You’ve heard the saying “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!” and in this blog we’re looking at preparing for large-scale cloud migration.
There are certain necessary strategies you must consider for building a successful disaster recovery plan when migrating your workloads to AWS.
We asked Harshil Shah, Partner Solutions Architect, US SMB Greenfield at Amazon Web Services (AWS), to share his insights on this topic in our latest ‘Talking Out Cloud’.
Harshil, driven by his intrigue in how AWS technology can streamline large-scale application development & deployment on the cloud, talked about the fundamental approaches that lead to a fruitful AWS migration.
#1 For customers looking to migrate their workloads to AWS, what is the purpose of a foundational technical review?
The AWS Foundational Technical Review (FTR) is intended to help customers ensure their workloads are built based on the best practices for architect workloads in AWS Cloud. It helps validate these workloads against security, operational efficiency, and reliability.
It allows customers to work with an AWS Solutions Architect to develop a business continuity plan which helps them define their RTO and RPO requirements. Customers can choose from various different disaster recovery strategies to protect their workloads from data loss and restore their systems in the event of a disruption.
The FTR also helps them with their overall migration strategy, whether they are moving from an on-premises infrastructure to the cloud or from different cloud providers to AWS Cloud. Having completed the FTR, it supports customers to provide their service offering as a SaaS product through the AWS Marketplace.
#2 What is the potential impact if a disaster recovery plan is not in place?
A disaster recovery plan, commonly referred to as a business continuity plan, is crucial for a business to run smoothly. Although disasters are rare they are highly unpredictable and, if overlooked, can have a catastrophic impact to the overall functioning of the business.
The potential impacts of not having a disaster recovery strategy in place include complete loss of data, business interruption, loss of customers, loss of revenue, a damaged reputation due to unplanned downtime, and finally the entire business failure. As you can appreciate, there might be significant damage to your IT infrastructure if not remediated on time.
In contrast, a well-defined disaster recovery plan helps ensure all of the IT infrastructure, including the data it stores and processes, can be recovered in the event of an unpredictable failure or an outage. It helps replicate data across geographically distant locations as well as route user traffic to an available region in case of an existing region failure as a result of natural calamities or other human-error disasters.
#3 At what point do AWS Consulting Partners become part of that conversation or process?
AWS Partners are crucial in helping customers build and test their disaster recovery plan, and also choose to leverage their managed service offerings if available.
AWS also offers tons of resources through whitepapers, workshops, and blogs that provide prescriptive guidance in helping customers define their business continuity plan and meet their recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) objectives. [RTO means how long it takes for your system to come back up in the event of a failure, whereas RPO defines how much a system can withhold data loss.]
In addition, AWS offers tools and services that can help Partners backup and restore a customer’s environment in an event of failure. Depending on the defined RTO/RPO requirements, AWS Partners can implement a customer disaster recovery strategy based on the following:
- They can either choose to select backup and restore or they can go with a pilot like strategy.
- They can, depending on the requirements they have, they can also pick up warm standby where you have an active, active kind of setup but only when a disaster happens you spin over the other region.
- And finally, for business critical workloads or mission critical workloads, you have an active offering where both the regions are simultaneously working at the same time.
For each of these strategies, AWS provides relevant services, such as AWS Backup which enables backup of infrastructure components like EC2, EBS, EFS, database snapshots, etc. across different regions. Today, AWS operates in more than 26 geographical regions with five or more data centers within each of these regions.
These backups are point-in-time copies that can be easily restored in cases where an entire region is impacted. AWS provides services that help deploy your infrastructure as code (IaC) in another region with a click of a button; AWS Consulting Partners like SourceFuse help you build that IaC with minimal heavy-lifting by your engineering teams.
Building these templates can be overwhelming for customers, so Partners can assist by offering these templates as assets that build out the entire infrastructure for a given workload during a large-scale cloud migration process.
#4 What should CTOs or CIOs consider when looking for a modernization-led migration?
In my experience, working with CTOs and CIOs is very helpful when they can identify their current business challenges operating on private or public cloud, challenges with their own data center, challenges operating an application across different domains, or identify organizational gaps in terms of technology or people skills.
So, I have conversations around this in terms of what are their technological challenges with the current infrastructure and what would be required to close the gaps to be able to modernize.
Initiating a modernization effort requires initial discovery of the current application state, its access patterns, its deployment cycles, how the deployments are happening, etc. All of these are highly critical factors to identify the right cloud migration and modernization strategy and resolve their current IT challenges.
Modernization helps these customers maximize the benefits and features of the cloud platform, and allow their teams to develop application functionalities faster with minimum administrative overheads.
Cloud technologies, such as serverless computing, help customers build a microservices-based architecture, which is part of a broader modernization effort to go further than solely focusing on building out core business functionalities and infrastructure administration / management.
While making the right choice for technology to adopt within the cloud can be daunting, AWS Partners like SourceFuse make it really easy to leverage the best available technology options for running large-scale applications on AWS with cloud-native modernization approach.
SourceFuse is an Advanced Tier Partner within the AWS Partner Network with proven competencies across migration, consulting, DevOps consulting, as well as infrastructure and support service delivery qualifications in collaboration with AWS. Plus, SourceFuse can also offer hands-on immersive labs to train your teams on cloud and develop their cloud skills – so you’re in safe hands.
#5 What has been your experience working with the SourceFuse team?
The process that we leverage is very straightforward and seamless. First, we identify the opportunity where the customer use case is built around migration/modernization, or where they have a critical disaster recovery requirement. In these cases, the AWS account team and our Solution Architects work closely with the customer and plug SourceFuse into the conversation.
The way we collaborate with our partners is by offering the statement of work, which defines in detail the key delivery elements and timelines and has proved highly beneficial for customers to take advantage of. They get a clear picture in terms of how their project is going to progress and how SourceFuse is going to assist them through their cloud journey.