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  • Jason McKinder

What is the Difference Between Cloud Migration & Transformation?

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

Jason McKinder, CEO Cloud Migration Solutions, 11 October 2019


When onboarding business applications and services into the cloud I am often asked by clients to explain the difference between migration and transformation. The answer is simple: time, cost and appetite for risk; however, choosing the right method is not as easy. This is because not all business applications and services are the same, so need to be treated individually as they possess varying business and technical objectives along with risk profiles.


Where the primary goal is to onboard business applications and services to the cloud quickly and cheaply, then a migration (or as some call it a “lift and shift”) is the most appropriate action. There may be a need to apply some practical design changes to facilitate a migration; however, it is imperative not to perform service improvements or transformation-like activities because they can impede achieving the primary goal.


It is important to apply the necessary discipline when overseeing a migration, ensuring that changes in technology during migrations are in alignment with existing operations. Validation is to ask the question, what business goals does the activity support. If you are meeting a business goal that isn’t defined, then you may be dealing with scope creep and adding to the onboarding risks.


If a solutions infrastructure, system software and / or the application is required to change whilst being onboard to the cloud, then transformation is the correct course of action. Rebuilding the solution in the cloud, whilst continuing to operate in its current location until ready to cutover.


End-to-end Migrations are generally quicker, therefore cheaper to implement compared to transformation activity; however, migration cutovers are usually much longer to perform and there are heightened operational risks associated with performing one.


A migration by implication migrates all known issues and security vulnerabilities when relocated to the cloud. They take little to no advantage of the new technologies and security functionality the cloud has to offer. Unfortunately, a migration cannot be tested in advance and neither can its regression plan, needed in the event of a failed migration. This exacerbates and heightens the operational risk, system and data integrity along with potential lengthy downtimes for users. They can have negative impact on network bandwidth utilisation whilst migrating solutions and its data to the cloud. This can cause a negative perception from colleagues, therefore the overall success of a project.


Transformation empowers the ability to make wholesome changes to infrastructure, system software and / or to business applications or services. This is achieved by parallel running, continuing to use the existing solution, whilst building it new in the cloud. This is an enabler to perform service improvements, take advantage of new cloud technology and security functionality, remediate known issues and test the solution plus its regression plan before cutting over. This significantly mitigates operational risk, protecting the integrity of the solution and its data whilst reducing the cutover outage window.


When planning a cloud onboarding strategy, it is imperative to adopt a common-sense approach and be guided by the results of the business application or services cloud discovery. This will highlight the right direction of travel.


About Cloud Migration Solutions

Structure ICT Ltd was formed in 2012 to support organisations with their Data Center technologies. We have been working primarily in the public sector subcontracting to service providers performing exits of traditional data centres in favour of onboarding their clients’ IT services into the cloud. We have achieved significant cost savings, whilst improving stability, reliability and the security of their key business systems and hosting capabilities.

May 2019, we decided to rebrand, selecting a company name that demonstrated our key strengths. “Cloud Migration Solutions” was chosen because we now predominantly support our clients exit their traditional hosting capabilities to adopt Cloud Services and achieve their Digital Transformations.

The team achieved something we are all very proud of, which was to publish our own set of Cloud Services on the G-Cloud 11 framework, on the on the government’s Digital Marketplace. More recently, we exceeded all expectations by being selected as a supplier on the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 framework, again through the UK government’s Digital Marketplace.

​I’m so proud of my team who all played a major part, working very hard contributing and supporting the process. Their commitment, time and effort spent creating and peer reviewing the necessary technical, business and general supporting documentation that was required to be considered was immense. This was a major contributing factor in achieving our listing on G-Cloud 11 and Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 frameworks.

​This huge achievement demonstrates that Cloud Migration Solutions have a sound business acumen. Our products, services and technical ability have stood up against scrutiny and passed stringent governance measures put in place to ensure they are fit for purpose.

We firmly believe in empowering our clients’ business through effective utilisation of technology. We pride ourselves by being open in our approach, demonstrating impartiality, transparency and integrity with our delivery. We adhere to collaborative working practices and believe in building strong relationships with our clients and their other third-party technology partners.

