have a firm grip on the business’ data which, at times, has made foreign clients skeptical. For this reason, most public cloud vendors offer their own free native tools to migrate solutions to their cloud. However, with the organizational objective shifting, the goals often tend to diverge from their first states after a decade; this often results in the need to move out of the cloud platform. Therefore, the business must be ready to act upon the need of the hour. Companies need to be prepared to migrate out, if the need arises, which should not cause any disturbance to the organizational pace.

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