The Cloud Pathways meetup went virtual on 10th June 2020. The short presentations, fireside chat and Q&A was focused on migrating, running and modernising Microsoft-based workloads in the cloud.
A big thanks to the participants:
- Marcus Corner talked to us about the cloud journey and digital transformation at Insights, a leader in learning and development solutions. The Insights Online application, along with analytics workloads, were migrated to AWS.
- Dan Pacitti is the CTO at ASP Events, who provide innovative and goal driven website design and an event focused CMS, ‘Showoff’. This application, along with 100s of customer websites, were migrated to AWS early 2019. This was followed by a continued modernisation of the technology stack and architecture.
- Michael Hart is a Microsoft specialist at AWS. He works with enterprises and start ups to drive innovation, modernisation and costs savings for their .NET, SQL, and Microsoft Workloads on AWS.
- Aled Sage is VP Engineering at Cloudsoft, an AWS advanced consulting partner. Aled specialises in cloud, devops, automation and application resilience with over 20 years of industry experience.
- Alasdair Hodge is Principal Engineer at Cloudsoft, and was the fireside host for the meet-up, with 25 years’ experience in cloud, software applications and automation across all major cloud platforms.
Choosing a Public Cloud
Marcus and Dan talked through reasons for choosing AWS vs Azure for their Microsoft-based workloads. Compelling reasons for AWS included the depth of services available, the maturity of Microsoft support on AWS, and the many other factors such as existing experience and ability to recruit for the required skills.
Michael’s presentation at the start gave a great introduction to AWS, in particular for Microsoft applications. The slide that stood out to me was the graph below of Microsoft services and features on AWS. For example, when Microsoft released SQL Server 2019, it was supported on AWS EC2 within the same week.
Business Challenges for Migration
Both Marcus and Dan talked us through the business drivers and business challenges, as well as technical details. They stressed that many challenges and transformations are at the organization level, needing top-down buy-in and involvement from all aspects of the business. Marcus described pulling together a “virtual team” of stakeholders, including legal, finance, security and customer services. This ensured that compliance and other business requirements were met, questions were answered efficiently, and the right people were available to assist with all aspects of the migration.
A successful migration is not just about getting into the cloud, it requires bringing everyone along for the journey. For example, pre-migration the finance team are likely used to an identical invoice every month; afterwards there will be variable month-to-month costs, and decisions by engineers can cause those costs to increase without going through any finance approval processes. For legal and security, the answers for customer security questionnaires will be very different from when running applications on-prem.
The conversation covered some of the technical challenges, gotchas and recommendations. This included moving legacy applications, moving on-prem SQL Server to AWS RDS (relational database service), Microsoft licenses, data migration, and much more.
We also heard about post-migration activities including operations and continued modernisation. Both Insights and ASP Events are Cloudsoft customers, with Cloudsoft delivering 24/7 support and help in continually improving the applications within AWS.
Next Steps: Free AWS Surgery
Aladsair finished off by offering attendees a free Virtual AWS Surgery session – a conversation with cloud experts at Cloudsoft to answer your questions.