Victor Wolters – Perficient Blogs https://blogs.perficient.com Expert Insights Fri, 03 Jan 2020 22:03:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i2.wp.com/blogs.perficient.com/files/favicon-194x194-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Victor Wolters – Perficient Blogs https://blogs.perficient.com 32 32 30508587 The Overall Benefits of Cloud Adoption https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/12/18/overall-benefits-cloud-adoption/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/12/18/overall-benefits-cloud-adoption/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 15:30:23 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=248606

The following is the tenth blog in a series about why businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize and improve business performance.

In this series, we have highlighted the major benefits the cloud brings, including in areas such as innovation, security, and disaster recovery, among others. In this blog, we’re going to summarize those benefits and highlight how the cloud benefits businesses.

The benefits of cloud await

As we’ve highlighted previously in this series, the cloud today is more than a location to store files. Instead, it is now a collection of tools that enable businesses to undergo a greater digital transformation.

The reasons behind the ever-increasing popularity of the cloud are clear. This evolution of cloud and the tools it has brought mean the velocity, agility, innovation, security, and financial benefits that make the cloud the right choice for businesses in the digital age.

The cloud sets you up to improve the experience of the two most important groups in your business: employees and customers. Employees are able to work smarter, faster, and on more crucial tasks. Customers benefit from a smoother, easier experience as they enjoy financial savings that are passed on to them.

The cloud isn’t just about making short-term or quick-hit improvements that deliver just-in-time results. Instead, the cloud is about ensuring that your business is positioned to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment by enabling insight and innovation.

Summing up the benefits of the cloud

We have gone through many of the reasons the cloud is beneficial for businesses in this series. The following is a brief summary of those reasons:

  • Business efficiency, velocity, and ROI
  • The ability to innovate
  • Reduced overhead
  • Superior, adaptable security
  • Improved data management and disaster recovery
  • Reassessments of human and material assets

Learn more

Do you want to learn more about the cloud’s benefits? Click here or fill in the form below to read the guide Transform Your Business with Cloud and learn what cloud can do for you.

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Maximize Your ROI and Cost Savings With Cloud https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/11/20/maximize-your-roi-cost-savings-with-cloud/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/11/20/maximize-your-roi-cost-savings-with-cloud/#respond Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:30:19 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=247271

The following is the eighth blog in a series about why businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize and improve business performance.

So far in this series, we have covered topics such as the innovation cloud brings, cloud security, and disaster recovery in the cloud. In this blog, I want to address an issue that is of primary concern to every business: finances. While the cost of a digital transformation is initially high, in the long-term, when done right, it is a prudent financial decision for most companies.

Generate ROI with cloud

It may seem strange to think that investing in a digital transformation is actually an exercise in cost savings, but it’s the primary driver of new revenue for many businesses. Moving to cloud technology is a key component of any digital transformation, and one of the benefits of moving to cloud is the cost savings. You will reap savings in the following areas:

  • Lower upfront capital investment for computing hardware and software
  • Eliminated cost of annual maintenance contracts for software and hardware
  • Reduced or eliminated cost of physical data centers and communication links
  • Reduced labor cost to install, upgrade, and patch hardware and software
  • Eliminated “cost of capital” charges, which can improve profitability
  • Reduced or eliminated missed opportunity cost of time

Measuring ROI as a result of moving to cloud is really not much different from the way that you currently measure ROI, but there are a few differences.

You will gain a reasonable ROI from your cloud technology investment in areas like total new business over time, or a faster turnaround for both internal and external requests. However, you will have a few new measurements to track, such as a reduced missed opportunity cost of time and a reduced cost of capital charges. Some businesses will see significant ROI in other areas like an eliminated unused compute capacity cost and the associated overhead, as well as a reduced data center footprint and related cost.

The increased speed and agility will translate into improved overall business revenue in a more timely fashion. It is difficult to determine how much of the increase in revenue comes as a result of using cloud technology compared to other activities, but the ROI is shown definitively in other areas.

Learn more

Do you want to know more about cloud’s capabilities and the potential benefits for your business? Click here or fill in the form below to read the guide Transform Your Business with Cloud and learn what cloud can do for you.

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How Cloud Improves Disaster Recovery https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/11/06/how-cloud-improves-disaster-recovery/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/11/06/how-cloud-improves-disaster-recovery/#respond Wed, 06 Nov 2019 15:30:16 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=246622

The following is the seventh blog in a series about why businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize and improve business performance.

