Case study


Leverage the cloud’s full benefits: essential steps before and after migrating to AWS cloud

In this article, you will learn:

Companies spend years building and fine-tuning their physical infrastructure to their specific business needs. However, there always comes a point in a company’s lifetime when cloud migration is given the green light. It is no surprise as the cloud is no longer just a necessity for business competitiveness, but is essential for building a future-fit IT infrastructure.

Multi-business organization Bauer Media Group had a bold ambition: to create an online comparison business of significant scale in the CEE region by merging, and they succeeded. This need prompted the company to seek a trusted partner who would give them peace of mind by replacing the existing, in-house developed CRM for Salesforce to boost the sales team’s effectiveness.

Gaining a truly comprehensive understanding of BMG’s customers across all countries relied on integrating Salesforce and legacy systems without making alterations to the latter, and under tight deadlines, as Nazar Spak, CCO & Partner at StormIT, explains: “The significant advantage of AWS cloud is a scalable, highly available infrastructure and the ability to have the client’s infrastructure spread across different availability zones and even different regions. The development team, no matter where they are in the world, can access resources as long as they have a browser and a reliable internet connection."

How to start overcoming cloud adoption hurdles

Modernizing or relocating a firm’s applications and data to the cloud is not without challenges, such as insufficient planning due to a lack of resources. Yet, the benefits are worth it and speak for themselves. “The beauty of cloud adoption is that companies no longer have to decide or calculate needed resources and capacity upfront, and, more importantly, purchase upfront the hardware that they're expecting to need. If organizations need more CPU, memory, or storage, they can simply add it on the fly,” says Spak. Navigating the terrain before and after migrating to AWS demands careful planning and execution. Here, we outline the critical steps to ensure a seamless AWS cloud adoption.

  • Choose the pilot application: Start by gaining insights into the existing condition of the infrastructure, data landscape, and applications. Figure out which specific apps you want to move to the cloud. Keep in mind that moving some apps may not bring financial benefits, and others could be too risky or challenging to relocate. A good starting point is choosing an app that is not critical for operation. Ideally, choose an isolated application that can be easily separated from the overall architecture and moved to the cloud as a standalone element. Typical examples of such apps could be file-sharing solutions or customer data management platforms.

  • Determine the requirements: Again, begin with taking a thorough look at your current system. Get to know its structure, components, dependencies, and performance characteristics. Then, clearly define the expected requirements for the cloud environment, such as accessibility, performance needs, degree of control over customization options, scalability, security, and compliance. Answers to these questions will help: How many resources will my organization need? What are the organization’s scalability plans? How long of an outage is acceptable? And crucially, to what extent is data loss acceptable? If a zero-data loss is the case, a different approach to building cloud architecture must be chosen.

  • Consider internal team members: Every organization is different. However, clients who have successfully implemented cloud migration initiatives established cross-functional teams. Based on interactions with dozens of companies across various industries, the key to success is tying cloud migration to higher-level business goals. Bringing both business and IT to the table increases the chances of ensuring success in identifying the goals and hitting the defined milestones. In case of cross-regional cloud migration, it is crucial to involve local IT teams who have in-depth knowledge of how the whole infrastructure functions.

  • Schedule a migration timeframe: The timeframe for your cloud migration can differ significantly based on the organization’s business complexity, the internal team's experience with the cloud, current IT infrastructure, operational needs, etc. The entire process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year from start to finish. To simplify and accelerate the migration, dividing the process into several manageable phases, each with its own action steps, competencies, and deliverables will be helpful. Such phases can run in parallel to speed up the whole process.

  • Establish the performance baseline: Clearly defining the requirements for technical performance is crucial. To achieve this, it is necessary to compare the current hardware performance of the organization with that offered by the cloud service provider. This comparison will serve as valuable input for correctly estimating the resources required for post-migration optimization and hardware performance tuning. Additionally, it will help prevent performance shortfalls and cost overestimation or underestimation. Having an overview of technical aspects will help you identify the ideal members to include in the team and give you a good hint on the preliminary timeframe.

  • Get help from AWS experts: Rather than focusing strictly on technical skills or AWS status, look for an accredited partner who can demonstrate similar experience to your type of business, can help you frame ideas, and persuade “cold” stakeholders by helping prepare a business case based on data-driven assessments. Then, they will tie it all together to deliver a fully functional solution.

After all, migrating to the cloud is not just about moving your existing infrastructure and applications. It involves a fundamental shift in the way various departments and stakeholders operate. This is where a cloud migration strategy comes in handy to ease large-scale migration without compromising security and compliance. “If it becomes apparent that certain requirements cannot be met in the cloud environment, we honestly acknowledge this and advise against migration. This transparent approach is highly valued by our customers,” he explains.

Select the right tools to orchestrate a seamless AWS migration journey

Without the right tools, migration projects can easily take months or even years. “We prioritize understanding the specific motivations of each customer. Therefore we carefully select the most suitable tools to do the job,” says Spak. Whether you are migrating hundreds or thousands of applications, AWS has a wide range of powerful tools to perfectly orchestrate the transition process. “It would not have been possible to deliver a solution to BMG without AWS’s pallet of tools, such as AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon AppFlow, Amazon EventBridge, specifically designed to troubleshoot issues.”

What’s particularly attractive about Amazon Web Services is it provides access to a broad set of global cloud-based products and services that allow StormIT to deliver a solution in under four weeks at an extremely low cost for AWS services, all of which is unthinkable with another cloud provider platform.

Migration is a marathon, not a sprint

When the dust is settled and the migration challenges are behind, you can turn to thinking about unlocking the further benefits that the cloud offers, such as improving applications and enhancing performance. Embracing the migration fully means not just transitioning to the cloud, but also providing comprehensive management of workloads, proactive monitoring, and swift incident resolution. We want our customers to be knowledgeable of what else can be gained from the transition,” says Nazar.

These post-migration activities are vital to keeping on track:

  • Find the solution for round-the-clock monitoring: The transition process cannot be properly leveraged without thorough visibility into the cloud. Therefore, collecting all the key metrics to assess the state of the migrated workload attains even more importance. Additionally, continuous monitoring of the cloud environment facilitates the prompt detection of under-utilized assets (or assets not utilized at all). This helps to identify whether any opportunities exist to optimize costs through asset deletion, termination, or release.

  • Go beyond standard optimization: Regularly reassessing post-migration resource deployment ensures that the sizing adequately copes with the current workload, newly introduced cloud services, and instances, as well as any updated code. Knowing precisely where optimization yields the most value means that a firm can direct invaluable IT resources toward developing applications with differentiated capabilities the competition does not have. Optimizing activities can also address security or resiliency issues.

Becoming an AWS client means joining the world’s largest community of CIO and IT leaders. Get access to programs available exclusively to partners all year long. Accelerate your time to value with the help of qualified migration experts.

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