How to Migrate Your Business to The Cloud

How do you migrate your business to the cloud?

1 Know what you want 2 Research how the cloud works 3 Decide what to transfer over 4 Find the right developer 5 Select a vendor 6 Determine security measures 7 Set up ways to stop migration 8 Create backups 9 Manage every step 10 Plan for failures 11 Test 12 Train employees

We will go into more details about those items later. If you’re just thinking about moving to the cloud but aren’t sure if its the right decision then it’s time to brief you on why it might be the right choice. The cloud has become an important part of today’s business. Small to large companies have been comparing their options and deciding to switch to the cloud for good reason.

Why you need to switch

1. Cost – This is a huge factor because you can save on both capital and operational expenses as well as becoming more efficient. The average savings are around 23%. What helps you save even more is the ability to access technologies like machine learning. Having infrastructure and managing it is costly but the cloud removes many of those costs.

2. Improved Operations – The cloud allows you to take advantage of technologies that can drastically help improve your business operations such as the ability to make changes quickly and efficiently.

3. Access to data – You can easily access your data on the cloud. With a typical server, it is difficult to share and access your data from anywhere. The cloud allows you to access it anywhere, at any time, from any device you wish and share anything you want. You can see someone making changes in real-time. If any devices like phones, computers, or anything else gets destroyed it doesn’t matter because everything is saved in the cloud, not the device.

On another note, you also have many cloud data warehousing options for you to choose from. This simply allows you to collect data from every aspect of your business, then helps you make better business decisions.

4. Space – You have an unlimited amount of space, With companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), you pay as you go and you don’t have to worry about calling to add more storage space because it automatically does it for you as you use it. It tracks the amount you use every second because every second it changes.

5. Downtime – Since spacing isn’t an issue you end up seeing less downtime. With traditional servers, if you run out of space then problems occur for which you must call, add more, then wait for it to come back up. It’s costly and inefficient.

6. Collaboration – The tools available in the cloud are vast and make it so easy to communicate with all your team members, share files, and so much more. You don’t even need to have a physical phone in the office anymore.

7. Scaling – Every business runs differently so the tools that work for you don’t necessarily work for someone else’s business, even if it’s in the same industry. You can easily scale up or down with the apps and tech you need.

8. Security – With so many cyberattacks, protecting data is a necessity. This should be the most important for any business. The cloud is more secure than those traditional servers you’ve got. Since storage is in the cloud you don’t have to worry about someone stealing a device. Unless they know your login information. Don’t get me wrong, it can still be hacked but there are way more heavy-duty security options here.

9. Improve innovation – Many times projects slow down because the processes to complete them take a decent amount of time. Collaboration tools are minimal as well making it harder to have meetings and discussions with others outside your office. With the cloud, it speeds up the workflow time, helps team members work in a new way, communicating better with others outside the building, and more. This, in turn, can increase innovation within an organization. Using newer technology can also attract more people to want to work for you.

Is moving to the cloud right for your business?

If these points are any indication, then the answer is yes. There is a long list of benefits to migrating and the ones just mentioned are some of the main ones. If you are still unsure and want to learn more about the cloud and what it can offer your business specifically, you should contact a software development company such as SDI who can explain this in more detail and determine specifically what your company would need to ensure it runs at its maximum potential.

How to move to the cloud

If you ready to migrate your business to the cloud but aren’t quite sure where to start then follow these steps to completing your cloud migration.

1. Know what you want

It’s your business and you know how it runs. You need to do a deep analysis of what you use and what you wish you had. This can be anything from storage, security, apps, communication tools, etc. This will help you start the process off right because there are a lot of options out there and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you need.

2. Research how the cloud works

You don’t want to go into it blindly. Don’t just take the development teams word for it. Do some research on your own to understand first what the cloud is, what it has to offer, and the process of migrating. This is not a figure it out later situation, it’s a let me understand everything now so there is no surprises later situation.

3. Decide what to transfer over

You should create a formal workload migration plan. You may not want to migrate every single aspect of your business. There may be tasks that you currently do that do not need to be done on the cloud and that is fine. There may be a process that works really well so there’s no need to change it. This is the time to figure that out.

4. Contract an experienced software development company

Migration isn’t just a one-click button and you’re done. You need a proper team like SDI to do the heavy lifting causing you less stress and saving you a lot of time trying to figure it out on your own. Doing it on your own can be incredibly tricky if you are not experienced.

5. Find your cloud vendor

You should already know what you need so now it’s time to contact various vendors and see what they have to offer. Ask people you know for recommendations to get someone that is trustworthy. You could also go with major companies like AWS or Microsoft Azure. You can get quotes from these vendors and see which is best for you. Your development company can help you with this step as well as all the ones below.