In our last blog in this series, we examined how security improves with cloud. In this blog, we will look at how cloud enhances disaster recovery (DR) practices and provides a better option for businesses that want to ensure their systems are safe and backed up.

Cloud improves disaster recovery

Conventional DR architecture – the policies and procedures necessary to maintain vital infrastructure and systems following a natural or institutional calamity – invites numerous issues and concerns:

  • High cost to build the DR sites
  • High maintenance costs for storage and data backup
  • Setup and management challenges, especially in remote regions
  • Limitations that restrict recovery to primary or critical systems
  • Obstacles hindering a verifiable recovery solution
  • Low return on investment

A cloud-based DR architecture, however, eliminates the need for physical on-site or co-located storage and provides for automated recovery along with on-demand capacity/scalability. Instead, businesses are able to leverage the cloud to store their data in a range of different geographic regions. For example, the major infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platforms – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – have global networks to replicate data. In fact, using cloud, you can even replicate apps on IaaS across several geographic regions, as first unveiled by Microsoft for Azure in 2018.

The result of this service is a dependable, flexible DR system subject to far lower upfront investment and overall operational expense than a physical corporate data center. This same architecture is also upgraded along with the production environments at no significant additional cost to the customer.

Learn more

Do you want to learn more about the cloud’s capabilities? Click here or fill in the form below to read the guide Transform Your Business with Cloud and learn what cloud can do for you.

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How Cloud Brings Improved Security https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/10/23/how-cloud-brings-improved-security/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/10/23/how-cloud-brings-improved-security/#respond Wed, 23 Oct 2019 14:30:38 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=245847

The following is the sixth blog in a series about why businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize and improve business performance.

Cloud’s capabilities are far reaching and impact the whole business. While many have heard of the speed and agility that cloud enables and the innovation that allows, cloud’s capabilities go beyond that. In this blog, we’re going to examine one of cloud’s underrated strengths – the security advantages it offers.

How security improves with cloud

Generally speaking, public cloud vendor offerings are more secure than most on-premises data centers.

Despite that, over the past decade, security concerns have been the main objection for many organizations considering cloud. But doubts over public cloud security are subsiding, and with good reason. Cloud vendors take security extremely seriously because their ability to keep your data safe is integral to their business.

The perimeter surveillance instituted by cloud vendors is automated, built, and maintained by security architects with extensive cybersecurity expertise to protect from external threats. These same security architects work in tandem across networks and continents to tackle invasive threats. They perform thorough and frequent system audits with vigilance on access controls for both internal and external threats. The skill and capability of these dedicated security specialists, along with the high number of specialists, is more than most businesses can afford to dedicate to security themselves.

Cutting edge security capabilities – from facial or iris scans to machine learning combined with AI to identify potential threat vectors – are commonplace in the public cloud security portfolio. This level of protection comes built-in for most public-cloud providers with all of their service offerings.

Moreover, the cloud is complex and decentralized, with multiple storage locations across the global footprint of the provider. This inherit complexity discourages many cyber criminals from launching direct attacks on these environments. All of these factors, combined with the fact that most public-cloud providers have a direct connection to global government cyber security threat centers, means most corporations will improve their security protection by moving to the cloud.

Learn more

Do you want to learn more about the cloud’s capabilities? Click here or fill in the form below to read the guide Transform Your Business with Cloud and learn what cloud can do for you.

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Executives and Cloud – Perfect Alignment https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/30/executives-and-cloud-perfect-alignment/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/30/executives-and-cloud-perfect-alignment/#respond Tue, 01 Oct 2019 00:15:25 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=245085

In today’s “digital everything” world with all the confusing jargon around the subject of “cloud”, it is easy to miss the point of why cloud technology is important. In this blog, I hope to remind the reader about some cloud basics. The reference to cloud in this blog is a more broadly defined definition of “cloud computing”. This involves traditional public cloud infrastructure providers and specialized cloud-based tools, which have evolved over the past 10 years.

Executives have not had as robust of a tool as cloud computing to improve and expand their corporations since the development of the smaller corporate jet. Like the use of private jets, cloud computing has the ability to expand the reach of executives and the corporations they lead to a global audience with minimal impact. However, like a corporate aircraft, cloud computing needs to be utilized in a very strategic way to gain maximum impact.

