Migration of critical work processes into the Public Cloud

Datum: 13.06.2019

The question is not if but when!

The biggest difficulty with the migration of critical workloads is to break down outdated structures and work out a functioning, secure and controlled planning and implementation without downtime. However, the advantages of a cloud solution are worth the risk because it has been shown in the past that it is usually more profitable and safer to manage workloads in the cloud. In the following article we will show you what you have to pay attention to during the migration and which stumbling blocks arise.

Advantages

A migration is always fraught with risks. So why go down this labour-intensive path? Several surveys and studies have shown that public cloud solutions offer a wide range of advantages in terms of technology, costs, security and availability.

Verantwortung delegierenThese include global availability, greater agility and cost savings in relation to the TCO (pay-as-you-go) while simultaneously increasing efficiency. The greater agility in particular can lead to an increase in the speed of innovation and thus increase the future viability of the company. Therefore the question is not so much whether but when you migrate your critical workloads into the public cloud.

A not negligible advantage, especially at management level, is the delegation of responsibility. Thus, the service provider is significantly responsible for the availability, security and functionality of the cloud infrastructure, but control remains in-house at all times. This externalization is a great advantage, especially for companies with limited personnel capacities, both in depth and breadth. The https://gridscale.io/en/why-gridscale/cloud provider → ideally offers a clear and direct point of contact.

Advantages of migration explained at gridscale customers Butlers

In the course of the insolvency of the Cologne-based decoration specialist Butlers and as part of the reorganization strategy, one objective was to reduce the complexity of the IT infrastructure in order to save costs on the one hand and to increase the speed of innovation on the other.

The IT infrastructure receives data streams from the Butlers-Webshop, the platforms, the own shops and the ordering systems of trading partners. The complexity is further increased by the enormous fluctuations in retail data traffic: database transactions range from 5,000 to 12,000 per second. These fluctuations are not cushioned by permanently stocked IT capacities, but by on-the-fly scaling and auto scaling within seconds. At the same time, the warehouse servers are shut down at 16:00, for example, and Butlers only pays for the resources actually used.

The migration itself plus the configuration of 17 servers to gridscale only cost the three-person project team one and a half days of work. Result: The insolvency has ended and the company has been restructured. What’s more, Butlers is growing again, both online and offline.

Challenges

When migrating critical work processes, there are several stumbling blocks that need to be considered. For example, there must be no downtime during migration or later operation. To avoid this, you should consider a few points on your way to the cloud. Above all, consistent data monitoring using defined KPIs during the entire migration process is important. Factors that should be given special attention are: Latency, cloud security, role-based access control, individual network configurations, throughput and performance.

Planning

Before you actually start with the migration, you should first identify the (company)critical workloads and evaluate the system and company requirements for the cloud environment. All components of the workloads to migrate should be considered: physical and virtual servers, databases, resource management, networks, storages, APIs, and data formats.

In addition, a comparison of the costs and expenses of a managed public cloud with those of an in-house operation (from all points of view: more responsibility, service contracts with hardware suppliers, etc.) and an honest assessment of one’s own know-how is useful.

When looking for a suitable provider or the right cloud solutions, it is, of course, primarily the business and technical requirements that matter. The solutions can then look quite different. For certain applications, a private cloud, a public cloud, a managed cloud server or a hybrid cloud may make sense.

Practical tip: In addition to many advantages, such as the protection of particularly sensitive data in the private cloud, the hybrid cloud also has the disadvantage that a complex IT infrastructure is required to ensure communication between the individual systems.

Once your own framework conditions have been clarified and a perfect cloud service provider has been found, a migration plan (roadmap) is indispensable. (You will find all the points at the end of this article in our practical checklist). This should define the necessary work steps, the required resources, the monitoring as well as the responsibilities and duties internally and externally. In addition, experience shows that a review at the end of the process or after defined milestones can be helpful to improve the processes for future migrations. Following the recommended steps in detail and chronologically sorted.

Migration

Once the roadmap is defined, the actual migration can begin. During the process, it must be ensured that any problems and road blocks that could not have been foreseen in the planning and preparation can be reactively resolved on the run. Close cooperation with your cloud provider is particularly important here.

Practical tip: clarify in advance the availability of your own team and that of the provider at the time of migration.

In the actual migration, you should proceed step-by-step and move non-critical workloads first to test the functionality of the process. After a positive migration of the test systems, the main processes can be deployed.

Monitoring & Review

After the migration, the validation of the cloud improvement (confirm successful use of the cloud service) and an acceptance test (One-Premises-Performance vs. Cloud Performance) are two important tasks to measure the success of the migration.

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