6. Security

During migration, you can be very vulnerable to attacks. You need to be aware of any security risks that could happen such as ensuring everyone is logged out of their accounts and everything is completely closed down before you begin. There are tools to help you with this as well.

7. Stop Migration

You need to have the ability to stop the migration for any reason. To do this you can create milestones so if you are facing problems in certain areas you can stop and do a piece at a time. In order to do this, you must create a structure for it.

8. Have a backup

You never want to start anything until you have backed up all your companies data. You can use Google, Amazon, Dropbox and more to store all your data during migration. Even better would be to have it backed up in multiple places just in case. You never know what could happen and having this could be a lifesaver.

9. Manage each phase

It is your job to stay informed with the process. You should know what is going on at all times. Remember migrating to the cloud is a huge task and there are a lot of moving pieces. You should be organized in the process and be managing each phase of migration just in case.

The software development company you use should work closely with you through the whole process. The key is to stay organized and have everything in one platform to do everything. This will make everything from migration and what comes after easier.

10. Plan for failures

The key to ensuring your business continues running smoothly is to account for any possible failures. If you plan for this, then you can create the solutions ahead of time so if and when something does occur you don’t have to worry.

11. Test Everything

This is a pretty obvious one, of course, once the migration is done you want to check everything to make sure it’s working correctly. Beyond that, on your website, you should do a traffic test. Pretend that a million people come to your website. See what problems occur and then fix it. This is similar to planning for failures.

12. Train your employees

This is going to be something new for not only you but for the entire company. All your employees should be trained on how to use everything. There will be some growing pains for a bit but once everyone has a grasp on how the process works it will run smoothly. If they aren’t properly trained they won’t use it correctly and migrating would essentially be a wasted effort.

That is the general list of steps to the migration process. Now is the time to seriously consider moving your business to the cloud. Experts like SDI can migrate your current platform onto cloud services like AWS and provide a flexible solution that is cost-effective and operations optimized.

7 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Be Using Amazon Web Services

Which cloud services will work for my business?

There are many options to choose from and your choice depends on the type of business you have. If you are a small business Amazon Web Services could be at the top of the list as they offer a unique and easy way to manage your cloud infrastructure.

This year small businesses will account for more than 30% of public cloud usage. This will continue to grow because of the huge impact Amazon Web Services (AWS) is having in the market. They provide an incredibly useful and flexible public cloud that works for a variety of services like storage, security, networking, computing, mobile development to run apps, and much more.

Most of their digital infrastructure can be hosted in the cloud making it much easier and cost effective. In order to understand if Amazon Web Services is the right service for your small business, you have to know what your needs and budget are. If you don’t know that, then don’t make a purchase yet. You want to take the time to compare AWS with other companies like Azure to determine which is best.

  • IT Usage
  • There are tools to help you monitor your current cloud and/or physical server usage. Use these tools for a month to see what your business uses in order to determine what system will work best for you.

  • The Cloud
  • Every part of your business which includes not only mobile apps but web apps, documents, videos, images, data, websites, and more can be on the AWS cloud. Whether you have a light load or a heavy load their cloud infrastructure can handle it. You can also access your cloud easily from anywhere. Amazon makes it incredibly easy to do so. Yes, there are other cloud data warehousing options out there for you which you should look at. You can compare them to AWS to see which is best for you. Others, however, can be quite costly.

  • Security
  • Besides cost, this is always at the top of the list when deciding who to go with. Security is incredibly important for any business as there is always sensitive information that no business wants to get out. AWS follows very strict guidelines to ensure proper data security. They always monitor all activity and provide backup capabilities for all your data.

  • E-Commerce
  • If you have a small e-commerce business Amazon Web Services provides some amazing features for you. All the transactions that are done on your website plus website hosting can be done in a secure and simple way. It requires very little effort from your end as everything is pretty much done on its own through AWS. It also provides a lot of flexibility through its SDKs so that you can provide your customers exactly what they want and need.

  • App Hosting
  • Amazon Web Services also makes it easy for you to manage your mobile and web applications. Your apps can run and work better because with AWS you can deploy and scale better. Apps will be more stable and provide you and your customers a much better experience. Now you do have the option to do shared, dedicated, or cloud hosting which depends on your business so you should look into all of them before deciding.

  • Instances
  • There are multiple options for you to choose from so that you have the right amount of instances which suit your business needs. Many providers have this option as well but Amazon Web Services offers you various options beyond most. It’s not just about adding or removing as you go along, there’s much more to it and AWS has the solutions you need for that.

  • Cost
  • Ok, now we are at the most important one, THE COST! There is no one size fits all here so the cost to each business is different. Let’s break it down here:

    It’s expensive and a lot of work to have and maintain the hardware, infrastructure, and systems administration. There is no need for any of that with AWS. You only pay for what you actually use and no more. Again, it requires little to no work on your end.

