Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform and SAP: migration, solutions and benefits
- December 09
- 11 min
Migration to the cloud brings numerous benefits. Scalability, flexibility, and improved security are some of the most known. What are the other cloud migration benefits? How do companies take advantage of cloud computing solutions? When does a public cloud adoption make sense? How long does it take to migrate to the cloud? Feel invited to explore the topic.
Table of contents
What is the Cloud?
What is Cloud Migration?
What are the benefits of Cloud Migration?
What are the cloud options? Get to know IaaS, PaaS & SaaS
When does public cloud adoption make sense?
Finding the right team for Cloud Migration
How long does it take to Migrate to the Cloud?
In simple terms, cloud computing (or short: the cloud) is a form of outsourcing IT resources – such as servers, hardware, and software – and accessing these resources via an Internet connection.
These resources depend only on a company’s needs. It may be an entire infrastructure, a platform for developers (like Google App Engine, where web applications can be built and hosted), or even just an application (like Microsoft Office 365).
Cloud migration is the process of transferring an organization’s existing applications (often legacy applications), data and workloads to a cloud computing environment. As technology advances and more organizations move away from on-premise infrastructures to cloud-based solutions, the popularity of cloud migration has grown significantly in recent years.
Cloud computing benefits provide users with reduced operational costs, data storage, quicker time-to-market and improved reliability compared to traditional on-premises IT infrastructures. See example!
The increasing popularity of cloud migration can be attributed to its numerous benefits including greater agility, cost savings, improved collaboration capabilities, enhanced security, scalability and efficiency. This makes it easier for organizations to innovate faster while avoiding the need for large capital investments in hardware or software.
Cloud migration enables organizations to benefit from economies of scale and improved risk management while reducing their expenses as they shift from purchasing physical infrastructure to paying only for what they use. Hence, cloud migration and related cloud migration services, such as cloud app development consulting, cloud disaster recovery, and IT infrastructure management, are becoming increasingly popular.
There are 5 benefits of cloud migration most commonly mentioned but the benefits that come from migrating to the cloud go beyond the familiar.
Cloud infrastructure is renowned for its scalability. Scalability allows businesses to adjust the number of computing resources as needed, maximizing cost efficiency and providing flexibility. Cloud infrastructure can be scaled up quickly depending on the needs of the organization, so businesses don’t need to overprovision their computing resources or pay for unused capacity. This in turn leads to significant cost savings, since they only pay for the capacity they use.
The benefits of scalability for enterprises are numerous. It allows organizations to easily scale up their IT infrastructure as their business grows and demand increases. Cloud-based services are easily adjustable and can be adapted according to specific requirements such as peak periods or changing demand patterns.
Cloud scalability also offers improved availability and redundancy of services, allowing businesses to remain online even during times of high traffic or a surge in new customers.
For example, McDonald’s uses cloud scalability to manage peak hours in certain locations by automatically scaling up servers based on customer demand levels.
Airbnb is able to instantly scale its platform whenever there is an increase in bookings due to a surge in demand from customers around the world. This efficient scaling helps Airbnb save a substantial amount of operational costs while ensuring that user experience remains seamless regardless of demand fluctuations.
Similarly, Amazon used cloud scalability when one of its biggest sales events went live – Black Friday – deploying additional 20% more servers than usual without incurring any extra costs or disrupting the user experience.
Cost savings associated with cloud migration can be seen in a variety of areas. For businesses that have an on-premises infrastructure, there are often costs associated with ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the hardware and software. This includes the cost to purchase, install, and manage server hardware, operating systems, and software licenses. There is often a need for extra IT staff to manage these environments and make sure they remain secure.
With a move to the cloud, organizations can reduce or even eliminate many of these costs as there is no longer a need for physical hardware or the staff to manage it. Instead, your data is stored securely in remote servers owned by the cloud provider. Cloud providers take care of all the maintenance tasks such as patching, and updating software versions and backups. Since many of these services are subscription based, they also provide increased scalability since you only pay for what you use.
Some cloud providers offer special discounts when users commit to long-term contracts or purchase larger amounts of storage space upfront.
