Cloud planning and assessment

What is the Cloud?

Cloud in the most efficient terminology is data access on the internet instead of the system that means your data stays on the web, making no difference to the computer you use.  At cloud, everything can be consumed as a service on demand and you have to pay only for what is used. Deploy the cloud to enhance your performance management, planning, budgeting, analysis, and the Big Dataset to give your business the touch of success.

 

Why transition to Cloud?

–    Technologically Forward businesses are transitioning to cloud every minute – Being in the cloud is now indeed a boon for any industry. Considering that currently, everything on the earth is technology and information-driven, getting your business assessed and planned to be integrated with the cloud is an imperative part of it.

–    Companies are turning more profitable reducing on overheads – The significant advantages of having your data in the cloud for any organization are work efficiency and productivity along with a cost-efficacy that it brings. Moving your applications to the cloud can reduce administrative costs to a great extent and retain maximum security. Also, your system runs faster than earlier as there is no excess data on hard drives to extend a load on your system.

–    Protection from disasters – Your data stays in the cloud forever, and it can’t be destroyed like how your hardware systems can be, you can be assured that you won’t lose your data if someone accidentally dropped the hard drive or your network got corrupt!

Cloud Planning and Assessment

Transition to Cloud

At the cloud assessment and planning stage, businesses should identify several aspects of the application architecture that exist in place including application management, security, and compatibility along with database compatibility. Information migration revolves around these four terminologies.

When it comes to finally understanding the benefits that the cloud has on your businesses and taking a jump to have it in place, there are two radical approaches by which your data can be transferred to the cloud-

  • Purchasing a new cloud in a brand New Infrastructure
    • In this approach, businesses often purchase a new cloud infrastructure on which they have to modify and set their existing information infrastructure. This approach is easy when it comes to getting a new cloud infrastructure, but implementing your previous information architecture can be quite an excruciating task.
  • Layering new cloud on existing infrastructure
    • This approach is mainly a modification of the cloud infrastructure such that it can be used on the existing information infrastructure; where there is smooth transitioning of data from current system to the cloud system.

 

Application Management

No matter whether your application is running on-premises or in the cloud, the operations management team needs data that will enable them to make effective decisions. The issues you’ll need to consider include service-level agreements, capacity planning, customer billing, auditing, application monitoring, traffic analysis and managing costs (knowing when to scale up or down). These need to be resolved before the application is deployed to production—­and for best results, often before the application is created.

Application Security

A top concern of any organization moving to the cloud is security. Most companies have invested a substantial amount of time, money and engineering into designing and developing a security model and it’s important that they’re able to leverage existing investments such as identity stores, single sign-on solutions and firewalls.
While there are many ways for a company to go about securing cloud-based applications, an increasingly popular pattern is a claims-based approach.

Application Compatibility

Azure is an application platform, so it’s important to understand the types of applications suited to Azure. While you have the ability to run native code and you can run applications with full trust, you must package your application before deploying it to the cloud, which means it’s important to evaluate your application to see if it’s a good fit.
Here’s an example. One of our customers at Azure Migration Labs had an existing application consisting of a SQL Server 2005 back end, a LINQ to SQL data-access layer and a front end using both MVC Framework 1.0 and ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 running on IIS.
The application sat in a Web farm with a load balancer routing the traffic. The application itself was stateless so it didn’t matter to which server the user was ultimately directed.
An interesting detail about this application was that the MVC application manages more than 220 separate Web sites. The company used a combination of MVC routing and information stored in the SQL Server database to determine which content should be loaded for each Web site. There were five Web servers behind the load balancer serving more than 4 million page visits per month for the collection of Web sites.
The primary challenge the company faced was the length of time it took to provision a new Web server for its environment: months! When the company considered migrating the application to Azure, its primary motivation was saving a tremendous amount of time. Scaling out would become a configuration detail rather than a quarter-long nightmare.

Database Compatibility

When SQL Azure first came out, we migrated a couple of our SQL Server databases to it. Along with our experience holding Azure Migration Labs, we learned a few important things you should consider before embarking on the migration process.
First, it’s important to check the size of your database and how it fits within the database allowances used by SQL Azure. Currently, SQL Azure offers Web Editions in 1GB and 5GB sizes and Business Editions in 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50GB sizes. You need to check your database and make sure it isn’t larger than 50GB. If your database is larger than 50GB, then you’ll need to examine your database and see if it can be broken down into smaller databases (in other words, sharding your database) or moving large data to blobs.
SQL Azure supports only SQL Authentication, so you’ll need to consider whether changes are needed to the authentication scheme used by your application. On top of that, SQL Azure has a resource throttle that limits connection time.

Accelerate your migration to the Windows Azure Platform

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit gets your cloud migration planning process going with automated discovery and detailed inventory reporting of web applications, application portfolios, and database readiness for the Windows Azure platform.
Catalog all of the applications in your environment:
Inventory and report on web application portfolios and SQL Server database instances in your environment.
Azure Readiness Assessment & Capacity Assessment:
Estimate the needed capacity to run your applications on the Windows Azure Platform
Evaluate applications based on migration difficulty
Stack rank applications in terms of migration suitability
Obtain a TCO-ROI analysis for the application
Helps you to plan for the migration of on-premises workloads to Windows Azure and SQL Azure

The world is running at a fast pace, and so should you with your business. Get your data infrastructure assessed and planned for making a smooth transition to the cloud. Navigating you to the cloud needs proper strategic planning and delicate deliberation, for which you will need the best-practice guidance that meets the business requirements. Proactive vulnerability assessments to ensure a smooth transition. For all these and a seamless migration experience, all you need is a cloud assist partner who will guide you throughout the procedure and simplify the process of governance, performance, application design, security and IT infrastructure. When are you moving to cloud?