    1. Auto Scaling can be used with Amazon EC2 to provide more or less capacity depending on slow times or spikes in demand. This means that you don’t waste any money because it literally bends to match the ups and downs of customers transactions.

    2. The cost of data storage is usually a big chunk of the cost no matter what size business you have. Imagine having an endless amount of storage that is scalable. AWS provides you with a storage system with no up-front cost and again you only pay for the storage you actually use.

    3. Spot instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) give you the ability to name your price. You can get the computing capacity you want at the price you want. This is a great alternative to the On-Demand model. This, of course, won’t work for everyone. It’s only for those with interruption-tolerant tasks.

    4. ElastiCache can help with web application performance at a lower cost. You don’t have to manage, maintain, or purchase anything else with this. This web service makes it easy to operate an in-memory cache. ElastiCache frees up your time and saves you money.

    5. Migrating your infrastructure can not only be time-consuming and frustrating but it can be complex and have a pretty hefty price tag to it. AWS, on the other hand, makes the process quick and easy all while keeping the cost pretty low for both established businesses as well as startups.

    6. When it comes to instances, depending on your utilization you can have reserved capacity at a cheaper cost even more so than from 3rd party resellers. For this, you would use Amazon EC2 because you pay an upfront fee. You still pay hourly but it would be way lower in price.

    7. Their IT solutions will help you do just about anything for building and launching apps for a reasonable price. Most companies have various fees and upfront costs that you pay but AWS minimizes those and continues to strive for you only pay for what you use model.

    If you are a small business, more often than not you are paying more than you should. Other companies have options to choose from but each option comes with a certain number of items. You pick the one that seems like it closest to what you need but is that really a solution. You should have exactly what you need, no more, no less.

    Storage Also with AWS is the more you use, the more you save. For example, if you fall under the standard storage category you would pay $0.85 per GB for 1 TB of storage in the first month. In the next month if you use anything between 1 TB and 49 TB its $0.75 per GB. On the far end if you use more than 5000 TB it only costs $0.43 per GB.

    The standard storage is the most expensive but there are other types which are much less, this is just to provide you with an example of how using more lowers the cost. They also offer customized plans and bulk pricing for those with requirements beyond their standardized ones.

    You always want to monitor your infrastructure to keep costs down. There are multiple different options like EC2, S3 CloudFront, Elastic Load Balancing, and more for you to choose from. As you grow you may or may not need these items but constantly changing can help save you money. You should also be using their Identity and Access Management solutions which will help you manage all your costs within AWS.

    Amazon Web Services has a lot to offer just about everyone. You can manage your console from any device including your phone. You can access your services from anywhere at any time. Amazon CloudWatch is another great tool to help you track your usage of the cloud. This in turn assists in managing costs as well.

    Amazon Web Services is truly the way to go for just about any business but particularly for small businesses because there are so much flexibility and options, it allows you to create an infrastructure that is secure, reliable, and very specific to your business. With all this, it maintains a fair cost ensuring you are not overpaying for services.

    It is really easy for startups to use AWS Activate to start this process. You will be offered all sorts of tools and credits to get set up for free. You can also contact the AWS experts at SDI for more information. You can speak with Rob LaPointe at 408.802.2885 or email him at rob@sdi.la. You can discuss your business goals and find out exactly what will work best for you.

    Cloud Data Warehousing Options for Businesses – Part 1

    Every company is different and has different needs when it comes to just about everything. When it comes to cloud data warehousing, analytical systems, and big data you have a lot of options. The option that is best for you depends on a lot of factors. Below you will see a breakdown of Snowflake, Presto, and Hive. This should help you determine which you prefer for your business.

    First, let’s start off with what cloud data warehousing and big data is. A data warehouse is a system that collects data from various different sources within an organization. It then uses that data to provide information for better decision making. There are 2 types of data warehouse’s, one that is cloud-based and the other which is traditional on-premise systems. More companies are switching over to cloud-based warehouses because no hardware is needed, setup and scaling are quicker and easier, and it can perform more complex analytical queries faster.

    Big data is basically what it sounds like. It simply means a huge volume of data. This data is both structured and unstructured. The key here is what companies can do with the information that’s important, not so much the amount of information. The data provided can be analyzed to provide businesses the ability to make better decisions about what the company’s next move should be. Don’t worry if your business is not technical because you can still find and leverage the right technology needed for your business.

    What is Snowflake The primary purpose of Snowflake is to use the cloud and everything it has to offer. Some of the main benefits include:

    a. Quick decision making through analytics gathered from all your data. This can easily be provided to the people within your business. b. There is very little maintenance, you can scale your analytics. c. Provide customers with a better experience by providing them with fast, consistent, and relevant information.

