Cloud computing offers many benefits, such as pay-as-you-go pricing, increased agility, and scalability. However, adopting it is not a simple lift-and-shift operation. A successful Cloud strategy must consider several factors, including Cloud readiness, workload requirements, security concerns, and many others.
In this article, we focus on the first factor – namely, Cloud readiness assessment. It is vital, as your Cloud journey may not bring you desired outcomes without a clear vision. Cloud assessment, in turn, will help you understand where you are at on your adoption and help you prepare for all the possible pitfalls along the way.
What is Cloud assessment?
Cloud assessment is aimed at analyzing your resources to determine whether you are ready for Cloud migration. If you are already using Cloud, your vendor will help you understand if you do it optimally.
Cloud assessment providers help you plan your adoption journey carefully to implement it as efficiently as possible. Cloud readiness assessment is a rather complex process that requires a clear roadmap to be appropriately executed.
Roadmap of Cloud assessment and migration
The roadmap or Cloud readiness assessment checklist is a list of practices you need to do to understand if your investment is paying off. However, each organization is unique and requires a different Cloud readiness assessment methodology. The approach depends on whether or not you have established Cloud practices, what licenses you have got, your in-house team composition, etc.
To help you as efficiently as possible, N-iX provides Technology Consulting services that help to assess and kick our projects off quickly. Our Solution Group that unites the top Solution Architects, Business Analysts, UX Designers, Product Managers, and other tech experts to outline your Cloud prospects.
Typically the assessment lasts up to two weeks and consists of three main stages. Let’s talk about them in some detail.
1. Data collection stage
Thorough data collection is the most crucial aspect of a successful Cloud assessment service. You need to know for sure what impact the Cloud adoption or migration will have on your business. Thus, your Cloud assessment provider needs to know everything about the current state of your product and all the dependencies. The cloud readiness assessment checklist should include:
- The analysis of what servers are used to run applications;
- The estimation of the complexity levels of each application and infrastructure.
By creating a dependency map, your Cloud assessment provider can categorize them by priority or complexity of migration.
Google’s Cloud Architecture Center suggests that the detailed inventory should include the dependencies of each app, other components, and services that support your infrastructure, servers, network devices, firewalls, and other hardware.
So, at this stage, our experts thoroughly interview the stakeholders to find out what services you use, what licenses and compliances you have, learn everything they can about the current architecture, whether it is efficient enough, and so on. Also, to make the correct decision, you need to understand how you plan to scale your business in the years to come.
This stage usually ends in a review meeting to summarize findings and conduct a Cloud assessment checkpoint.
2. Time and resources estimation stage
The key activity in this stage of the Cloud assessment readiness checklist is right-sizing analysis.
According to AWS, right-sizing is about matching instance types and sizes to your workload performance and capacity requirements at the lowest possible cost. Simply put, they try to understand whether Cloud adoption is worth it in your specific business case and how to perform it as efficiently as possible.
For instance, during this stage, N-iX experts:
- uncover constraints and risks of Cloud adoption or migration;
- capture current and future Cloud costs;
- analyze expected Cloud consumption spend;
- Come up with disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
Also, based on your resources and needs, your experts in Cloud assessment services start estimating the time and costs you need to bring the project to life.
3. Report creation stage
All the data collected during previous stages needs to be presented to the client. So, this stage is all about creating the Cloud Readiness Report with recommendations. For instance, N-iX experts develop several scenarios on how we can help you address your problem. Also, we will provide a several-year cash flow model and cost breakdown for Cloud services, depending on which Cloud you choose.
You may wonder why you should search for Cloud assessment providers if you could just use some of the out-of-box Cloud assessment tools available. We’ve got you covered. Here are the main reasons.
Cloud assessment tool vs. Cloud assessment provider: what will do better in your business case?
Cloud assessment tools evaluate your existing IT infrastructure and analyze the cost-benefit, security, and risk factors associated with Cloud migration or adoption. In this case, we mean the tools offered by third-party providers rather than Cloud hyperscalers.
