As a Practice Director of Managed Cloud Services, my team and I see well-intentioned organizations fall victim to this very common scenario… Despite the business migrating from its data center to Amazon Web Services (AWS), its system operations team doesn’t make adjustments for the new environment. The team attempts to continue performing the same activities they did when their physical hardware resided in a data center or at another hosting provider.
The truth is, that modernizing your monolithic applications and infrastructure requires new skill sets, knowledge, expertise, and understanding to get desired results. Unless you’re a sophisticated, well-funded, start-up, most established organizations don’t know where to begin after the migration is complete. The transition from deploying legacy software in your own data center, to utilizing Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and micro-services, while deploying code through an automated Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, is a whole new ballgame. Not to mention how to keep it functioning after it is deployed.
In this article, I’m providing some insight on how to overcome the stagnation that hits post-migration. With forethought, AWS understanding, and a reality check on your internal capabilities, organizations can thrive with cloud-native services. At the same time, kicking issues downstream, maintaining inefficiencies, and failing to address new system requirements will compromise the ROI and assumed payoffs of modernization.
Is Your Team Prepared?
Sure, going serverless with Lambda might be all the buzz right now, but it’s not something you can effectively accomplish overnight. Running workloads on cloud-native services and platforms requires a different way of operating. New operational demands require that your internal teams are equipped with these new skill sets. Unfortunately, a team that may have mastered the old data center or dedicated hosting provider environment, may not be able to jump in on AWS.
The appeal of AWS is the great flexibility to drive your business and solve unique challenges. However, because of the ability to provision and decommission on demand, it also introduces new complexities. If these new challenges are not addressed early on, you will definitely see friction between teams which can damage collaboration and adoption, the potential for system sprawl increases, and cost overruns can compromise the legitimacy and longevity of modernization.
Due to the high cost and small talent pool of technically efficient cloud professionals, many organizations struggle to nab the attention of these highly desired employees. Luckily, modern cloud-managed service providers can help you wade through the multitude of services AWS introduces. With a trusted and experienced partner by your side, businesses are able to gain the knowledge necessary to drive business efficiencies and solve unique challenges. Depending on the level of interaction, existing team members may be able to level up to better manage AWS growth going forward. In the meantime, involving a third-party cloud expert is a quick and efficient way to make sure post-migration change management evolves with your goals, design, timeline, and promised outcomes.
Are You Implementing DevOps?
Modern cloud operations and optimizations address the day two necessities that go into the long-term management of AWS. DevOps principles and automation need to be heavily incorporated into how the AWS environment operates. With hundreds of thousands of distinct prices and technical combinations, even the most experienced IT organizations can get overwhelmed.
Consider traditional operations management versus cloud-based DevOps. One is a physical hardware deployment that requires logging into the system to perform configurations, and then deploying software on top. It’s slow, tedious, and causes a lag for developers as they wait for feature delivery, which negatively impacts productivity. Instead of system administrators performing monthly security patching, and having to log into each instance separately, a modern cloud operation can efficiently utilize a pipeline with infrastructure as code. Now, you can update your configuration files to use a new image and then use infrastructure automation to redeploy. This treats each one as an ephemeral instance, minimizing any friction or delay on the developer teams.
This is just one example of how DevOps can and should be used to achieve strong availability, agility, and profitability. Measuring DevOps with the CALMS model provides a guideline for addressing the five fundamental elements of DevOps: Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement, and Sharing. Learn more about DevOps in our eBook, 7 Major Roadblocks in DevOps Adoption and How to Address Them.
Do You Continue With The Same Behavior?
Monitoring CPU, memory, and disk at the traditional thresholds used on legacy hardware are not necessarily appropriate when utilizing AWS EC2. To achieve the financial and performance benefits of the cloud, you purposely design systems and applications to use and pay for the number of resources required. As you increasingly deploy new cloud-native technology, such as Kubernetes and serverless operations, require that you monitor in different ways so as to reduce an abundance of unactionable alerts that eventually become noise.
For example, when running a Kubernetes cluster, you should implement monitoring that alerts on desired pods. If there’s a big difference between the number of desired pods and currently running pods, this might point to resource problems where your nodes lack the capacity to launch new pods. With a modern managed cloud service provider, cloud operations engineers receive the alert and begin investigating the cause to ensure uptime and continuity for application users. With fewer unnecessary alerts and an escalation protocol for the appropriate parties, triage of the issue can be done more quickly. In many cases remediation efforts can be automated, allowing for more efficient resource allocation.
How Are You Cutting Costs?
Many organizations initiate cloud migration and modernization to gain cost-efficiency. Of course, these financial benefits are only accessible when modern cloud operations are fully in place.
Considering that anyone can create an AWS account but not everyone has visibility or concerns for budgetary costs, it can result in costs exceeding expectations quickly. This is where establishing a strong governance model and expanding automation can help you to achieve your cost-cutting goals. You can limit instance size deployment using IAM policies to insure larger, more expensive instances are not unnecessarily utilized. Another cost that can quickly grow without the proper controls is your S3 storage. Enabling policies to have objects expire and automatically be deleted can help to curb an explosion in storage costs. Enacting policies like these to control costs requires that your organization take the time to think through the governance approach and implement it.
Evolving in the cloud can reduce computing costs by 40-60% while increasing efficiency and performance. However, those results are not guaranteed. Download our eBook, A Holistic Approach to Cloud Cost Optimization, to ensure a cost-effective cloud experience.
How Will You Start Evolving Now?
Time is of the essence when it comes to post-migration outcomes – and the board and business leaders around you will be expecting results. As your organization looks to leverage AWS cloud-native services, your development practices will become more agile and require a more modern approach to managing the environment. To keep up with these business drivers, you need a team to serve as your foundation for evolution.
2nd Watch works alongside organizations to help start or accelerate your cloud journey to become fully cloud native on AWS. With more than 10 years of migrating, operating, and effectively managing workloads on AWS, 2nd Watch can help your operations staff evolve to operate in a modern way with significant goal achievement. Are you ready for the next step in your cloud journey? Contact us and let’s get started.