Cloud Migration to AWS: Pre-Flight Considerations
Is the Cloud Right for Me?
Cloud migration to AWS offers great opportunities:
- quick expansion
- flexible rapid testing environments
- region accessibility
- access to new technologies
- reliability and redundancy
- and a myriad of others
More and more companies are moving to host their infrastructure in the cloud, but let’s stop to consider some things that may need more careful examination.
Cloud Migration to AWS: Fixed/Structured Budget
Concern: If you are on a strict budget month-to-month, AWS’s Pay-for-what-you-use model may not be a great fit. Depending on your application, you may experience seasonal usage spikes, which can generate monthly bills that are seldom consistent.
Response: No doubt, bills that flux month-to-month aren’t welcomed by most financial planners and makes budgeting more hectic. There are certainly a few services that can help. Using Reserved Instances vs On-Demand instances in EC2 sets some of your AWS bill to a consistent price over the term, with the added bonus of saving a little over On-Demand.
Regardless, paying less is always good. If your monthly bill, although not consistent month-to-month, is less, then who can argue? Paying for what you use, vs. paying the full price for what may have been a very slow month is very budget friendly.
Protip: AWS Pricing Calculator. “AWS Pricing Calculator lets you explore AWS services and create an estimate for the cost of your use cases on AWS. You can model your solutions before building them, explore the price points and calculations behind your estimate, and find the available instance types and contract terms that meet your needs. This enables you to make informed decisions about using AWS. You can plan your AWS costs and usage or price out setting up a new set of instances and services.”
Cloud Migration to AWS: Ownership
Concern: If you already own your hardware, or are in a lease-to-own contract, paying for hardware in the cloud indefinitely may cost more than you’re currently paying. This is especially true if you are operating new hardware.
Response: If you’ve just purchased hardware in your on-prem location, paying for hardware monthly in the cloud indeed doesn’t add up. However, as hardware ages, the cost of ownership increases as warranties expire and the need for replacement parts become all too frequent. The time required to replace failing hardware and to get back online, as well as potential data loss, is quite a liability. Paying for a warranty service can be an added financial burden, and the tupperware of bad hard drives do make your area rather untidy.
In the cloud, you can transition effortlessly to newer hardware if needed. Failed RAID cards, and a bad stick of RAM are a thing of the past. No need to pay for hardware that is obsolete by the time it’s paid off. The extra servers you need to purchase for a few weeks of extra capacity can be spun down and released until needed again.
Protip: Total Cost of Ownership Calculator. “I'm also hearing from customers that it can be challenging for them to do the right apples-to-apples comparisons between on-premises infrastructure and an infrastructure that is offered as a service. In practice, it is not as simple as just measuring potential hardware expense alongside utility pricing for compute and storage resources (read our TCO Whitepaper). We have noticed that customers struggle to compare the two models especially when they are trying to compare the TCO of a web application scenario that includes compute, storage, network access, load balancing and all the complements of the architecture.
“I am very happy to announce the new TCO Calculator for Web Applications. This tool should help anyone with even a base level of familiarity with infrastructure to generate a fact-based apples-to-apples TCO comparison for on-premises and AWS infrastructure.”
Cloud Migration to AWS: Location
Concern: Aloha! You operate an IT infrastructure for real estate agents in the exotic locations of Juneau, Honolulu, Cancún, Havana, and Aurba! If your client base resides in these scenic vistas, you may experience more latency than your current on-prem data center, as AWS regions have locations that can be geographically limited.
Response: Your app may not require lightning-fast reflexes, and a little bit of latency may not be noticed at all, especially considering the expected latency that is common in more remote locations. However, you may find that the closest AWS location may be equally performant to your current infrastructure. As AWS continues to grow, it will expand its regions, with new locations coming online.
Protip: Check your AWS latency and AWS Global Infrastructure Map. On the map, there’s listed several new locations coming soon, including Spain, New Zealand, and more. Not quite Cancún, but they certainly have their own scenic charm.
Cloud Migration to AWS: Skillsets
Concern: Perhaps your business is rather small and organized around a very robust, redundant infrastructure. Your team is small, and you know what you do and do it well. Migrating to the cloud may place new demands on your team, and you may need to hire engineers or consultants to handle the migration and operation of your stack. Indeed, the technology your on-prem infrastructure was built on may require a move to newer technology the cloud supports.
Response: Many of the same technologies operated on-prem you’ll also find in AWS. Linux, Microsoft Active Directory, MongoDB, and more are in AWS. The technical learning curve hinges on the AWS infrastructure, and migrating there from your on-prem location. AWS provides tools and resources that can help simplify and automate your migration. As cloud becomes more prevalent, these skills will no doubt become more imperative. In fact, contracting a resource who specializes in cloud migrations is becoming common, and can help your business make the transition smoothly with minimal downtime.
Protip: “AWS has developed the Well-Architected Framework to help customers architect their mission-critical applications on AWS with secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure. Well Architected can help you build and deploy faster, lower or mitigate risks, make informed decisions, and learn AWS best practices.”
AWS migration tools. “Find AWS and AWS Partner tools that can help you accelerate your migration to the AWS Cloud, based on where you are in your cloud journey.
Over the years, AWS and AWS Partners have developed a variety of tools to help accelerate cloud migration projects. These pages provide a compilation of tools that automate migration tasks, so that you can evaluate products, compare details, and select the tools that best meet your needs, depending on where you are in your cloud journey.”
Cloud migration to AWS (or another cloud provider) is becoming nearly inevitable for most companies. These four objections to migration are understandable, but are less compelling over time. So, to answer the question, “Is the cloud right for me?” The answer is always nearly YES.
For more cloud infrastructure trends, check out our blog. To get your cloud migration journey started, contact us.