Such solutions can help you discover, map, and evaluate your migration strategies. Businesses leverage these applications to assess Cloud migration feasibility, readiness, plan, and estimation. They also generate reports that allow visualizing the assessment scores through graphs, charts, etc.
Cloud assessment tools are a go-to option for you if:
- You have a skilled in-house team that has experience working with at least three most used Cloud vendors;
- You have all the required licenses, certifications, and compliances to adopt the Cloud or move your application to the Cloud;
- You are familiar with all the best practices associated with Cloud migration and clearly understand the possible risks and outcomes it may bring.
If none of these are relevant to your business case, you should consider partnering with a Cloud assessment provider. How to choose a trusted one?
How to choose a vendor to help you with Cloud assessment and migration?
Let’s take a look at some steps that will help you choose a trusted vendor.
Extensive consulting experience
Consulting is an integral part of your Cloud assessment journey. So, your provider must offer professional consultancy services to consolidate the best modern technology and business practices. For instance, N-iX Technology Office experts use top-notch technologies and support you from the beginning of your Cloud transformation throughout your journey to success.
For successful product delivery, your vendor must have robust expertise in several tech domains. Let’s view these areas of expertise in more detail:
Strong experience with key Cloud vendors:
An experienced vendor working with the cloud should know the pros and cons of three leading providers: AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure. Also, it is critical to know which Cloud has the best services for solving a particular task.
Cloud migration expertise:
Cloud migration goes hand in hand with a range of challenges. Thus, to overcome these difficulties, choose a vendor with enough capacity and experience to provide Cloud assessment and cost optimization services. Their Cloud migration expertise will help you ensure a smooth transition to the Cloud, cut infrastructure costs, and achieve more flexibility.
Expertise in IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS:
With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), clients get computing, networking, and data storage resources delivered to them over the web. This way, businesses can manage their infrastructure without physical access to the data centers. Enterprises store the organization’s data on the provider’s servers, and if they need to, they can manage them using API or a dashboard.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) stands for Cloud computing services that provide an on-demand environment (application development platforms) and tools and are accessible to customers over the internet. PaaS lets engineers implement custom software online without worries about managing the server infrastructure, data storage, and databases.
SaaS or Software as a Service in cloud computing presupposes that the third-party vendor provides a client with a ready-to-use application hosted on a Cloud. In other words, a SaaS offering covers an already operating software and not just a set of tools aimed at building one like it is with PaaS or IaaS. Software as a Service comes up with the highest vendor involvement among all cloud computing models. Your SaaS provider manages software and hardware, ensures the application’s and data security, and is accountable for the system’s maintenance.
Thus, your vendor should have strong experience with IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS for successful cloud-related project delivery.
Your potential vendor should have solid DevOps expertise to help you with the following:
- Improved scalability. An environment requiring constant observation and support is the main area a DevOps expertise can come in handy;
- Cost audit. DevOps professionals can choose the services best fit for your business and thus optimize the costs for Cloud-based solutions;
- Support. There are better practices than using developers for on-call support of an application as you respond to the issues rather than predict and mitigate them. A DevOps expert, in turn, can automate the process and let developers focus on their jobs;
- Migration. When moving from an on-premise data center to the Cloud or in the case of Cloud-to-Cloud migration, DevOps can make up a significant part of the work that needs to be done.
Learn more about Cloud DevOps
Experience with Cloud assessment tools provided by Cloud vendors
Major Cloud vendors offer their own Cloud assessment tools. They are used to make the assessment process smoother and stay within the same ecosystem. Some examples of such tools are:
- AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) and the AWS Migration Hub;
- Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit and Azure Migrate;
- Google Migrate for Compute Engine and the Google Storage Transfer Service.
These tools will create an inventory of your servers, databases, and applications. They also allow the creation of dependency maps to categorize applications and assist with migration prioritization.