Cloud = Digital Business Transformation Ø

Over the past several years, there has been a significant push to implement “digital business transformation” for all industries across the globe. The idea that businesses will cease to exist should they not become “digitally enabled” is the primary driver for companies. This core premise can cause even the most seasoned executive to lose sleep at night, trying to figure out what this means for their business.

There has been an undercurrent in this transformation space that moving to cloud computing will magically produce digital transformation for the business. To put it plainly, just signing up for cloud services and moving a few applications and data to the cloud will not deliver a “digitally transformed” business. It is true that cloud is often part of an overall transformation plan but it is only part of the plan. Cloud technologies are often a key component to help change the way the business delivers services and products to their customers. To that end, cloud computing can be a key ingredient to help implement a transformation and quickly adapt to changing business requirements in the future.

Cloud = Flexibility ☺

The very nature of cloud computing provides the business with tremendous flexibility in its core computing needs. This flexibility is illustrated by abilities in the following areas:

  • Easily try out need business product and service delivery ideas without high upfront capital cost and delays as well long-term support cost
  • Speed up improvements to current business processes with minimal impacts to the customer experience
  • Gain better control on computing cost with the ability to ramp up and down as needed to match budgetary or seasonal demand requirements

As one of the executive leaders of your organization, you gain the ability to pivot your business plan in the shortest possible time with the least amount of computing expense.

Cloud = Actionable Information ☺

Cloud computing brings together all the data needed to develop well-informed business action plans that meet expectations more often. The ability to collect large data sets ⁠— both private and public ⁠— into one location at a fraction of the cost for on-premises is one of the most powerful benefits from moving to cloud computing. The best part of about this unique capability of cloud computing is the ability to drop all the data and have no residual cost for excess capacity, which most businesses have experienced in the past.

With the latest data mining tools and data scientists that know how to leverage those tools, it is possible to gain new insights in amazingly short periods of time. These insights can help avoid lost revenue and lost opportunity cost through more complete analysis of potential new products or services.

Cloud = Communication ☺

Communications for internal and external stakeholders is one of the most important pillars in any corporation. Business face a daily challenge to keep everyone informed about the latest changes with the fast-paced business climate and full industry disruptions of today. Cloud computing brings a whole new set of collaboration features nicely packaged together for smooth interaction across all channels of communications. In addition to the new collaboration tool sets, it also brings the ability to easily try out these tools because they are hosted in the cloud and require only minimal configuration and no hardware or software to buy or install. This ability to quickly establish whole new ways of interacting with all stakeholders has set a new expectation in the minds of all your stakeholders. Finally, these cloud-based tools provide a new level of accountability between stakeholders, which can radically change the behavior of all stakeholders.

All executives should develop some level of knowledge about cloud computing. It does not matter what part of the corporation you manage ⁠— cloud computing has the ability to improve the way you do business on a daily basis.

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Azure Subscription Transfer from Tenant to Tenant https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/30/azure-subscription-transfer-from-tenant-to-tenant/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/30/azure-subscription-transfer-from-tenant-to-tenant/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2019 14:23:45 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=244740

The Checklist

One of the benefits of today’s cloud-based world is portability. The ability to easily move full application environments around in the cloud can be both positive and negative. This portability can create a “casual” attitude about events such as moving full “production” environments around. This casual attitude can lead to modern day catastrophes with big consequences. One of these events is the movement of an Azure Subscription from one Azure Tenant to a completely different Azure Tenant.

For those who are not familiar with the Microsoft Azure Cloud structure, these terms might require a brief introduction before we dig into the details. An Azure Tenant is a enterprise/corporate level structure that includes the use of an Azure Active Directory. This “Tenant” also holds all the accounts and billing connections for the services that are being used in Azure for the enterprise. A subscription is a private allocated space with a unique ID under the Tenant where it was created. The subscription will hold all the resources that are being used in the cloud, such as VNets, VMs, Databases, PaaS services, etc.. Sometimes in the life of a subscription is the need to transition that subscription to a different enterprise/corporate Tenant throughout the subscription. This requirement can be generated as a result of many different scenarios, from merger and acquisitions to one firm developing a solution in their subscription and then transitioning that solution to their client.

When you are considering this kind of transfer here are a few high-level things to keep in mind. I have provided a link at the end of this blog to download a more detailed checklist.