Moving from an on-premises infrastructure to a cloud solution can provide significant cost savings for organizations through reduced hardware purchases and maintenance as well as improved scalability due to pay-as-you-go pricing structures offered by most service providers.
Users may benefit from improved performance due to optimized hosting solutions provided by the provider’s infrastructure which can help increase customer satisfaction levels leading to increased revenue opportunities down the road.
Flexibility is one of the major advantages that enterprises gain by migrating to the cloud. Cloud services offer a wide range of features and tools for customization, making it easy for organizations to tailor their infrastructure to their individual needs. This flexibility can benefit companies in a number of ways, from reducing overhead costs and increasing scalability to improving security and providing enhanced access for remote workers.
Cloud computing offers organizations the ability to customize their IT environment quickly and easily as business needs change. Instead of purchasing fixed hardware or software solutions, businesses can use cloud-based services to adjust applications and storage on-demand with pay-as-you-go pricing models. This reduces upfront investments in IT infrastructure while allowing organizations to scale up quickly if needed.
Migrating to the cloud allows companies access to a wide variety of services like Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML), which can be used to improve customer experience and increase efficiency.
The increased flexibility that comes with migrating to the cloud can also help businesses ensure data security. Cloud providers have implemented multiple layers of defense against data breaches, such as encryption and identity management systems.
Moving data offsite also eliminates any physical concerns surrounding servers stored in office buildings, such as fluctuating temperatures or power outages causing data loss. Cloud computing gives remote staff members access to company information from anywhere in the world through secure connections remotely, helping enterprises stay competitive even when employees cannot be on site physically.
There are numerous examples of companies experiencing tangible benefits from deploying flexible cloud infrastructures. Capital One financial services saw an improvement in their time-to-market for new products after switching to cloud technology.
Similarly, Comic Relief was able to cut costs significantly by leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) for digital fundraising during big campaigns like Red Nose Day USA 2020. The flexibility offered by cloud services allows companies to quickly adjust operations according to changing circumstances without sacrificing security or performance levels.
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It takes time and effort – with the cloud it is easy to connect applications, integrate them, and manage them quickly and with ease in the software development environment. But you have to make proper preparations to get to such a state. Sometimes your company’s applications have to be rewritten or even built from scratch so they can use the full potential of the cloud. Nothing comes easy – especially when you want to achieve the highest quality available.
Improved security is one of the key benefits of cloud migration that enterprises are leveraging today. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer a variety of built-in security measures to help ensure data and applications remain secure. These include identity and access management (IAM), network security controls, encryption technologies, audit logs, and automated alerts for suspicious user activities.
The improved security offered by cloud providers has numerous benefits for enterprises: reducing the complexity associated with managing security in-house; providing scalability to meet changing requirements; reducing the cost associated with purchasing hardware and software; and enabling compliance with industry standards like HIPAA and PCI DSS.
Cloud providers often supply advanced monitoring capabilities to detect suspicious activities as soon as they occur.
Organizations from a variety of industries have seen tangible results from improved cloud security. For example, after switching to the cloud for its customer relationship management system, financial services firm Fidelity Investments saw a 30% decrease in threats on its network. Healthcare provider Dignity Health was able to reduce costs by 60% while achieving strong compliance following their cloud migration. PayPal also reported an 80% reduction in incidents after moving its IT infrastructure to the cloud.
The improved security offered by cloud providers is having a positive impact on enterprise organizations around the globe, helping them reduce costs while keeping their sensitive data safe from malicious actors.
Read more about industry cloud platforms
Accessibility is one of the major selling points for cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Azure. With an internet connection, users can access cloud-based services from anywhere in the world, enabling businesses to access critical applications and data without needing to be physically present at a company office. This opens up huge opportunities for companies that may have team members or customers that work remotely or need to access information while traveling.
The advantages of accessibility offered by cloud-based services are numerous. For example, businesses can benefit from increased collaboration between their teams when they’re able to use cloud applications and tools to securely share documents, ideas and data regardless of geography.
With automated monitoring and security measures constantly at work, companies can rest assured that their data is safe and secure.
