Using AWS to unlock longer-term wins for your organisation
Last week, I touched on some of the reasons why being cloud-empowered is the new standard. The blog covered exactly why organisations are either moving to the cloud or are already there. This week for part two in our Migrating to the Cloud blog series, I wanted to branch off and get specific. Let’s take a closer look at one Cloud in particular: Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Paying only for cloud resources that you use
AWS has 34 percent of the global Cloud market and has been the leading player in the industry for quite some time. So why are a third of organisations on cloud using AWS? The early completeness of vision and geographic coverage has certainly given them a first mover advantage. However, AWS continue to innovate and grow their product offerings and have certainly done the best job of monetising cloud services. Many organisations adopt AWS as a target because they need dynamic scaling, thus many start with digital or Systems of Engagement. The ability to scale using AWS provides organisations with agility and consumption-based pricing: meaning only paying for the cloud resources that you use and scaling back down during off-peak periods.
Beginning the path to automation
Another big focus area driving AWS uptake is automation. Many of the organisations who choose to migrate do so due to proper long-term planning of their Cloud strategy. These companies are looking to the top right corner of the Digital Transformation Matrix such that they can drive optimisation and unlock innovation. Implementing automation allows organisations to minimise their team’s manual engineering work, deliver repeatable results and enable continuous improvement. For many organisations, adopting a DevOps capability is on their strategic wish-list, but they may be on a platform which constrains agility. Migrating to AWS helps them to start peeling back the layers of tech debt.
Storing your IP at scale
For organisations looking for a way to ingest and store terabytes or petabytes of data, cloud and particularly AWS offers a solution. As organisations across all verticals look to not just store but discover and derive intelligence from this mass of data, AWS offers scalable storage and the other required building blocks. Using services such as S3, Glacier or Snowmobile – if you have a lot of data you need to store securely, at relatively low-cost and with scalability as you grow – a migration to AWS can make a lot of sense.
Keeping track of your OpEx
Managing operating expenses is also a reason we’re seeing organisations migrate to AWS. Whether you’re being driven to migrate to cloud (or driving this conversation yourself), the ability to strategically map out cloud expenses months in advance using Reserved Instances (RIs) or take advantage of dips in demand with Spot Instance pricing can be a real win. By blending these approaches, you can save significant sums of money when compared to on demand. The other thing worth noting is that this up-front commitment doesn’t mean a loss in flexibility and agility – AWS even offer scheduled Reserved instances to cope with daily, weekly or monthly peaks.
Migrating your web and mobile apps first
Now let’s look at web and mobile apps. As previously mentioned Systems of Engagement are a common target for organisations starting to adopt AWS services. Many of the off the shelf offerings in this area – both commercial and open source – are far more cloud-ready than most enterprise Systems of Record. Specifically, in the mobile space AWS provides services that are fully managed and scalable so that you can quickly and efficiently build apps. Through leveraging products like Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda or perhaps Amazon Cognito you can enhance user sign-up, store data locally and provide the flexibility of offline use whilst controlling costs. The use of containers also helps abstract much of the complexity of managing these platforms.
Lift and Shift
Whilst these digital workloads are prime candidates for AWS, there is always the opportunity to make minor modifications to more legacy applications and derive a little more value from the cloud. Changing where persistent and/or shared data is stored and trying to make business logic layers more stateless are particular areas which have to be addressed. Moving workloads “as is” without detailed understanding of the application previously meant that Private Cloud was the only option. The AWS and VMware partnership does hint at providing an easier segue into AWS, by running vSphere, vSAN and NSX in AWS, customers could get the best of both words. However, alternating between the VMware or AWS API depending on which workload you are managing could potentially become quite cumbersome. As such even more planning will be required for these sort of mixed-mode deployments. In all cases the move to the cloud should not be seen as a static end state, but rather an empowering step which helps underpin your digital transformation.
As you can see, for organisations looking to migrate to cloud there are myriad reasons to choose AWS. You may have noticed that while I mentioned cost optimisation, like I flagged last week, it isn’t a standalone driver for cloud migration. Harnessing flexibility and leveraging native cloud services to evolve towards faster product releases and a mature and high-performing DevOps culture are big targets. For organisations migrating to AWS, it is really the complete picture that is more compelling: the ability to unlock scalability, flexibility and unleash innovation to drive value, whilst managing costs. Join us again next week, where we’ll continue looking at use cases and benefits of the different cloud platforms.
Part 2 of the Migrating to the Cloud series.