Prior to the transfer

  • Be sure to review all of the components to determine if they are still needed. This especially true when the subscription includes some development or testing environments. Ideally, this is being done on a regular basis through normal operational processes, but we all know how that goes with development environments.
  • Pull together any and all documentation that you have on the solution and components within the subscription. Architecture drawings – application, network, integration, etc.; disaster recovery plans, account listing – users, service, permissions; resource listing – PaaS services, VMs, VNets, databases, marketplace items, etc.
  • Read all of the reference postings from Microsoft regarding the transfer of subscriptions.
  • Determine if someone from one of the enterprises or Microsoft is going to execute the transfer.

Day of Transfer

  • Establish a conference call of some kind with all appropriate parties from both the source and target tenant enterprises.
  • Make sure all key individuals are on the call before starting the transfer. Owners/operators of the subscription resources and applications need to be on the call from both enterprises.
  • Validate all pre-requisite transfer items were completed.
  • Be sure everyone is aware that this process might take several hours to complete depending on many different factors including all Post Transfer activities to be completed.

Post Transfer

  • Verify accessibility to all major resources in the subscription as an owner.
  • Validate correct production operation of all applications within the subscription.
  • Confirm ability to see billing information in the Enterprise Azure Portal.

The transfer of a subscription and the resources included can be a very powerful tool in your cloud toolkit. It is one of those tools that is very powerful but can also be a big problem if not executed properly. I hope you have found this blog to be helpful as an introduction to this powerful tool. To guide this work a Subscription Transfer Checklist was created that provides a lot more details around each part of a transfer project. Many line items are “optional” depending on the configuration of the subscription being transferred. Click here for a reference Subscription Transfer Checklist.

 

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Driving Innovation with Automation in the Cloud https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/11/driving-innovation-with-automation-in-the-cloud/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/09/11/driving-innovation-with-automation-in-the-cloud/#respond Wed, 11 Sep 2019 14:30:44 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=244206

The following is the third blog in a series about why businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize and improve business performance.

In our first blog in this series, we looked at the current state of cloud, while the second blog highlighted how cloud enables innovation. In this blog, we will showcase how cloud brings the innovation discussed in the last blog with a real-life example.

New challenges

A common challenge for industry leaders is the rise of startups that are born in the cloud. These startups are able to innovate quickly, which leads to new revenue streams and a faster time to market. This means that older businesses need to transform how they operate to keep up and meet current expectations.

The pharmaceutical benefits management industry is one area this is happening in, where venture-funded startups are disrupting the industry. This has created fierce competition for previously unchallenged leaders of the industry, which are now needing to evolve quickly. Our industry-leading client needed to gain the ability to scale and deploy at speed to reach their market faster. They came to us looking for a multi-cloud solution that could drive transformation and innovation to meet their new challenge.

Innovation through automation in the cloud

An overhaul of the client’s existing IT systems was necessary to modernize processes. Our team implemented Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) to meet the needs of the client with its many benefits. Crucially, one of those benefits is the velocity it brings, as the platform reduced the time to deployment of new apps to just four hours. This allowed the client to transform and innovate at speed, which ultimately meant it reached its market faster. PCF enables virtualization to achieve this, allowing for automation and continuous deployment of entity-based services. To enable this, we led the development of these entity-based services, including patient, provider, physician, and member user experiences.

By leveraging PCF, we were also able to bring other benefits the clients was seeking. Those benefits include working across a multi-cloud environment, scalability, and fault-tolerance. This in turn increased the organizational agility of the client, with the modernized platforms enhancing the ability to process and serve specialty patients and prescriptions through faster development of new applications and services.

Learn more

Click here or fill in the form below to read the guide Transform Your Business with Cloud and learn what cloud can do for you.

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How Cloud Enables Innovation for Businesses https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/08/28/how-cloud-enables-innovation-for-businesses/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/08/28/how-cloud-enables-innovation-for-businesses/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 14:30:47 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=243736

The following is the second blog in a series about why businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize and improve business performance.

In our first blog in this series, we explored the current state of cloud and how it has changed over time. In this blog, we will take a look at how cloud enables – and promotes – innovation.

Why cloud is just the beginning for innovation

Making the cloud your central hub isn’t where the innovation stops. In most cases, cloud is just the beginning.

