Migrating to the Azure Cloud - Overview

Nowadays, many businesses have at least one workload running in the cloud; whether it’s an email provider list, Office365, or a CRM like salesforce.com. However, cloud services may not be suitable for every business. While cloud environments are scalable and highly reliable, these must not be the only considerations in making a decision. 

For companies considering a migration to the cloud it is important to understand the benefits along with the risks of a move like this, as well as the type of service models that are available. This post will provide a high level review of the necessary elements for a successful migration to the cloud.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

The benefits of moving to the cloud range from availability to reliability and cost. Not only does it resolve existing data and storage management problems, the cloud is a proven solution that is only getting better. Here are some scenarios that would benefit from a cloud migration:
  • Your data storage needs are in constantly growing, thus costing more and more in upkeep and reliability. In this case, a move to the cloud, will allow you to scale storage capabilities with better security and without breaking the budget.
  • You would like to lower your IT operational costs while increasing the effectiveness of your infrastructure. Your application is experiencing traffic growth and it’s becoming a challenge to scale resources with demand to accommodate the growth.
  • You would like to lower your business IT expense by incorporating a pay-as-you-go model with minimal implementation costs, scalability, and less downtime.

Is there a risk in Cloud Migration?

The short answer is - Yes!
Moving to the cloud requires a thorough understanding of what is actually needed. The risks of migrating to the cloud can only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as each migration requires unique scenarios. 

For example: You already have an existing infrastructure or application setup that meets your needs, requires minimal maintenance, and garners rave reviews from satisfied customers. Why bother to mess with it?

It is also important to consider that once a cloud platform is chosen, it might be difficult to change to another vendor. This stresses my first point which was that a complete picture of the migration plan must be made beforehand that ensures not only your current needs but your future growth needs. 
 
[Note: I will cover how to evaluate your cloud migration needs in a future post]


Cloud Service Model

Once you decide on the cloud, you will need to pick a model that fits your migration needs. The most common cloud service models are:

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service consists of Container Service and Virtual Machines. These allow you to have control over how you run each service. However, they also require you to be responsible for things like the operating system, security, and load balancing. E
Examples: Azure, AWS, Google Compute Engine

PaaS: Platform as a Service are ready to work on platforms that allow you to run your application without worrying about the operating system. You will still be responsible for some configurations but most services will automatically scale.
Examples:  Azure App Services, Azure Search, Google App Engine

SaaS: Software as a Service; with SaaS you just use the service you need. No need to build it or maintain it. You just need to configure it and manage it. This works great for certain types of apps and tools which you do not need to modify or customize.
Examples: Office365, Google Apps, SalesForce.Com

As you can see, IaaS is best suited for organizations that prefer to outsource their physical infrastructure to a third-party data center. This is normally so that the team can concentrate more on developing, deployment, and monitoring. PaaS is ideal for software developers as it allows control over the application without worrying about the operational side. SaaS is mainly built around productivity tools and is subscription-based.

Cost

Many cloud providers will have pricing calculators that help determine the estimated costs after the migration versus current costs. A tool like Cloudamize allows you to compare costs across multiple platforms. There a number of ways to migrate your applications to the cloud and thus even more ways to implement services without interrupting your current process while keeping costs proportionate to the plan and budget.  
 
Conclusion
I hope this high level overview of the different elements in cloud migration provided with you with enough understanding of what a well-thought out cloud migration can do for your business. We at CSW Solutions, are always here to help and you can contact us directly to discuss this further or take a tour of the services we provide by visiting our page; we are here to help you get started on your path to the cloud!