We possess a very strong team of technical consultants who provide top quality architectural and engineering technical expertise. Our Architects are highly experienced, with exceptional skills in producing secure and robust network and cloud design artefacts ensuring there is no over- design. They are complimented by our experienced engineering team, who adhere to a DevOps culture and adopt its values, principles, methods and utilise DevOps tools to achieve infrastructure automation, continuous delivery and operability.

Our service delivery management team is exemplary, adopting consistent delivery methodologies using both PRINCE2 and Agile project management techniques and controls. Similar with the service and transformation management team, who utilise elements of ITIL to manage the onboarding of cloud services into our customers.


The security and test management team are very conscientious, ensuring platforms, infrastructure and business applications and services are fit for purpose. This is achieved by stringent security governance and automated testing to ensure compliance and protection of the integrity of solutions and its data.

​We pride ourselves as an organisation on our exceptional client interaction skills, possessing the ability to communicate effectively at the right level and at the right time, being very much customer centric. We have been consistently successful in the delivery of multi-million-pound complex, political & high-profile technology programmes of works, to a continual high standard.

Benefits

Technical Benefits of Consuming Cloud

Technical - The instant improvement cloud hosting offers includes guaranteed performance, improved security, disaster recovery and resiliency; future proofing underlying technologies and infrastructures. It provides manageable platforms, with increased speed and frequency of delivery of deployments through the life-cycle. It offers automation of repetitive tasks and delivers a higher level of service and uptime, increasing productivity. Simplification of platform adoption and onboarding activities accelerate the implementation of Cloud Services. It introduces up and down scalability of technologies that support business need. Onboarding reveals redundant data and technical assets that are no longer required and highlight where savings can be made by reducing data volumes and streamlining technologies. Onboarding reveals redundant data and technical assets that are no longer required and highlight where savings can be made by reducing data volumes and streamlining technologies.

Increased Scalability and Flexibility - With Cloud computing, companies only pay for the compute power they consume. Without the Cloud, firms must predict what processing power they need now, and in the future, this can lead to the over-deployment of servers and software licenses. Instead, Cloud service provision is built on offering Cloud users the flexibility to scale their IT capacity in response to actual business needs in a timely fashion. If a company needs a more powerful processing engine, for instance, in response to a big spike in demand, then that Cloud hosting partner would be able to speedily implement it. Similarly, if business demand goes down, then the Cloud client can scale down, without being locked into long-term software licensing or data processing costs.

Improved Data Storage Capacity - Improved data storage is possible in the Cloud, as users are not curtailed by their own finite capacity constraints. They do not have to go out and buy extra storage hardware to cope with spiralling data requirements; they can rely on the large data centre capacities of Cloud providers. These provider scan offer cost-efficient data storage and data sharing systems for processes such as backup and archiving they can have multiple clients often sharing the same equipment for their operations. Such economies of scale for data storage means that Cloud users benefit from not only cost-efficient storage, but big-capacity storage built on up-to-date storage technologies.

Improved Network Performance - If organisations are using the remote data centres of their Cloud service providers to process, search and analyse their data, the workload on their own networks can be reduced, meaning better performance for functions using the internal network. This means organisations can avoid the types of data congestion that can impact business performance, whilst at the same time reducing the amount of costly network switching equipment and bandwidth needed to support the Local Area Network. Some Cloud service providers even allow you to locate your servers into their Data centres to aid these network efficiencies.

General Benefits of Consuming Cloud

Cost Savings - With the Cloud, you could lower capital expenditure by not having to purchase and maintain expensive hardware. A Cloud service provider can host your data on their own high-performance systems, and you will no longer have the expense of maintaining and upgrading them either. Instead, Cloud users can concentrate on improving their own products and services. In addition, there is also the potential to either reduce headcounts in areas of server and application management, or to re-allocate those staff to research and development or more strategic business roles on the technology side.

Supporting Utility Computing - Companies need to allocate budgets and expenditure in precise ways, but to be able to do that they have to know what their departments are spending. The Cloud offers a great opportunity to do this on the technology side, as the Finance, HR, Sales or Marketing departments, for instance, can purchase unique applications in the Cloud which can be directly billed to them. Instead of one large, chaotic IT department being responsible for the purchase, deployment and management of all applications used by all areas of the business, the HR department, for example, can be responsible for the cost of a Cloud-based staff self-service people management system. This makes for good accounting for the overall business and takes the pressure off the central IT department, allowing it to concentrate on mission critical areas like network security.

