Migrating Enterprise to the Cloud: A Simple Explanation

Last year we published a step-by-step guide to enterprise cloud migration. The article spoke to the pros and cons, but mainly to the overwhelming benefits of taking on such an endeavor. If you’re an engineer, that equipment was written with you in mind.  The thing is, we’re not all engineers, and some of us are in a position, or on a task force, that needs to weigh the potential return on investment of an on-site to cloud migration. This article is for you. We’ve broken it down so simply; you’ll be able to not only to answer the question ‘What is cloud migration’ and impress your colleagues with what you’ve learned, you’ll be able to explain the value of a cloud migration to your mother. She’ll be so proud.

What is cloud migration?

The bottom line for any enterprise is just that: the bottom line. As such, each investment and any future planning that a company makes must show ROI. Today, enterprise business is completely dependent on technology, and many companies are tech businesses. As a business grows and expands, it requires more technology. Until the advent of cloud computing, to scale (grow) technology, businesses needed to continuously invest in updating, maintaining, and training with new hardware and software. To keep current required significant capital and space, and often created a lot of waste. While companies could amortize their investments in hardware, there was no way to recoup money put into aging software. Now, you probably know all of this already, but I wanted to make sure you could explain it to your mother.

Until the advent of cloud computing, to scale (grow) technology, businesses needed to continuously invest in updating, maintaining, and training with new hardware and software. To keep current required significant capital and space, and often created a lot of waste. While companies could amortize their investments in hardware, there was no way to recoup money put into aging software. Now, you probably know all of this already, but I wanted to make sure you could explain it to your mother.
What most lay-people don’t understand is the value of a company migrating from on-premise to the cloud. The great thing is, an enterprise migration is an investment that will yield returns that will benefit not only the company but their shareholders and customers as well. And, cloud migrations are beneficial for businesses of all sizes, small, medium, and enterprise.

The cloud: Flexible and adaptable

For further explanation, I’m going to use the analogy of a house as server space, and the owners of the house are a couple whose children are grown. When the couple first bought the house, they knew they wanted to create a family, have children and pets, and entertain often. So they purchased a house they could grow into, even though they didn’t need all of the space right away. They knew they wouldn’t even use the basement until the kids were teenagers. Until that time, the basement tended to collect a lot of junk and would flood a bit every time it rained for more than three days. Eventually, the children grew up, and the parents turned the basement into a fun place for the kids to hang out with their friends. Over the years, they also modernized the kitchen and the bathrooms and even redid the wood floors.

As the years passed, and the children started families of their own, the parents’ home was no longer the center of family life.  So, the parents were left with this great looking house that was too big and required too much upkeep.

Now, if you’re a company with on-premise computing, you’re kind of in the same situation. You want to be able to grow and provide for innovation and diversification without being bogged down by outdated and under-utilized resources. Today, to leverage the most out of technology, a business must be flexible and agile. Migrating your on-premise apps to the cloud is the best way to ensure you’ll be able to grow with ease and make your apps accessible when they most need to be.
No business offering is in demand at the same pace, in the same amount, in the same location, by the same demographics, at the same time. This goes for all businesses, from small mom and pop coffee shops to multinational conglomerates. A quick example is retail. The most important season for retail shopping is the period leading up to Christmas, bar none. But for the rest of the year, shopping only has minor lifts. So, if you’re a company in retail with an online presence, your website and apps get a lot of traffic during the holiday season, but not so much the rest of the year. Maintaining the on-premise tech year-round to support one month of holiday traffic would be a waste of money and resources. On the other hand, not being able to meet customer demand during the most important season would be catastrophic for the business.

Knowing where to start: Rehost and Refine

Here’s the thing. In concept, migrating to the cloud seems like a very sound investment to make. The problem is knowing where to start. At least that’s what Cloud Academy has heard from some of our clients. If you’re considering a cloud migration there are a few general ideas to keep in mind: First and foremost, make a plan. Second, if you’ve been successful with on-premise management, you’re going to do fantastic with cloud migration and management—once you’ve migrated your apps, it’s basically everything you’ve done before without the headache of space design and immense hardware maintenance.

The article I referred to before, Cloud Migration to the Enterprise: The 5 “R’s” of Cloud Migration: Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild, and Replace goes deep into the benefits and examples of how to manage migration. As I’ve mentioned before, that article is speaking to engineers. For those of us who aren’t engineers but want to understand how an enterprise cloud migration is managed, I’ll explain two important R’s: Rehost and Refine (continuously).

Rehost. This is a pretty simple concept. Rehosting means moving your app(s) from your on-premise servers to a cloud provider. The leading providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. None of your coding needs to be rewritten, you just take your app and drop it into a cloud provider. Well, your engineers will do this. You’re taking that party from a single table in the private dining room to the main dining room, where tables and chairs could be added or taken away on-demand and seamlessly. Of course, you’ll be paying for cloud hosting, but you won’t need to spend time or money on planning or for expansion and reconfiguration. And all of the flexible response happens in real-time, and there is no need to gear up or scale back true agility.

Refine. Migrating to the cloud allows you to easily refine your code. Let’s say your e-commerce channels are diversifying and your customer segmentation is growing. You will want to add a search feature to make their user experience easy. When you have your apps on the cloud, adding a search function becomes completely scalable.

One of the greatest benefits of enterprise cloud migration is that once you’ve migrated, you’re able to take advantage of native cloud application development (NCA). These types of development applications are designed to allow different teams the benefit of designing, implementing, and launching app updates independently of each other, and in a streamlined method. Even though teams can work autonomously, it is imperative that organizations adhere to the same guidelines and standards, and benefit from a shared holistic calendar of sprints.

Think of all of the different app micro-services you use when you place a Lyft request. Each step is supported by a different team:

  1. Lyft identifies where you are
  2. You input where you want to go, and a route is created
  3. If you want, you can see an estimate based on the type of cars available for your route, and the size of the traveling party
  4. If there’s a big event happening in the vicinity, surge-pricing will appear (BOO! but a function nonetheless)
  5. You request a driver – sometimes based on ratings, location, timing
  6. You wait impatiently for said driver and watch the car’s progress on your app
  7. You are notified that the driver is almost there
  8. Your driver arrives
  9. You check out an entirely different app, like Facebook or Instagram
  10. You arrive at your destination and can decide to share the cost or pay in full
  11. You can give your driver a rating

While all of these actions are occurring through the app with your experience, similar ones are happening for the driver. A lot is going on. Remember this the next time Lyft says your driver will arrive in five minutes and ends up taking seven.

Each of these app microservices is supported by a team. Enterprise cloud migration and native cloud application development allow the teams to deploy function updates autonomously from what other teams are developing. This keeps the cars moving, and your business in the fast lane.

Team skills for Cloud Migration

Now that you have a primer for understanding some of the central value propositions for enterprise cloud migration, consider the training your teams and organization need. Are you thinking about an AWS migration, Microsoft Azure, or maybe Google Cloud Platform? Does your organization need training with DevOps? Whatever specialization you’re considering, Cloud Academy offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date continuous learning courses, videos, hands-on labs, and learning paths.

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