In our first Talking Out Cloud of 2024, the spotlight is on providing optimal support for enterprises grappling with the challenges of modernizing Microsoft workloads.

Stuart Moulton, Senior Partner Development Specialist for Windows on AWS, guided us through today’s theme. With 25 years of diverse experience in the cloud industry, Stuart has been working closely with multiple organizations to translate innovative tech solutions into their next business opportunity. At AWS, as a thought leader & pioneer, his focus is on transforming businesses through partnerships while consistently prioritizing the needs of the client.

The insights he shared with us derive from a wealth of experience and a passion for advancing in the tech landscape. Let’s dive in!

#1: When assisting enterprises in modernizing Microsoft workloads, what factors influence the decision to proceed with this transition?

We are currently navigating through two significant inflection points. The first revolves around the substantial shifts Microsoft is implementing in its licensing and support infrastructure. Recently, we witnessed the conclusion of support for Windows Server 2012, and before that, in the middle of last year, the end of support for SQL Server 2012. These decisions by Microsoft to cease support require customers to conduct thorough due diligence on their entire environment.

The second crucial factor propelling these changes is the pursuit of cost avoidance and savings. Every customer is fervently seeking ways to sidestep the potentially exorbitant licensing and support costs that accompany the end of support decisions. This financial pressure is driving businesses to explore more efficient alternatives.

A recent survey underscored this trend, revealing that a staggering 84% of customers are actively looking to modernize within the next 12 to 18 months. It’s a clear indication that the concept of modernization has matured and is now at the forefront of strategic business discussions.

In essence, it seems like a perfect storm for the modernization conversation. The convergence of Microsoft’s support decisions and the relentless pursuit of cost-effective solutions has created an environment where businesses are compelled to reevaluate and transform their technological landscapes.

Learn more about how SourceFuse can help you start with your modernization journey.

#2: What are some of the common roadblocks when modernizing Microsoft workloads? How does AWS address them?

At AWS, I lead a team of modernization experts, many of whom are former Microsoft employees, specializing in evaluating Microsoft environments. The challenge we often encounter from customers is the uncertainty surrounding where to start and whether they should embark on the path of Windows modernization. This is where a partner like SourceFuse truly excels. This way, we can provide invaluable support to customers through comprehensive modernization viability assessments.

These assessments involve a thorough examination of the customer’s environment, allowing us to identify the low-hanging fruit and recommend the optimal path for modernization. We guide them on what aspects to prioritize and where to begin the transformation journey. Beyond that, we position ourselves as a reliable and capable pair of hands throughout the entire Windows modernization project.

Customers frequently find themselves grappling with questions about their Windows workloads, the historical over-specification of licensing, and potential areas for cost savings. It’s akin to facing a blank sheet of paper, and that’s where our expertise and partnership become crucial.

Just a year ago, the modernization conversation might not have been as prominent, then as we entered 2023 it matured significantly and is now poised to be a major focus for 2024. Our customers are realizing the need for guidance in this evolving landscape.

They trust partners like SourceFuse to help them navigate the complexities, leveraging our skills to ensure they derive the maximum benefit and optimal return from their modernization decisions. As the demand for modernization expertise grows, we are ready to be the strategic ally our customers can lean on for success.

#3: How does AWS support organizations to optimize costs without compromising on security or compliance?

The security aspect at AWS is pivotal! It is the cornerstone of our reputation. We take immense pride in our security measures being second to none. We place a strong emphasis on securing the environment, and while the customer has their applications layered on top, we collaborate closely with them. This partnership ensures that the customer is not only secure but also completely comfortable moving forward with their operations.

Beyond security, there’s a wealth of expertise in determining which environments are best suited for AWS. We provide valuable insights into the services that AWS offers, helping our customers make informed decisions about what would work optimally for them. It’s not just about migrating to the cloud; it’s about strategically leveraging the full range of AWS services available.

AWS, along with SourceFuse, is not merely providing a platform – we’re championing and evolving our services. Customers can turn to us to explore and benefit from the various assessments that can propel their business forward. It’s about pushing boundaries, enabling our customers to achieve things they might not have imagined in a traditional data center setup. The partnership between AWS and SourceFuse opens doors to possibilities that go beyond the conventional, propelling businesses into a realm of innovation and growth.

#4: What one piece of advice would you give to customers looking to optimize costs as part of their modernization journey?

Embarking on the journey of cloud migration might sound straightforward, but every significant endeavor begins with that crucial first step. I recommend initiating this process by engaging with an AWS-certified and accredited partner known for their expertise in the field. Having an open conversation with these partners is key. They not only provide valuable advice but also assist in assessing your environment, scrutinizing the business case, and determining where you stand to gain the most benefits.

It’s common for customers entrenched in Microsoft Office or software environments to default to Microsoft Azure without thoroughly exploring other options. I would strongly urge anyone in this position to pause and consider engaging with AWS partners. There’s a tendency to overlook the due diligence check when it comes to cloud service providers.

So, my advice is simple: reach out to AWS partners and explore what AWS offers. If you already have an account manager at AWS, they can guide you to someone like me who can provide the necessary support. The landscape of modernization has evolved significantly, and numerous customers are now seriously considering it over the next 18 months to two years. 

Conversations around modernization are on the rise, and we’re witnessing an uptick in interest and inquiries. It’s an opportune time to delve into these discussions and pave the way for a successful modernization journey.

Learn more about how SourceFuse, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner can enable you in your modernization journey.

#5: How do customers benefit from the AWS-SourceFuse partnership when it comes to optimizing cloud costs or migrating workloads?

When it comes to selecting partners in the UK focused on modernization, I prioritize experience above all. SourceFuse stands out among a handful of specialized partners that I choose to collaborate with. Given my limited bandwidth, I’m meticulous about selecting only the best, and SourceFuse consistently proves to be a standout choice.

Accreditations and certificates, including their status as an advanced partner, certainly play a role in this selection. However, what truly sets SourceFuse apart is their wealth of experience. They’ve accumulated not just certifications but practical, hands-on knowledge over the years.

Another aspect worth highlighting is their adept use of the tooling that we provide. Modernization is often a substantial journey, but the right tools can significantly shorten that path. Whether it’s transitioning from SQL to PostgreSQL, embracing open-source modernized environments, or venturing into pure cloud solutions, SourceFuse excels. They leverage our tools for both application and database modernization, showcasing a proficiency that ensures a smoother and more efficient journey.

It’s not just about expertise; it’s about using the right tools effectively. SourceFuse understands the intricacies of all kinds of modernization, be it app modernization, database modernization, or any other. They maximize the potential of the AWS tools at their disposal. This approach ensures that the customer reaps the benefits of their modernization decision at the earliest possible juncture.

Are you ready to modernize on the cloud with SourceFuse, AWS Advanced Consulting Partners?