Each has benefits and drawbacks, making it essential to choose the provider that best aligns with your business objectives. In some cases, using more than one at once will be necessary, posing the option of a hybrid cloud assessment.
4. Partnerships with key Cloud hyperscalers
Partnerships with AWS, Azure, and GCP are vital to consider when browsing through Cloud assessment providers. AWS, Azure, and GCP designations mean that vendors have undergone rigorous audits and passed the certifications. That, in turn, means that the vendor has enough experience and case studies to match the passing requirements.
For instance, N-iX is an AWS Consulting Partner, Gold Microsoft Partner, and a Google Cloud Partner. We have achieved these and other designations due to constant work and improvement. Over the years, N-iX has successfully delivered over 200 Cloud projects, with 30+ migration readiness assessments and migrations just in the last year. We have worked with midsize businesses and large enterprises, including some Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders, helping them transition to the Cloud and get the most out of this journey.
Now, let’s look at the success story of one of the businesses that chose N-iX for their Cloud assessment and migration journey and succeeded.
Cloud assessment, migration, and modernization with N-iX: Client's success story
Our client is a pioneer and leading global IoT connectivity equipment and services provider. They reached out to N-iX to modify the existing solution: the portal that managed IoT devices. The platform was fully monolithic, so not flexible and not customizable per the customers’ needs. Also, some parts of the solution were hosted on-premise and included legacy code, resulting in bugs and limitations.
The client needed to make the solution cloud-agnostic, modernize the technology stack, improve user experience, and introduce best practices in CI/CD. Also, the client intended to enable the customers to install the IoT portal in their own environment and via cloud providers’ application stores.
N-iX experts thoroughly assessed the existing on-premise and Cloud architecture, created diagrams of the new Cloud architecture, and offered them to the client. After several discussions, we approved the architecture of the solution and started working on migrating the solution to Cloud.
To make the solution compatible with any Cloud infrastructure, we chose the Kubernetes cluster. To enable launching the portal in Kubernetes, we migrated all services to containers. The aim was to let customers easily install the product by following the steps from the installation guide. We also wrapped the services into Helm charts to create installation packages for Kubernetes.
Then, to ensure that the solution works efficiently on any Cloud provider, we performed load tests and optimization on three leading cloud providers: AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure. Also, we have verified that the customers can install the solution on all types of Kubernetes: Cloud, on-premises, and local Kubernetes. Furthermore, we have implemented autoscaling according to the product metrics.
Why choose N-iX as your Cloud assessment provider?
- During our 21 years of market presence, we have built strong partnerships with the key Cloud vendors: AWS, Azure, and GCP. We are AWS Consulting Partner, Gold Microsoft Partner, and a Google Cloud Partner. These partnerships allow us to provide top-notch consulting services and offer special deals to our customers. For instance, due to N-iX partnering with AWS Well-Architected Program, you can get AWS credit for migrating your workloads after the assessment stage.
- By choosing N-iX as your provider of Cloud assessment services, you can speed up your digital transformation with our comprehensive Cloud expertise. N-iX Cloud professionals by your side will help you with Cloud readiness assessment, Cloud migration readiness assessment, Cloud-to-Cloud migration, on-premise to Cloud migration, choosing the optimal migration strategy, and access to the latest technologies and best practices.
- We have 400 highly experienced Cloud professionals on board that will help you audit your application and choose the best approach for Cloud migration so that you can unlock the power of cloud-native application development. N-iX Technology Office will provide your professional consultancy services and consolidates the best modern technology and business practices to help you address the most complex challenges of ever-changing markets. Our experts use top-notch technologies and support you from the beginning of your transformation through your journey to success.
- N-iX professionals can assist you on each stage of your Cloud transformation journey. Apart from Cloud assessment and cost optimization services, we also specialize in Cloud strategy development, Cloud-native services, Cloud migration, application transformation, on-premise support and automation, DevOps, and CI/CD automation and optimization.