    Many other data warehouses can’t match Snowflakes simplicity, performance, and cost. It is also easy to transfer the data you already have.

    You can make the most of the data you receive because it removes all the management needs. Since it runs in the cloud and has no infrastructure there is very little work on your end. Everything is done automatically for you. They have the tech to load and optimize natively for both structured and semi-structured data.

    One of the most impressive features is how fast it can process information and complete tasks. It uses very advanced optimization on the database engine so the data is received much faster than other cloud and traditional data warehouses. Within seconds you can then easily share data with anyone in the company, investors, and even customers with very little effort on your end.

    Scalability is very important as you will get what you want when you want it because it is constantly scaling up and down when it needs to. It also does that without any disruptions to your business. No matter how much data there is or the number of users, Snowflake scales automatically. You can integrate Snowflake incredibly fast and you can do it with ready-made or custom applications and tools.

    The price point is also very interesting. Instead of paying a large set cost, you only pay for what you use. This usage base pricing is for those who pay a lot to get everything set up in the beginning and are paying for what they don’t even use.

    What is Presto Presto is basically an open-source, distributed SQL query engine. If you’re wondering what that is, it is an engine that has the ability to run interactive analytical queries very fast against small or large data sources. It does not have its own storage system. It works really well with Hadoop. Amazon EMR Hadoop distribution has Presto packaged with it. Presto supports HDFS, HBase, Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift, Microsoft SQL, and more. Presto uses an architecture that is somewhat like a massively parallel processing database management system.

    With Presto, you don’t have to move data into a different analytics system to query the data. Instead, it can run these queries where it’s currently stored which provides the results within seconds. Presto has been designed to support complex queries, sub-queries, distinct counts, percentiles, aggregations, joins, left/right outer joins, and standard ANSI SQL semantics. There are a lot of companies that use this such as Airbnb, Nasdaq, and Netflix.

    Once the query is collected, the request is then processed throughout various stages across worker nodes. The processing is done across the network between the stages. This is done so that it evades any excess I/O overhead. With the additional worker nodes, the processing is quicker and it allows for more parallelism.

    You can easily deploy presto in the cloud. It is a great option for a workload in the cloud. Since the cloud provides amazing features such as reliability, scalability, economies of scale, availability, and performance, Presto is an incredibly useful tool. With Presto, within minutes a cluster can be launched. There is also no need to do anything when it comes to configuration, setup, node provisioning, and cluster setup and tuning.

    One query can take data from various sources, which gives you the ability to see analytics from various departments throughout the organization. Presto is pretty much in the middle when it comes to speed and price. They are fast but not overly expensive either. You either have an expensive tool that provides very quick response times or cheap, free ones that have very slow response times. Choosing Presto gives you a nice middle ground.

    What is Apache Hive Apache Hive provides the ability to do advanced jobs on HDFS and MapReduce. It’s an ETL and data warehousing tool that is best used with HDFS. SQL developers can write Hive Query Language (HQL) that is very similar to that of standard SQL. Hive makes it a lot easier to analyze massive amounts of data, do data encapsulation, and ad-hoc queries.

    The downside of HQL is the limitations it has with the commands it can understand. That said it is still a great tool to use. You can use it to run queries from various databases like Java Database Connectivity, or an Open Database Connectivity application. Also, queries tend to take minutes instead of seconds because Hive is based on Hadoop. You would not want to use this if you need really fast responses. You also don’t want to use this if you use a lot of write operations since the Hive is read-based.

    With that said, if you are familiar with IBM, they offer Db2 Big SQL which makes it easier, more secure, and faster to access Hive.

    The way Hive thrives is by managing and querying structured data that’s in tables because Hive creates and loads data into tables and databases. You may be wondering what the difference is between HQL and SQL. Well, SQL executes on a traditional database where Hive does it on Hadoop’s infrastructure. Depending on what your business is currently using this may still be a good option for you.

    There are 3 important factors to remember when it comes to the data your company needs; Volume, Velocity, and Variety. A lot of data needs to be collected from various sources which can include sensor information, social media, and various business transactions that occur throughout all the different departments. Then those data streams need to be dealt with at a very fast speed and in real-time. The data that comes in can come from various formats which could include; documents, emails, financial transactions, audio, and video. Your data warehouse has to be able to do it all and in the end, provide you with useful information.

    Your company has many needs and being able to gain high-quality insights into your business fast is very important. There is always a cloud data warehousing solution out there for you. If none of these seem to be the right fit you may want to check out part 2 of this blog (coming soon) which talks more about Hadoop, Casandra, and HBase. Comparing all 6 will help you determine the best course of action.

    If you are still unsure, you can contact the experts at SDI or email Rob at rob@sdi.la for more information about which Cloud Data Warehousing option you should choose.