For example, due to its scalability, businesses using Microsoft Azure will only pay for the resources they need at any given point in time which helps create cost savings over more traditional hosting solutions.
There are many examples of how accessibility has benefited other organizations across a wide range of industries. For example, NASA has used Microsoft Azure’s infrastructure to store and process huge amounts of satellite imagery for its Earth Observation project. This enabled them to track environmental changes around the globe with greater accuracy than ever before.
Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente implemented Azure’s AI capabilities in order to automate processes such as appointment scheduling and patient history tracking, allowing them to provide better care while reducing costs associated with manual tasks.
Finally, tech giant Microsoft itself relies heavily on Azure’s accessibility features in order to provide its customers with online services like Office 365 and Xbox Live which enable users to seamlessly collaborate and game together regardless of location or device type.
The cloud environment is usually used as the opposite to “on-premise” solutions, which means installing and using applications loaded into the hardware existing on the premises of a company. It isn’t enough to say that cloud applications are installed and used on servers belonging to a cloud provider and accessible via the Internet. There are three main ways in which a company may use the cloud. Here comes the distinction between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, and how this distinction affects the cloud’s pros and cons.
IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, means that you don’t have to maintain or configure storage, servers, or network monitoring. You are outsourcing an infrastructure. You can control the operating system, middleware (which lets data communicate with a database), runtime, you can also build and install applications, and add data. You are getting a server (virtual machine) loaded on hardware located in a data center, and you can control everything about that virtual machine – but nothing about the hardware.
In short, that means you don’t have to worry about the well-being and efficiency of physical hardware. Instead, you can develop apps, use them, and also optimize the whole infrastructure to fit your exact needs. Such maintenance takes time and effort, but a lot of IT engineers demand that level of control.
PaaS, Platform as a Service, means you are outsourcing only a platform for the developers: a space in which you are setting data and developing applications. Everything below, every item that allows this environment to work is managed by someone else – in the case of a cloud, by a cloud provider. You are using an environment that enables you to work – you do not have control over it and do not maintain it, so you can (or even have to) focus all your efforts on creating, testing, and using apps.
In short, with PaaS, all optimization happens without you. In terms of the cloud’s pros and cons: this limits your possibilities – but also provides you with a ready-to-go development environment. It does not require as many skills as IaaS, because thanks to automation it is much less prone to mistakes. It saves time for developers because they do not have to worry about maintenance.
SaaS, Software as a Service, is the most limited option. You are outsourcing software only – for example, an application or service, such as Microsoft Office 365, Netflix, or Gmail. You cannot modify it, you do not even know on what infrastructure is it based – you just use it. If you are an end-user – which basically means someone interested in creating documents in a text editor or transferring payments through a transfer application – that is all you need. After all, you do not usually write code or optimize programs to make them work better, you just use them.
The cloud is not about choosing between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. For most companies it is quite obvious which one is the best option – the answer depends on your role and on the way your company uses applications.
As such, considering the cloud’s pros and cons must be based on the company’s business needs.
So, you know that more and more companies are moving to the cloud. Cloud-based solutions are the future and investments in them are skyrocketing.
Is the cloud solution right for your company? Should you really invest in the most significant trend in the IT industry since the invention of WiFi? Let’s dive a little deeper!
To set the stage for consideration, let’s have a look at your company, which is using on-premise solutions. The enterprise is either small or medium, but you expect it to flourish soon. For now, though, the infrastructure and servers’ power is usually enough, minus occasional downtimes. For most problems your IT team is enough to deploy applications or update the infrastructure – but crashes happen from time to time anyway. In short, your infrastructure is not the most reliable, but it works.
If you find yourself in the above description, no wonder you worry if cloud adoption is really needed. After all, we all know how the saying goes: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ or, even better fitting the theme, ‘never change a running system’. And you are right because there is a possibility that in your case sending your business to the cloud makes little sense. Let’s look at both sides of the coin and find out when to plan the public cloud adoption, and when to postpone it for now.
First – a quick reminder. Why do you use systems and IT solutions in the first place? The bet is, you wanted to have reliable, fast, not too expensive, secured, and mostly automated tools to attend to your business needs. We’re talking customer services, distribution channels, organizing finances, or simply having it all in one, easy-to-reach place.