Technologies like IoT and AI have opened completely new ways of collecting and analyzing data to deliver real-time intelligent information to customers. With its ability to enable innovation, velocity, and agility, the cloud allows you to create new revenue streams that were previously not possible, letting you quickly move current products and services to the next level today, not six months from now.

You’re also able to focus even more on the rapid deployment of applications with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) models. This type of service removes the cost and complexity of managing servers and server clusters so that IT can focus on the rapid development and deployment of the business application of service. With this service, you are able to build applications on cloud for cloud – cloud-native applications.


According to Gartner, PaaS spending is expected to grow by 23.7% in 2019 to $18.8 billion.


Cloud opens up myriad opportunities with technologies like DevOps, machine learning, APIs, microservices, data lakes, predictive analytics, and bots to further innovate and make the most of the information that businesses store. Cloud computing provides a new set of advanced tools that allows any business in any industry to truly innovate and disrupt. It is because of this that many businesses are quickly making the move to the cloud.

Learn more

Click here or fill in the form below to read the guide Transform Your Business with Cloud and learn what cloud can do for you.

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Cloud Transformation Overview https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/07/02/cloud-transformation-organizational-shift/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/07/02/cloud-transformation-organizational-shift/#respond Tue, 02 Jul 2019 12:59:25 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=239813

This is the final blog in a series around the subject of cloud transformation. The use of the term “transformation” in the title was a very intentional decision by the authors (Joel Thimsen & Victor Wolters) of this series. The desire is to send a message that adoption of cloud technology for any organization is a transformational activity. It is not just an incremental improvement. Once an organization commits to the use of cloud technology, it should immediately start planning for a major organizational shift. This planning should cover all parts of the business – not just the technology group.

One of the major reasons that many organizations do not see a significant improvement in overall velocity of change is the lack of planning upfront.

As this series of blogs has identified, the adoption of cloud technology will impact the full organization from top to bottom if it is implemented properly. Cloud technology has the ability to truly transform the way an organization executes business now and in the future. This same technology can help an organization become a technology driven business. This will allow the business to find completely new and more profitable ways to meet their target audience’s demands.

As we have covered in this blog series all of the following topics need to be given some consideration relative to an organization’s cloud transformation planning:

  • Business drivers
  • Cloud readiness
  • Organizational impacts
  • Potential CoE/C4Es
  • Application migrations
  • Beyond application migrations and infrastructure
  • New application development strategy
  • Lift and shift implications

The depth and breadth that any particular organization would need to apply to a single topic listed above will depend on many factors.

The following areas of influence will provide some guidance on which topics require more or less attention:

  • Top priorities from the broader business strategy
  • Executive leadership direction and guidance
  • Urgency of need to transform the business
  • Expectations around financial considerations like ROI, investment funds, and revenue impacts
  • Overall organizational change velocity abilities

It is vital to have a trusted partner working with you to help keep things moving while the transformation is happening during any kind of major organizational shift. The challenge of keeping things moving in the current day-to-day operations while trying to change those same processes and tools is one of the main causes of failure. A solid partner who takes time to understand your business and the future transformed state is a KEY success factor.

The partner will have the time to gather the right information and quickly map out the change plans. This allows the current organization to keep moving while starting to understand the change plan. Finally, the right partner can help with the transition by providing key resources in all parts of the organization to act as change agents.

Perficient hopes you found this blog series helpful in your planning for your organizations cloud transformation efforts.

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Application Migration: A Cloud Journey https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/06/27/application-migration-cloud-journey/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/06/27/application-migration-cloud-journey/#respond Thu, 27 Jun 2019 13:08:52 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=240913

Application migration is a significant part of any organization’s cloud journey. There are five primary approaches for application migration to the cloud: rehost, refactor, revise, rebuild, and replace. Each of these approaches require minor adjustments depending on the detail of the specific application migration. In a few cases, it is possible you might need to split an application and utilize more than one strategy to complete application migration strategy.

Five Rs Transit Map

The selection of the correct approach can be a complicated decision based on many different criteria. In all approaches, the following items should receive some consideration.

Due diligence

We often use this term “due diligence” when talking about many different decision-making processes. What we often don’t do is to define what that term means in the specific context of the process. In the context of the “application migration” process, we will define it to include all of the following items at a minimum:

Understand data requirements

Take the time to evaluate all of the required data sources for the application to function as expected. This includes a review of the downstream or upstream data sets that might need the data that is being collected by the application.

