Migrating to the cloud: 2010 vs. 2020

Migrating to the cloud: 2010 vs. 2020

What is migration?

Migration is the process of an enterprise moving their data estate or applications to cloud to achieve scalability, accessibility, performance, and to meet the security/compliance requirement to better serve their customers, including both internal customers (such as marketing or finance teams, for example) and external customers.

In this era of constant innovation in data and technology solutions, moving appliances from on-premises environments to cloud data centers has become a necessity rather than a luxury. The cost, scalability, and overhead of maintaining an on-premises environment is huge, while migrating to the cloud enables organizations to decouple the overhead of infrastructure maintenance, making the cloud much more cost efficient.

Changes in migration from 2010 to 2020

Before the rise of cloud computing, businesses who adopted new technology usually did so because their existing technology had come to a point where there was a need to upgrade or update the solutions they had previously implemented. The need to upgrade was usually driven by a solution reaching its breaking point and/or a need to better serve the organization’s customers. Frequently, upgrade or update activities also focused on achieving superior cost efficiency and reducing COGS. The difference between upgrading/updating and migration is not subtle, however.

Upgrading or updating often includes buying new versions of the application to run on the same hardware, developing new features, and/or buying additional on-premises hardware to support increased load. Migration comprises of either lifting and shifting to newer technologies, applications, databases, or moving from on-premises to cloud infrastructure.

Every organization considering migrating their existing infrastructure or data platform to the cloud must think about the factors driving them towards the decision. Some (but not all) factors an organization should consider include:

    1. Comparing the cost of operating in their current environment vs a cloud implementation
    2. Comparing the required investment for the on-premises hardware vs cloud infrastructure
    3. Performance issues on-premises
    4. Productivity bottlenecks for on-premises vs cloud
    5. Man-hours required to maintain on-premises implementations
    6. Scalability bottlenecks for on-premises upgrades

What was the state of technology maturity and what were the options and concerns for migration in 2010?

In an internal memo in Microsoft on October 28, 2008, Ray Ozzie articulated the development of a disruptive platform that replicates Windows OS, .net applications, and Office. Little did everyone know, this platform would eventually become known as Azure IaaS, Azure PaaS, and Office 365. Microsoft Azure was positioned as the alternative option for Amazon EC2 and Google App Engine.

Microsoft Azure covered 4 main areas of technology driven businesses a decade ago:

    1. Web sites/API – which is for compute workloads
    2. Blob storage – which is a storage service
    3. Azure SQL Data Warehouse (now known as Azure Synapse Analytics)
    4. Azure Service Bus – which is a message bus service

Even after the launch, Azure was not enterprise friendly as it was missing key components supporting governance, security, compliance, monitoring, alerting, and DevOps. This resulted in the need for developers to acquire niche specializations and didn’t really allow for enterprises to comfortably migrate their on-premises environment to Azure.

As with any technological advancement, the biggest concerns for any business is business continuity and how disruptive it will be to migrate to a new solution. When considering adopting or migrating to a new technology, the primary question in any decision maker’s mind is, “how mature and dependable is the technology?” Little did anyone know, the next decade would include an amazing leap forward in creating new ways to address all concerns of the cloud technology world.

Progress of the decade

In the last decade, the migration process has evolved to the stage where most organizations that conduct migrations have a repeatable structure, process, and strategy to help any organization make the correct migration-related decisions. The structure of analyzing goals and planning to control the migration process has matured with the growth of Azure services.

It is sometime difficult to see if the speed at which new services become available on Azure exceeds the speed of market requirements or the vice versa. Compared to 2010, where Azure offered 10+ services, Azure now offers 250+ offerings, covering virtually all enterprise requirements.

It is now possible to achieve business objectives completely in the cloud with no presence on-premises while satisfying SLA targets, enabling compliance with industry standards, providing strong governance and monitoring capabilities, and quickly leveraging Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery solutions in the shortest possible timeframe. The missing capabilities required a decade ago are now possible in Azure cloud, allowing for organization stakeholders to be more confident and comfortable about the cloud migration.

With evolving technology and market needs, Azure has successfully kept up with the demand. As of today, Microsoft has 58 data centers serving more than 140 countries, ultimately providing the 4 pillars of any good architecture – Scalability, Performance, Accessibility and Security & Governance:

Azure region map

Azure currently has 58 regions worldwide and is available in 140 countries

Categories of the services available on Azure:

As mentioned above, the wide range of available technologies and solutions have provided organizations with flexibility to select Azure as their primary cloud migration option. Below are the main areas of expertise provided by Azure for virtually any industry vertical. (You can find full list of service offerings here)

      1. AI + Machine Learning
      2. Analytics
      3. Blockchain
      4. Compute
      5. Containers
      6. Databases
      7. Developer Tools
      8. DevOps
      9. Hybrid
      10. Identity
      11. Integration
      12. Internet of Things
      13. Management and Governance
      14. Media
      15. Migration
      16. Mixed Reality
      17. Mobile
      18. Networking
      19. Security
      20. Storage
      21. Web
      22. Windows Virtual Desktop

What this means for organizations considering cloud migration

In 2010, organizations considering migrating to the cloud were likely met with some skepticism and uncertainty about leveraging the cloud in their IT environment, and for good reason. While the core values of the cloud, such as cost effectiveness, scalability, and speed, remain the same, the security and selection of services and technologies were not nearly what they are today.

In 2020, there is little that can be done on-premises that can’t be done in the cloud, and usually done better and for a lower cost. Further, hurdles like time consuming migrations can be lowered by working with an experienced partner who is familiar with migration tools and has developed clear, repeatable processes for conducting migrations.

While there was valid reason to be cautious about migrating to a relatively new platform in 2010, those concerns have been largely mitigated as of 2020, making now a better time than ever to consider migrating to the cloud.

How can Neal Analytics help with your migration effort?

Neal Analytics has experts in strategy and technology to help our customers plan and execute cloud and other migrations. Our approach assures that the risk and disruption of migration activities is controlled and well documented to derive a ROI and ROV for the change.

While changes in operations in any organization based on new technology is almost always difficult for user acceptance, Neal Analytics strives to help organizations to identify personas within their organization, and depending on the personas, we help customers drive adoption of the new implementation by helping train or otherwise up- or cross-skill employees. This includes creating well thought out release management and proper documentation for user/scenario onboarding.

To receive more information on our approach and options, please Contact Us.

This article was also published on LinkedIn.