Organizations are increasingly becoming more eager to take the plunge and migrate to the Amazon Web Services public cloud. While Gartner predicted that more than 50 percent of enterprises will have adopted a hybrid cloud approach by 2017, the challenges they have to overcome are quite significant. Moving to the cloud is not a single step, as it comes in different shapes and forms. Deciding to migrate one of more services from on-premises, third party hosting, or a managed service to some cloud, is only the beginning. Here are the five main steps to consider while migrating to AWS cloud.
The first step towards cloud is to understand your current IT capabilities and aligning them with your strategic goals. A comprehensive AWS ROI assessment report, can help you get a real view of the efficiencies, cost savings, and guaranteed business continuity that comes with AWS. ROI assessments can help forecast and identify the costs and benefits of AWS for your business based on usage, applications, and requirements.
The next stage involves mapping and aligning your cloud journey to your business goals. Now that you know what services are needed, you should understand which ones can be optimally provided via the cloud. Depending on your team size and resources, you can choose Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which involves doing a lot of work; Platform as a Service (PaaS), which is less cumbersome; and Software as a Service (SaaS), which is most convenient. It’s recommended to retain core business applications in-house, but move non-core services to the cloud. For complex organizations, the optimal solution could be a hybrid of public cloud, managed cloud, and private cloud.
It’s important to begin cloud migration with the right apps or services. If the initial migrations are successful, it will set the tone for the entire process. However, if the early projects hit roadblocks, they’re more likely to result in reduced enthusiasm. Pick projects which are non-critical and ensure you have monitoring and logging systems set up correctly. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of your environment, with alarms, dashboards, and logs for all the key metrics and incidents generated within your AWS environment.
Securing data in the cloud can be very complicated. It’s not as simple as handing over all your data to a public cloud provider as they may not meet the security, compliance, or availability requirements that you need. The truth is public cloud providers adhere to strict compliance protocols and can implement higher security levels than on-premise installations. AWS infrastructure is HIPAA and PCI-DSS standards compliant. It’s critical to setup role based access to services and resources, to ensure total account security. Thorough reporting and alerting can help you find vulnerabilities and fix them quickly.
If your IT environment is expected to grow over time, it’s best to design scalable infrastructure in the cloud, which can support the increased traffic, while maintaining high performance. Vertically scaling infrastructure involves increasing a specific resource, and horizontal scaling is increasing the number of similar resources. AWS enables scalability and automation, which can greatly benefit your business. You can automate the scaling process using policies that will scale resources up or down, depending on the usage being below or above a certain threshold.
Migrating to AWS can be a huge project, especially in mid-to-large sized companies. Don’t try and introduce very big changes, as they could lead to initial disappointment and loss of excitement. Follow the guidelines, do your research, and present a clear and concise plan to win over your sceptics.