Understand all dependencies

Most applications will have some number of dependencies on outside functions including network access, data routines, APIs, other applications, etc.. All dependencies need to be dealt with in some way for the application to retain all of its functional capabilities.

Understand performance requirements

There is a built-in assumption around “cloud think.” Cloud think says all applications will perform the same or better in the cloud. In some highly specialized applications, this might not be true. This requirement does not mean you must do full performance testing in the cloud prior to starting the migration. This requirement is suggesting that a quick review of the application architecture with the subject matter expert will usually point out any unique requirements that might not be compatible with the normal cloud implementation.

Understand all major user groups

Make sure all the major application user groups or known and how they access the application today. If a majority of the users are accessing the application in some non-standard fashion or connection, then the practitioner will need to examine how you would match that access methodology in the cloud. If the majority or largest user group is located in a different geographic location, then the current cloud regional location being used by your organization will require some additional work and cost.

Analysis portfolio assessment

Determining which applications will move to the cloud and in what order is a very important step. This assessment ranges from a simple review of three or four characteristics to a full in-depth assessment with hundreds of characteristics. The important part is to always do some level of assessment of ALL applications in the portfolio to develop some perspective on how many applications are candidates for movement to the cloud and if there is some quick categorization that can provide a high-level roadmap.

Not everything will move

It is amazing how many times clients do not see this as an option. The simple fact is that many applications in the portfolio simply do not need to move to the cloud. Many applications should not move simply because they are still supporting an “old” way of doing business. This is one way to promote a timely move to a “new” way of doing business. Of course, we must mention one use that is often a reason to not move an application is security. We would challenge any assumption that says you cannot move an application purely based on security in today’s current cloud provider environments. Today’s cloud providers are spending several orders of magnitude more money on security than any single corporation can spend on cyber security.

New development

When migrating or simply developing new applications for a cloud environment, it is important to consider all of the new architectures and tools available to leverage all of the power in the cloud. Some of the new architectural principles that should be considered are:

  • Designing the application as a collection of services
  • Decoupling data as much as possible
  • Building in scalability, redundancy, and scalability to all aspects of the architecture
  • Security should be a forethought not an afterthought – built-in

Developing new applications is easy today thanks to the new cloud application tools. These tools will require the developers in most technology groups to rethink everything about their normal best practices and current governance/development processes. Cloud “DevOps” is the catch phrase but it is often not interpreted in the fullest context of the term. DevOps will not only automate the application development work but also automate the infrastructure setup and the operational support after production launch. Take full advantage of these tools. This is a major change management exercise for the whole business not just the technology group.

Organizations have multiple decisions to make in this new cloud-based application development arena. From how you will maintain and deploy the code, to what kind of cloud environment for deployment. Some of the options that a development organization can utilize are container-based technology, serverless, PaaS, IaaS, and portability.

Summary

It is clear there are many things to consider when migrating your applications to the cloud. Movement of your applications to the cloud will still be one of the most beneficial outcomes from your cloud journey. This is where the proverbial “rubber hits the road” for your cloud journey. Most early adopters of the cloud are realizing significant benefits from the application migrations they have completed. However, many early adopters are also seeing how their approach needs to be modified. This is largely due to all the new tools and capabilities that have been released in the last two to three years. We hope this blog has given you some baseline items to consider in this part of your cloud journey.

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Disaster Recovery – A Thing of the Past For Cloud-Based Companies https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/06/18/disaster-recovery-thing-of-the-past/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/06/18/disaster-recovery-thing-of-the-past/#respond Tue, 18 Jun 2019 13:35:12 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=240502

I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine about a client request. We discussed disaster recovery. In the new cloud-based computing architectures, it has become clear that this is one of the many new benefits from moving to the cloud. The following sections in this blog layout a few key elements that support this conclusion.

Definitions

“Disaster recovery involves a set of policies, tools and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster.”Wikipedia

“Disaster recovery is a set of policies and procedures which focus on protecting an organization from any significant effects in case of a negative event, which may include cyberattacks, natural disasters or building or device failures.”Techopedia

The basic underlying assumption is that some technology failure has to occur that creates a disaster in business terms. The recovery aspect assumes that the failure requires some intentional effort based on some procedure to restore the technology failure to normal operations. With the cloud, we will see that we are able to avoid the failure in the first place. This comes at a much lower cost than traditional backup/recovery environments did in the past.

