What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing means delivering a range of services through the Internet instead of your computers hard drive, including storing and accessing data and programs. As long as your electronic device has access to the web, it has access to the data and the software programs to run it.
At Westgate, we can help you go completely Cloud. We will recommend the necessary technologies and software, helping you select from a range of Cloud Services that are tailored for your business needs.
We provide our customers an effective budget centric path to Cloud environments. Our teams have successfully migrated dozens of our clients to a Cloud based environment, including Public and Private Clouds.
Cloud Migration and Consultation
- 1Lift-and-Shift Migration
- 2Lift-and-Refit Migration
- 3The Cloud Modernisation
- 4Migration Phase 1 – Discovery
- 5Migration Phase 2 – Analysis
- 6Migration Phase 3 – Target
In a ‘Lift-and-Shift’, the emphasis is on migration speed and cost. Systems are moved from their current location e.g. a hosting provider or internal data centre and are moved to a Cloud provider with little or no change to the architecture or configuration.
As time is not often spent rethinking the architecture, the time required to make a move is typically very quick. The downside of this approach is that the application may not be taking full advantage and benefits of the Cloud like auto-scaling.
In Lift-and-Shift the Cloud is treated as an on-demand, pay-per-use hosting environment.
A popular approach to Cloud Migrations is the ‘Lift-and-Refit’. Here, the applications are re-deployed onto a Cloud with a moderate number of changes that allow them to take advantage of many of the popular Cloud capabilities such as:
- Auto-healing & recovery
- Data backup & restore
- Auto-scaling (up/down) based on current or predicted usage
- Orchestrated provisioning
- Monitoring & alerting
In a Lift-and-Refit, there are typically no code changes made to the system. The refitting occurs outside of the code by repackaging the software and giving the Cloud environment enough information about the software to automate common operational activities, leading to reduced maintenance.
In a Cloud Modernization effort, the application is redesigned from the ground-up with the assumption that it will be deployed in a Cloud environment.
Reengineering applications for a native Cloud environment provide the greatest degree of flexibility however are also the most costly in the short term. Over time, the new application may provide enough benefits related to reduced administrative costs, reduced computing charges or other cost recovery vehicles to warrant an overhaul.
Talk to one of our Cloud Services experts.
Migration Transition Phase 1 – Discovery
Discovery of Current Assets and Usage – In a cloud migration, it is necessary to identify the inventory of current assets and the extent to which they are used. Some of these may move to the cloud, some may be decommissioned and others may stay in their current location.
Discovery of Topologies and Dependencies – Many applications span multiple machines with complex multi-tiered topologies. Even simple applications often have dependencies on storage devices, or network settings. Understanding the web of dependencies is critical to a successful migration.
Discovery of Platforms and Licenses – It is common to find that some applications have dependencies on operating systems or platforms that are not supported by the cloud providers. Some commercial applications have software licenses that are based on CPU’s, cores, memory, etc. that may affect the pricing of the software.
Discovery of SLA’s, Security and Compliance – Applications will have different levels of importance to the business. Some will require very high up-time, response time, security or may have to adhere to government regulations. Applications that require HA, low-latency IOPS, data encryption or similar, will need to be identified so that equivalent cloud solutions are made available.
Migration Transition Phase 2 – Analysis
Cloud Feature/Fit Analysis – By using industry best practices and the information gathered in the Discovery phase, the portfolio of applications can be quantitatively analysed to identify which systems are candidates for cloud migration.
Provider Analysis – For companies that have multiple cloud providers, the analysis will indicate which cloud provider has best-fit for a given workload.
Contract Model Analysis – For workloads being migrated to an external cloud provider, the contractual model will vary. Models include: on-demand pricing, reserved instances, dedicated instances, bid/ask, etc.
Sizing Analysis – As systems are migrated to the cloud, it is necessary to allocate the right amount resources for them. Compute instances, storage devices and network bandwidth must all be appropriately aligned to the system needs based on data obtained in the Discovery phase.
Migration Phase 3 – Target
Establish the Migration Toolkit – Identify the appropriate toolkit to enable both one-time and repeat installations, configurations, validations and exception analysis.
Migrate Infrastructure – VM, OS, Load balancing requirements, Network security: NAT, firewalls, disk
Migrate Applications, Platforms and Data – migrate multi-tiered custom applications, packaged applications, middleware platforms, database, turnkey systems (Exchange, LDAP, Active Directory, …)
Migrate Operations Services – Reinstate VPN’s, monitors and alarms, disk backup and restore, etc.
Validate Migration – Ensure that the systems have been migrated without loss of fidelity in functional and non-functional requirements.
Talk to one of our Cloud Services experts.
The Migration Process
Establish an Owner Responsible for the Migration Process
The process of migrating to the Cloud for the medium and large enterprise can be a significant effort. To start the initiative Westgate provide an executive owner, business champion and cross-discipline transition team.
Establish the Scope and Business Case
Cloud migrations can be large efforts that require an initial investment before the payback. It is important to establish the intended scope of systems that are being targeted for migration.
To support the program, a business case should be published that articulates the efficiency, agility or cost savings goals. The initial pass on scope doesn’t have to be perfect but it should indicate an initial sizing.
As you get deeper into the program, the scope will vary as some systems will be identified as good candidates to migrate while others will be removed from the list.
Establish the Target Clouds
In many cases, our clients have already established their target Clouds, either private or public offerings. Those who haven’t will go through the exercise of identifying the Cloud Service Providers (CSP) for their workloads. This selection process reviews the CSP’s offerings, SLA’s, prices, geographies, customer satisfaction records, and more.
For Private Cloud, the effort focuses on reviewing commercial and open source solutions and the appropriate architecture. Either way, the initial Clouds are usually non-production (dev, test, DR). It is important to stabilize the operations of the Cloud prior to moving business critical workloads.
Get in touch
If your IT department isn’t putting you first, request a call from one of our team.
There is no obligation, just a chat about your current situation and how we can help.
What our customers say…
… a reliable IT system is essential for both our administration and research work carried out by our Research Engineers. Westgate IT has been providing complete support for our network since April 2001 and during this period we have formed a strong working relationship. Westgate IT have worked hard to understand the nature of our business and are able to offer pro-active advice as well as regular maintenance to ensure that we have a stable and reliable network.Admin Manager – Leading Tech Research Company
Westgate IT have worked with us as we have grown, supporting us every step of the way. They have been there for both the strategic advice and the day to day support. The team have been knowledgeable and effective in maintaining our systems on a day to day basis without any down time – they also have a sense of humour and can put across the technical without making you feel totally inadequate.Nigel Pugh – Education Advocacy