AWS Cloud Assessment – Costs, Security and Technical Factors
It’s time to dive deeper into the subject of the actual step-by-step process of cloud migration.
AWS has crafted a cloud migration strategy, consisting of six phases:
- Cloud Assesment Phase
- Proof of Concept Phase
- Data Migration Phase
- Application Migration Phase
- Leverage the Cloud Phase
- Optimization Phase
Like with the 6R’s these stages provide guidelines that anyone can follow.
That said, every successful cloud migration is preceded by detailed planning, assessment, testing and verifying, which are the stepping stones to leveraging the full capabilities of the cloud and optimizing your performance.
Today we’re starting with the Cloud Assesment phase.
As you go through each component of the assessment phase, it’s important to think about what a successful utilization of the cloud means will mean for your business to determine the key performance indicators you need to monitor.
With that in mind, let’s get into the three main factors you must assess to build a solid business case for moving to the cloud.
Like all other business decisions, the move to the cloud must produce tangible results.
Calculating costs isn’t that straightforward, though. Even direct costs, like server hardware, power consumption costs, space, and labor costs, can get tricky to estimate for companies with complex operations. Add to that other variables like setup and configuration costs, maintenance, software licenses, and taxes, and you’ve got about a billion variables to take into account.
When using the cloud factors like upgrade costs, renewal of software licenses and server space won’t keep you up at night. This doesn’t mean that calculating cloud costs is going to be quick and easy, though.
Companies often miss a few key points when comparing cloud vs. on-prem costs.
Firstly, you must take into account all the indirect benefits of using AWS like shorter time-to-market, high availability, and scalability. Of course, these factors can’t be included in your business case with a 100% accuracy but you still need to consider them.
Businesses also underestimate time and expertise.
By time we mean how long it takes from deciding to move to the cloud until your migration is complete. This variable requires a whole another set of calculations on your part depending on which assets you’re migrating to the cloud or how much data you’re moving. You should build an estimated timeline after taking into account all the details.
Expertise can contribute to all of the factors mentioned above. AWS has a learning curve so you’ll either have to hire a cloud expert as a part of your in-house team or work with third-party consultants. This, of course, will take additional time and increase costs.
Besides these two factors, calculating monthly costs in the cloud shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
To simplify the cost equation, AWS has developed a calculator that anyone can use. The calculator takes into account your usage numbers concerning Amazon EC2 instances, elastic IP, data transfers, etc. to help you estimate your monthly AWS costs.
Security is the number one concern for cloud users.
This is completely normal since severe security breaches can devastate businesses. In 2019 Facebook and Microsoft both announced massive security missteps, and the mass recognition of data security as a crucial task for businesses has skyrocketed.
Security assessments typically start with your business and customer data.
Working with personal and sensitive data requires additional care. Many countries have unique legal requirements regarding the security of user data. Some even require data to be stored in specific locations. Each country has its unique take on this matter, so a legal consultation is a must.
AWS lets you store data in a geographic location of your choice and provides you with easy ways to move it or delete it.
Regardless of your specific situation, you must always have a detailed plan for data migration, storage, and processing as well as necessary encryption of particular data types.
Other security factors you need to address concern your proprietary technology, systems, and intellectual property as a whole.
Possible internal security problems might arise from contractual obligations with your partners or from your organization’s comfort level with using a shared infrastructure.
All the factors outlined above crucial. While mistakes with calculating costs can be pardoned to the complex nature of modern IT, security mistakes can be fatal.
Consult legal and cloud security experts, consider your contractual and other obligations to partners and only implement the best possible security solutions.
During the technical assessment, your team or outside consultants will have to examine your current infrastructure and dependencies between applications.
A successful technical assessment should help you make a few vital decisions like which applications to migrate and which to keep on-premise, when to migrate certain applications, which tools you should use, does the cloud infrastructure provide all the building blocks you require, etc.
The technical assessment phase is where your financial and security plans merge with day-to-day operations to form a complete picture of how your migration and post-migration operations will look.
The three components of cloud assessment don’t exist in a vacuum. They constantly influence each other. For example, a technical assessment might suggest that migrating specific databases is the right choice from an operational standpoint, but contractual or legal restrictions don’t allow you to do so.
Technical assessments can also help you identify legacy systems you can retire or support contracts you can terminate during or after the migration thereby lowering current or future expenses.
Going through each of these three assessment factors is a must.
By examening each factor carefully, you will start to envision your cloud journey more clearly and have more confidence in the migration process.
A successful assessment phase should also result in a step-by-step migration plan that you can follow the rest of the way.
AWS has an in-depth whitepaper on the six stages, so if you need more detail on the subject, you can click here.