Basic Components

Most recovery plans assume a “primary” and “secondary/recovery” type of environment. This will normally involve data centers or cohosting environments with some significant number of miles of separation. There is usually some kind of direct communications link between these two locations. This is set up to allow for movement of application code and data on a regular basis. Another option that some opt for is a manual offsite storage of some kind that will be used to restore the application and data in the event of disaster.

Of course, there is always the need to test this backup location on a regular schedule. This is done to be sure it is fully functional and can quickly be activated by following the documented procedures. There are literally hundreds of other details that must be considered within the context of these larger activities. All of these details consume large amounts of labor and material cost every year for the average organization with multiple large mission critical applications.

The cost of these efforts and systems can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. As expected, the cost depends on the size of the business and its dependency on technology for core daily operations.

Introducing Continuous Operations

With the introduction of large public-cloud providers, both local and global companies gained a new way to avoid the cost and headaches associated with the disaster recovery approach of the past. Yes, I can hear the objectors to this claim screaming now, but give me a chance to provide some supporting evidence. With all of the hype we have experienced around cloud computing for the last 10 years, it’s hard to think clearly about some of the basic technology requirements in this area.

Here are a few key items to consider why as to why public cloud allows us to eliminate the need for formal disaster recovery plans and cost:

  • Most large public-cloud providers have built or purchased many different data centers all across the globe. They therefore can easily provide physical geo separation to support any distance requirement for continued operations. They are seldom subject to complete failure in any single data center, much less across their complete portfolio of data centers.
  • Cloud providers have already built in all the required redundancy in each data center for all critical operational components. This redundancy crosses all critical systems including power, cooling, security, multiple telecom providers, multiple connections, etc. These redundant capabilities include failing over complete data centers with all workloads and only minimal interruption to transaction times.
  • Most cloud providers have inexpensive solutions for real-time replication of data between data centers. This replication can also include user session data as needed.
  • In a hot-warm configuration, the providers will reduce the cost of the “warm” environment, which improves the cost model.
  • The ability to setup completely redundant hot-hot production environments allows a company to have zero downtime when configured properly. This continuous uptime support can even be provided on a global scale to support the most demanding requirements.
  • Automated monitoring tools along with the AI capabilities built into many cloud platforms provides all the real-time notifications required to support the client’s tech and security teams. The intelligence of these monitoring tools is now providing the ability to fix many problems without any human intervention.
  • Many cloud providers have “built-in” redundancy for most, if not all, IaaS, PaaS services at no or minimal additional cost. This means that the first level of most common failures is already eliminated by simply utilizing these services. This in turn comes without any redundancy in secondary data centers.
  • The ability to “fully” automate these application environments from the power level through the infrastructure to the application level facilitates the full creation of any environment within minutes to a few hours versus days or weeks.
  • These large global cloud providers spend billions of dollars every year securing their operations from bad guys in the cyber world. This automatically provides a first level of defense for all applications and data located in their data centers. This is usually a lot more security than the average company is able to provide in their own data centers. This reduces the possibility of having any kind of disaster event to recover from in the first place.

Assumptions

Of course the author wants to provide some balance in this statement. Making sure the reader understands a few assumptions that go along with this statement.

  • There are many applications that might require significant changes to operate in this kind of environment.
  • The client’s tech organization or vendor partner will need to be sure the architecture design for the solution in the cloud meets the cloud provider’s requirements to take advantage of all the redundant capabilities.
  • All solutions are only as redundant and stable as their weakest part. If you have a solution in the cloud that is dependent on some kind of component or data coming from outside the cloud provider’s data center, then you will need to be sure that component or data has all the same capabilities you have in your cloud-based solution.

Summary

The statement that disaster recovery is a thing of the past is the truth for many applications. The author would even be willing to say it is a true statement. It will not be long before we will be able to say it is true for all applications. More and more companies continue to rework their application portfolios into more modern application architectures and patterns. The days of large standalone applications and databases are quickly disappearing. Today, we are producing more digitally agile solutions, which are part of a more nimble and flexible “App Warehouse”.