Every time your system is down, when it generates too high costs, risks a data-leaking, or simply makes it hard to work with – it’s not performing its core tasks.
Each item on this list is like a ticking bomb – without attending, it may eventually blow up, damaging the budget and workflow of the company. Why is that so? Because such problems tend to grow in time.
People are creatures of habit, so it’s easy for us to get used to occasional downtimes or sluggish pace of work. But just because we stopped noticing the problem, doesn’t mean that the problem stopped existing.
In today’s market, any lost opportunity to boost your company is a way to set it back in the competition.
Lifting the weight from on-premise servers and placing it in complex, well-developed data centers lets developers and engineers forget about most problems connected to the low capacity of local infrastructure.
In many cases, it’s also simply cheaper: for example, when your business is tightly correlated with seasons, which means periods of dealing with heavy traffic alternated with periods of low server usage. Usually, that means the necessity of keeping physical servers capable of carrying out heavy loads for the whole time – which causes high costs during the whole year.
Data centers are much better equipped to host your services than your own infrastructure or your local server outsourcing place. The devices are kept up to date, are constantly monitored, and are much more productive and efficient, which means they are rarely having downtime. That’s not surprising – if you’re a data center that holds terabytes of data, you must invest in the best infrastructure. Not to mention the cooling systems, emergency procedures, and so on.
Data centers are the place to base your services if you are searching for a safe, reliable solution.
The cloud-based infrastructure is flexible and more reliable. If you need more space than previously estimated, that’s not a problem. You don’t have to buy another device, relocate your applications or develop new, expanded software. Cloud, just like the Internet, is endless. What is more, in contrary to using on-premise solutions, with the cloud you are paying only for the space you are actually using. And you can always go hybrid cloud or multi-cloud for better efficiency!
No matter the cap of possible usage of data – you are not paying for what you could do with the infrastructure, but for what you are actually doing.
The maintenance of cloud-based solutions, i.e.: developing, updating, fixing or configuring is much easier with the cloud than it is with on-premise servers.
A huge portion of the changes is being done automatically by the cloud provider, which means taking the pressure of constant maintenance from the company’s IT team.
Cloud-based solutions let you deploy applications in a way that is not only simpler but also faster. If you want a new tool, you must just deploy it – not plan on buying new equipment, like load balancers or additional virtual machines, and not waste time and money like it usually is with on-premise solutions.
There are no universal solutions and following common trends without a deeper thought usually doesn’t do much good. That’s why it’s important not only to see the advantages of cloud adoption but also to consider situations when the change is simply not needed yet. Especially if at the time being the company can do without speed or capacity increase. The decision is up to you in situations when:
Even in such situations, the cloud can still bring much good for the company.
Cloud adoption is an investment, and it is more than clear that investments must be planned and must have their place in business strategy.
Better to consider every aspect of the problem and then decide on the best course of action (followed by choosing the best strategy for the cloud migration process), instead of jumping into it headfirst.
We mention “the best strategy of cloud adopting” – yes, you are right, there is more than one way to do so. You could almost say that to every application being used in your company, you can apply one out of six main procedures and an endless amount of their variations. Choosing the best way to migrate to the cloud is a task for a cloud architect and a customer. That means you should be supported in the process of decision-making by the person that knows everything about the cloud. Together, you will choose what’s best.
The typical task distribution looks like this:
Cloud architect prepares the plan of migrating – evaluates assets being used by your company, prioritizes the first group of applications and workloads and aligns each task to a suitable team.
Then developers, QAs and DevOps engineers will migrate existing apps, using an iterative approach, thanks to which the effects of their work will be visible during the whole process of cloud adaption – not only on its end.
Depending on the size and complexity of the existing applications and workloads, the time frame can vary.
It all depends on the scope of the project. Taking the example above, we are talking about a span of several weeks, if there are no critical modifications during the project. Cloud migrations are complex. The migration process depends on many factors and is estimated individually.
Did you make up your mind? In case of any questions regarding your future cloud environment, send us a message!
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