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article 20 Mar 2018

Cloud migration. Simple steps to improve business performance.

Difficult economic situation still affects business and the IT sphere is not among the exception. A lot of companies try to save on infrastructure or even “extend” expenses. Here they are helped by hosting providers who offer to post data and the staff workplace in the cloud.
Currently, hosting providers offer almost the entire range of the required services, from simple backuping and data storage, to team work organization among the geographically distant staff members, and in general providing companies with the required computational performance without any need to buy powerful equipment and spend money on its maintenance.
Another issue is the software license lease. It becomes more profitable to lease SW than to buy the entire soft kit for every machine.
One should not forget that the transfer of the capital expenses into operational ones makes it possible to save on taxes.
Market conditions which include price rise for equipment, employment cost fall and competition growth among hosting providers, turns the transfer of the IT infrastructure to the cloud a more than economically sound.

For example, if your company has 10 servers with the average cost of $20,000 it requires the following:
•Provision of uninterruptible power supply, connection and cooling. The stand consumes about 25 kW per hour, taking cooling into account
•Gigabit transmission link
•Plus at least two specialists who are ready to monitor the equipment day-and-night.
All in all you need about $170,000 as initial capital investment, and every month you need at least $5,000, not including the expenses for the failed equipment.

If you lease the same capacity from a vps provider, it will cost about $10,000 with no need to arrange own infrastructure and a support team.
As you see the economy is simple, you will annually spend $150,000 for the cloud, but having your own infrastructure during the same period will require $240,000. The expenses for both directions will even in two years, when you already spent $290,000 for your own infrastructure, and $300,000 for the cloud one.
But in this case you will not have to think about the equipment and the team. Moreover, a lot of providers will grant an extra discount for such an order. One should not forget that you can change the size of your infrastructure at any time, increasing or decreasing it just addressing the provider, and the way it is implemented is up to it. In this case you pay only for the things you really need, and here you can save even more.
Luckily, there is a great variety of hosters and you can choose any virtualization environment, any OS and the accompanying services. It is really possible to organize business in an online environment.
Let’s consider the technical aspect of moving from the own infrastructure to a cloud one. We will not waste time on simple examples when a company needs to customize backup.
Let’s imagine that your company provides public services, for instances, it is a bank. How to transfer the entire bank infrastructure to the cloud?
Let’s move step by step:
1.Evaluation of the stored information for the possibility to store and process it by a third party (it is more likely, that the bank will not give the entire information, remaining with some of it)
2.Evaluation of the current resource bank base in relation to real requirements for data storage (it is more likely that it will be possible to optimize servers capacities, which are used when storing and working with data)
3.Evaluation of the software component when working with the data (which SW is required for operation, from the operation system to the data base version and web service)
4.Elaboration of the plan for staged transition of the services from the own infrastructure to the cloud one, with complete doubling during the transition stage
5.Testing for failure and operation correctness after the implementation of each transition stage.
Implementing migration for vps server, it is more likely, that each hosting provider will be able to help you at every stage, as it is on its behalf: on the one hand it needs a customer, on the other hand, the migration should be implemented with no failures and provide qualitative operation during the entire service period, as hosting owners also want to sleep sound. Let’s consider in brief the content of the stages.

1. Evaluation of the stored information for the possibility to store and process it by a third party
First of all it is necessary to divide information into the following:
•Universally accessible,
•Operation,
•Private,
•Special (top-secret information, for instances).

It will be necessary to physically divide information (eliminate possible mixing in the data base) in order to be able to separate the information which will be delivered to the hosting provider, and the one, remaining with the company.
The same should be done with the company services (both, internal and external). For instance, website, internet bank can be given to the third party, but the system working with private information can be provided only under the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control license.

2. Evaluation of the current resource bank base in relation to real requirements for data storage
It is not a secret that during the pre-crisis time companies could buy rather powerful servers and computers. As a rule, this computational performance is used absolutely ineffectively. For instance, in many cases it is possible to save on computer horsepower. Very often it is possible to cut back on hard disk drive with transmission link. Consequently, it is necessary to summarize the system requirements to your software, collect statistics on real use and select a hoster’s infrastructure. This will surely allow you to save at the beginning of your work.

3. Evaluation of the software component when working with the data
Together with the hosting provider you will make a list of the SW which could be provided for lease (for instance, MS Office, SQL) and which requires to be purchased apart.
As a rule it is much cheaper to lease than to buy a licensed copy of any SW for each machine, so here you will also be able to save.

4. Elaboration of the plan for staged transition of the services from the own infrastructure to the cloud one, with complete doubling during the transition stage
Everybody knows that it is easier to break than to make. There is no need to break anything until the new infrastructure is tested and debugged.
Prepare a plan of the staged transition of your infrastructure to the cloud. Always begin with the less important; send to the cloud one of your company web services or any internal resource. Check the operation procedure, whether the customers have noticed the transition or everything was implemented “seamlessly”, take into account the faced problems and move to the next service. Gradually you will move everything that was required with minimum technical difficulties.

5. Testing for failure and operation correctness after the implementation of each transition stage
Be sure to check the working efficiency of the entire infrastructure in general after migration. Only having done this you will be able to refuse using your own infrastructure.

More detailed technical moments of migration are not the subject of this article; all the more this is individual for each company. Nevertheless, following the stated general plan will make you migrate as fast as possible with the minimum number of technical questions.

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