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Things to Consider in a Cloud Readiness Assessment https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/06/13/things-to-consider-in-a-cloud-readiness-assessment/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2019/06/13/things-to-consider-in-a-cloud-readiness-assessment/#respond Thu, 13 Jun 2019 14:30:24 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=240576

This is the next installment in a series of blogs on the subject of cloud transformation. It has been amazing to see how many clients have jumped straight from cloud mandate to cloud implementation. A very small, technical organization with a very limited separation of duties might be able to take this approach. However, this is not the case for any technical organization that has even a small amount of separation of duties. These organizations should spend some time on an upfront cloud readiness assessment to ensure a smooth transition. This assessment should cover all parts of the technical group and key stakeholders from the business groups. A little time spent on this assessment will return months of time and thousands of dollars in savings. In this blog, we will outline a high-level process and key areas of consideration for a basic cloud readiness assessment.

Cloud Readiness “Things to Consider”

At the very beginning of any organization’s journey to the cloud, the organization must evaluate its operations. Specifically, organizations must evaluate their business, people, process, and technology for readiness to move to the cloud. Everyone knows we can define “readiness” in many different ways. For our purpose, we will use the following definition or questions:

“Is your technology group in general ready to start deploying and supporting cloud-based solutions for your business operations? Specifically, do all of your individual functional areas in your technology group have the basic skills, focus, funding, and time to start moving on the cloud journey? “

Business

You should meet with your key business operations stakeholders at the very start of any cloud readiness assessment. This should be both the internal business operations folks like finance, accounting, and HR, and external business operations like sales, marketing, and investor relations. One of the key items for review is to show the actual benefit of leveraging cloud technology over the current solutions in place to these groups. This is somewhat of an internal assessment for the person performing the assessment. First, this person will need to ask and listen for the “pain points” from each group. The assessor would then need to have knowledge of the cloud solutions that can minimize or eliminate those pain points. These pain points will become key guide post for the first step actions in the cloud migration planning.

People

Your current technology staff will be one of the first areas for review in your cloud readiness assessment. As human beings, we all have different tolerances for change, learning new things, and generally changing the way we execute our jobs. This review of current staff should include some high-level assessment of cloud technology skills, education, available time, and exposure.

Process

Most technology groups will have some level of governance, compliance, and security requirements. The deployment of cloud technology will impact some of these processes. A cloud readiness assessment helps you gain a high level understanding of how many processes will be impacted. Once that’s established, you then need to establish how long will it take to draft and approve the critical changes required. Once again, the review in this area is at a very high level and should not get bogged down in trying to figure out the change. Instead, just note the need for change and process owners.

Technology

Many people would think this part might be the easiest part of a readiness assessment. However, this can actually be the hard part. When assessing your readiness, your current technology stack, including applications, infrastructure, and data, must be well understood. In our daily rush to get solutions in place, documentation is often not part of the project. This is what creates the challenge for this part of the assessment.

An assessment in this area needs to review your application portfolio at a very high level. This is designed to make a quick and rough estimate of how many applications might be able to move to the cloud. You shouldn’t focus on “how” the application would move. Instead, you simply need to ask if this is an application that could move to the cloud. Some applications are at or near end of life and others are simply outdated utilities that need to be replaced. Next, you need to evaluate your current infrastructure from the network layer all the way to the data center operations level.

We don’t recommend a manual approach. Instead, we prefer to leverage an automated migration planning tool with infrastructure discovery and reporting capabilities. The focus for this assessment is how would you leverage the cloud infrastructure with your on-premises infrastructure for any kind of deployment to the cloud. When making this assessment, you need to consider the level of difficulty and how many things would need to be changed or fixed with connectivity to the cloud provider. Almost all cloud migrations start out with a “hybrid” approach with some kind of direct connectivity to the cloud provider. Finally, you must complete a high-level review of all of your data assets from small, stand-alone databases to large-scale data warehouses. Much like the earlier review, this review should be focused on how many applications can be moved to the cloud. Don’t focus on the “how” – just focus on the number of the applications.

Summary

The cloud readiness assessment involves working through each of these areas in the shortest amount of time possible while still collecting the basic information required for each area. The final part of the assessment is to make some judgement calls by adding a time element to the analysis of the information collected. The time element will provide the ultimate answer about when you will be ready to continue with your cloud journey.

Some organizations will be ready move on immediately, while others might need to spend a little more time on changes. A side benefit of performing a brief cloud readiness assessment comes from the exposure to the whole organization that you are considering the move to cloud. The time spent performing a cloud readiness assessment at the front of your cloud journey will be some of the most valuable time in your cloud journey.

 

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