Reliability - The worst aspect of hardware failures isn't usually the cost of the kit to replace, but the resulting downtime. When maintaining your own servers or data storage systems downtime is inevitable, meaning there is a threat to your business data. The Cloud model dictates that all types of potential failure are considered, whether that be related to hardware, timeouts, failover faults or network problems. Multiple copies of data are maintained for you, so if any machine fails your whole system can continue to function without the cost of extensive downtime.

Improved Integration and Compatibility - The Big Data needs of organisations mean they must be able to access and analyse data stored across different platforms. In turn, this demands close integration and compatibility between those platforms. However, it often isn't easy to get Linux machines to share data with Windows machines, for example. With Cloud computing the emphasis is on data extraction and not operating systems. Cloud providers can use industry standards such as Apache, PHP and MySQL to eliminate the compatibility issues organisations come across whilst running their own servers.

Data Security - Whist data security is often cited as an obstacle to cloud adoption, this argument can however be turned on its head. As mentioned above, multiple copies of an organisation's data can be stored in the Cloud using a Cloud provider's systems so there is no reliance on a single on-premise corporate data storage network, with the resulting business continuity risks that come with that. Cloud providers usually comply with industry data security standards to match, or exceed, whatever a Cloud client complies with themselves. Even if organisations want to maintain their main data systems themselves, they can still backup and replicate those systems securely in the Cloud at lower cost, without having to maintain their own additional Data Center.

Try Before You Buy, With No Lock-ins - Companies can test Cloud services before they fully subscribe to them to make sure they are up to the job. They can test some existing and established applications in the Cloud, or they can build and test new applications using a Cloud provider and its pay-per-use model. After a beta phase in the Cloud, the process can be scaled up or you can walk away, it's up to you. But remember, once your applications are being run in a managed Cloud hosting scenario you have continued access to support.

Benefits of Utilising Cloud Migration Solutions

Cloud Migration Solutions (Technical) – We possess a very strong team of technical consultants who provide top quality architectural and engineering technical expertise. Our Architects are highly experienced, with exceptional skills in producing secure and robust network and cloud design artefacts ensuring there is no over- design. They are complimented by our experienced engineering team, who adhere to a DevOps culture and adopt its values, principles, methods and utilise DevOps tools to achieve infrastructure automation, continuous delivery and operability. They are highly skilled in onboarding residual services and applications, utilising various proven industry standard migration, transitioning and modernisation tools / processes. They integrate well into our clients’ IT functions and assist upskilling their technical resources. We have made significant investment to devise an extensive range of templated design and supporting artefacts used to capture the information to allow a fast assimilation of the clients’ technical estates required to successfully deliver cloud services.

The security and test management team are very conscientious, ensuring platforms, infrastructure and business applications and services are fit for purpose. This is achieved by stringent security governance and automated testing to ensure compliance and protection of the integrity of solutions and its data.

Cloud Migrations Solutions (Delivery) - Proven record of the delivery of Cloud platform provisioning and onboarding of applications and services since 2012. We are a lean organisation, only utilising the necessary resources to deliver an outcome, which keeps our customers’ costs down, where our rate card is competitively priced. Our service delivery management team is exemplary, adopting consistent delivery methodologies using both PRINCE2 and Agile project management techniques and controls. Similar with the service and transformation management team, who utilise elements of ITIL to manage the onboarding of cloud services into our customers. All deliveries are transparent as we are very keen to adhere to governance: our professional reputation is very important to us, which is why we take a common-sense approach to the delivery of Cloud Services. The team are all customer-centric and take pride in building relationships with our clients and their third-party technology partners.


Cloud Migration Solutions Contact Details

Cloud Migration Solutions are an experienced Cloud Service Provider, providing network, cloud platform design and implementation; cloud readiness discovery along with the modernisation, migration and transformation of business applications and services. We are proud to be selling our cloud services to the Private and Public sectors via the Digital Marketplace through G-Cloud 11 and the Digital Outcomes & Specialists 4 frameworks.

If you have network, cloud platform or business application / service cloud onboarding requirement or just inquisitive, don't hesitate to get in touch. Visit our website www.cloudmigrationsolutions.co.uk or call freephone 0800 084 2739 for a chat.


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