Planning for a Cloud Server Migration in Your FY21 Budget

According to Gartner, Inc, “The worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 6.3% in 2020 to total $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion in 2019.” Some estimates place expected growth in public cloud adoption even higher, given the way the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across Australia.

If your organisation hasn’t yet adopted cloud computing (either fully or in part), there’s a good chance it’s a topic of conversation in your FY21 budget planning process. To support companies in this situation, the team at cubesys recently hosted a workshop on cloud migrations, covering everything from the drivers that lead to cloud adoption, to the frameworks that can be used to guide the migration process and minimise down-time, data loss and other potentially negative consequences.

If you weren’t able to join us, we’ve recapped a few of the session’s key takeaways below. We hope you find them useful, no matter where your organisation is in the cloud migration process.

Cloud Migration Drivers

Before we get into the process of planning for a cloud server migration, let’s first address why doing so might be beneficial. A few of the drivers we see with clients on a day-to-day basis include:

  • Cash flow challenges, as cloud computing offers the ability to transfer CAPEX to OPEX so that organisations can pay based on what they consume, vs. making major investments in on-prem infrastructure.
  • Business continuity, which is a big challenge right now given the need to scale environments up and down quickly to enable remote working as we move into and out of COVID-related lockdowns.
  • A need to better manage surges in demand, which the elasticity of the cloud is particularly well suited to.
  • Cybersecurity considerations, such as the need to reduce the organisation’s threat landscape through a more consolidated computing approach.
  • Data centre contracts coming up for expiration, combined with growing internal awareness into the costs and responsibilities associated with maintaining on-prem data centres.

Financial Considerations When Migrating to the Cloud

If you’re seeing evidence of any of the above drivers within your organisation, it’s likely that a cloud migration is already on your radar. You may have even begun the process already.

No matter when you are in the cloud migration process, be aware that several opportunities exist to optimise costs, both during and after the migration. During the migration, for example, consider:

  • Using the Azure TCO Calculator to model on-premises vs. Azure costs.
  • Leveraging Azure Migrate assessment guidance to right-size the Azure resources required for your migration.
  • Looking into both Azure Hybrid Benefit & Azure Reserved Instances for opportunities to save money.
  • Taking part in the Azure Migration Program to save on migration costs.

Post-migration, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Use Azure Advisor recommendations to identify cost-savings opportunities, such as resources that are being under- or over-utilised.
  • Implement cost controls with Azure Policy that put guidelines around where your resources are (and what they are). From a governance piece, for example, this might mean ensuring you’re only deploying the right virtual machines in the right areas.
  • Define and control your budgets and spending allocations with Azure Cost Management to gain granular control around every piece of your economy.

If you’re not in cloud today, and you’re moving that direction, it’s important to keep in mind that cloud is a new discipline – and it’s one that needs to be tracked and managed almost every day. When we set budgets in the past to buy equipment or support on-prem data centres, that was a very different buying cycle.

Today, in a cloud environment, it’s important to make sure that costs are optimised on a daily basis. When managed appropriately, however, you may be able to access up to 3.6X faster performance and an 84 per cent lower price per transaction (based on SQL server performance on Azure IaaS over a three-year pricing model), according to estimates from Microsoft.

The Azure Migration Journey

It’s important to note that migration will look different for every organisation. For some, the process will be quite linear and straightforward. Others might begin the process and recognise that they need some technical skilling, or that they need to engage a partner who can look at their landing zone environment and understand how those landing zones come together, as well as how they can be deployed and delivered in a consistent approach.

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure offers a good structure for thinking about the migration journey.

Key steps in the framework include:

  • Define Strategy, including understanding the motivations behind migration, the desired business outcomes (as well as the justifications for pursuing them), and how projects will be prioritised according to these motivations.
  • Plan, including leaning on assessments (such as the Strategic Migration Assessment & Readiness Tool) to establish cloud preparedness and identify an appropriate migration approach, in addition to planning for change management within the organisation.
  • Ready, including planning the first landing zone, expanding the blueprint, and/or validating the proposed migration plan against current best practices.
  • Adopt, including either migrating the first planned workload or leveraging an innovation guide to drive innovation or process improvement across expanded scenarios.

Along the way, both governance and management issues are addressed by establishing baselines and benchmarks in order to evolve program maturity according to existing standards.

So, again, cloud migrations are rarely simple or linear, but they are repeatable processes. And with the right framework in place – such as the cloud adoption framework described above – you can make it a repeatable process for you and your applications or your environments. Azure blueprints using composable artifacts and landing page blueprints can further help to streamline the migration process.

Advanced Azure Migration Considerations

For a more complete discussion of Azure migrations – including topics such as .NET app modernisation, role-based access control, tag management and subscription design considerations – view the full recording from our session below:

Or, for a more personalised discussion regarding your organisation’s cloud migration needs in FY21, reach out to cubesys to arrange a consultation. Our team of experienced consultants can help you better understand the impact a cloud migration journey could have on your business in the coming financial year.