As Amazon Web Services (AWS) instance options increase, selection, deployment, and management of the right solutions become more complex for businesses. The reality of that challenge is reflected in the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Survey, which indicates a lack of resources and expertise is still the number one challenge for businesses. Due to limited time, in-house IT team expertise, and personnel, businesses are increasingly looking to managed services partners to supplement their team and provide end-to-end assistance for AWS deployment.
With the stakes being so high for successful cloud migration, going at it alone or working with a cloud managed services provider (CMSP) is a key decision that must be made before cloud strategy development. Consequently, it is important to understand why having a managed services partner is foundational to a successful cloud migration and the needs that follow.
Like most IT organizations, your team must address operational considerations for AWS migrations and the potential issues that you must face in a learn as-you-go scenario. This can put a strain on your IT team's fulfillment of its everyday functions and duties.
Your chief concern is avoiding common migration challenges and unlocking the full potential of the public cloud. This is where the support from a cloud managed services provider delivers the experience of a long, in-depth focus on cloud services. Structured to provide comprehensive virtualization and cloud services support that can be customized to fit the needs of each business, an experienced CMSP has many benefits. Among them are:
- Augment your existing IT staff
- Provide ongoing cloud services support expertise
- Deliver all the IT infrastructure tools and services of an experienced IT services firm
- Leverage the latest tools and technologies to automate key management functions
Having the consulting support in all stages of cloud strategy development starts with a detailed assessment of your current IT infrastructure and application portfolio. Current state assessments help you determine migration readiness.
Current State Assessment and Cloud Strategy Consulting
Successful AWS deployments are built on meticulously designed cloud architectures customized to each business’s needs. That success hinges on a detailed assessment and mapping of the application portfolio to determine which workloads can be advantageously moved to the cloud.
The CMSP can provide application mapping support to determine the compute, storage, networking, and security architecture of each application and workload as well as application dependencies. Depending on needs, the CMSP can choose automation technology to streamline that process and lower the costs inherent to manual migrations.
Maximizing ROI of cloud migration is about leveraging current IT infrastructure and network solution investments with the public cloud. With managed services support, you can optimize current on-premises IT infrastructure investments so that a gradual transition to the cloud is both cost effective and non-disruptive.
Here is where the cloud strategy must take data security and regulatory considerations into account, which may mean a hybrid cloud approach. A CMSP can design managed services to enable hybrid cloud capabilities and integrated management of resources as a means to leverage both public and private cloud. This enables you to streamline business processes, ensure data security, and develop business continuity and disaster recovery options. All of these aspects are part of the managed service provider’s migration process management.
Migration Process Management
Major public cloud providers such as AWS have more than 70 different instance categories with new instance configurations added constantly. Some workloads are conducive to a “lift and shift” process, while others require optimization or even refactoring, which is a time- and labor-intensive process.
More importantly, some applications cannot be moved to the cloud at all. Determining where applications and workloads fit in this matrix and then fitting them to AWS instances for optimized workload images is a big job that managed services can streamline.
Developing and guiding the migration process so that applications and infrastructure can be moved to cloud instances is what converts your Capex to Opex. Scripting needs can make this process time-consuming and error prone, thereby resulting in non-operational cloud applications and workloads. A skilled CMSP can guide your business through the process so that the migration is both cost-effective and successful.
Security, Compliance, and Cost Management
The three biggest challenges businesses face when running systems in AWS Cloud are performance monitoring, security and compliance, and cost optimization. CMSPs have cloud management tools that allow them to efficiently manage and monitor performance, deliver security and compliance regulation adherence, governance, provisioning, and more. These services enable your IT team to keep your AWS cloud environment running optimally at peak performance.
This requires not only the proper tools but also experience with AWS technical support and account management as well as advanced network administration. Cloud managed services providers with numerous custom migration projects and a strong relationship with AWS are in the best position to deliver those results.
According to a recent Forrester brief that was also profiled in a TechRepublic article, "labor costs can make up 50 percent of public cloud migration." CMSPs deliver the skilled migration team and effective measurement and management of usage and spend that delivers maximum process optimization while lowering Capex and Opex.
A cloud managed services provider understands how best to apply these features, services, and technologies based on countless migrations and a strong partnership with AWS. Since most companies only have one chance to take the right migration path, it makes business and fiscal sense to have a partner who’s traveled that road and knows all the twists, turns, and potential bumps.