14 Jan 2021 Back to all articles ↵

Why and how you should migrate to the cloud

#architecture #business

At Fibertide we have performed cloud migrations for a diverse set of companies. That experience taught us there are many different reasons to perform a cloud migration such as:

  • Growing business requires infrastructure changes to keep up with the growth.
  • On‑demand pricing allows flexibility that traditional hosting providers lack. It allows for quick experiments without committing to multi‑year contracts and spending weeks on setting up the servers. It also helps decrease infrastructure costs, by matching server capacity with actual demand.
  • Legacy infrastructure is costly to maintain. In addition to hardware costs, there may be operational challenges (e.g. time spent fixing, taking proper backups, etc.).
  • Using managed cloud services with care can improve service reliability. Offering your customers competitive Service Level Agreements (SLA) is less troublesome with the help of a highly reliable cloud provider.
  • Cloud‑based solutions help consolidate infrastructure architecture. Hosting everything in one cloud can lead to simplified management and streamlined operations for the sake of security and cost‑efficiency.
  • Regional constraints complicate server placement. Cloud providers have data centers around the world, making it possible to build your platform adhering to complex geographical requirements, or simply close to your customers, improving website responsiveness.

In addition to leasing servers, cloud providers offer infrastructure building blocks with high uptime guarantees. Companies using them no longer need to administrate systems by themselves. This means that engineering teams can spend more time focusing on business goals. Major public cloud providers offer various managed services. Some frequently available services include:

  • Load‑balancers allow to reliably spread user traffic to many servers, improving application performance.
  • Compute clusters that provide a place to run applications without the need to manage servers - such as Kubernetes or Elastic Container Service (ECS). They allow running multiple services on one server, significantly simplify maintenance and development, and reduce upkeep costs.
  • Object storage - a rock‑solid solution for depositing files. Managing redundant, performant and cost‑effective object storage gets simple with AWS S3 or Google Cloud Storage.
  • Databases maintenance used to be a full‑time job. Nowadays cloud providers offer reliable, properly backed-up and efficient databases that require much less effort to operate.

And as a bonus, cloud providers offer free auxiliary tools such as fine‑grained access control, security monitoring, DDoS protection or auditing tools.

Migration needs to be approached carefully in order to minimize operational risks and user disruption. At Fibertide, we believe it is important to thoroughly document infrastructure setup before migration. For this reason, it’s best to consult the team which manages your application and/or infrastructure. We carefully consider the requirements for your new system, including why migration was needed in the first place. We can also plan how to boost developer productivity by preparing the new setup in a way that best improves their preferred workflow.

Obviously, there isn’t one universal infrastructure template, the exact optimal shape is highly influenced by the workload it needs to support. For instance, the challenge of working with micro‑services is much different from maintaining a single large Wordpress website. For this reason, precise planning and requirement gathering is an important step in designing new infrastructure. Not all workloads are a good fit for managed cloud services, often because of their pricing. For this reason, it pays off to perform a detailed cost analysis before committing to cloud migration.

Making sure the new solution satisfies all parties requires liaising between various team- and executive‑level constraints:

  • expected monthly infrastructure bill stays within the budget,
  • all business requirements are met,
  • changes to software development process are aligned with programmers,
  • the move to new setup will only yield acceptable or no impact to the platform.

Here at Fibertide, we work with decision‑makers to understand their goals and make sure the migration is a non‑event from the business perspective. We understand that each service is unique and we treat it accordingly: we pick the best tools for the job. We are big proponents of infrastructure as code (IaC) approach as it makes coordination easier and increases accountability. We work together with developer teams to share information and provide improved tools to work with post‑migration.

If you are interested in migrating:

  • from traditional server hosting providers,
  • from poorly‑organized manually managed cloud setups,
  • from managed compute services (Heroku, App Engine, Lightsail etc.),
  • in between clouds

then contact us, and we’ll discuss how we can lend our skills to help you best.

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