Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ion is building Modern Workplaces 4 of 6

Ion is building Modern Workplaces 4 of 6 Cloud and the Modern Workplace


The Modern Workplace almost requires the Cloud, the sharing of information and collaboration between employees in a safe and secure way is very had to do without cloud technology.  In this post we talk about the Modern Workplace in the Cloud, why its better, how to migrate to it and some of the challenges and tasks in that migration.

Modern Workplace in the Cloud

Advances in technology and shifting workforce demographics are creating a more fluid work environment, redefining what productivity looks like, and empowering individuals to work smarter. With an influx of new talent that values experiences, continued learning, and collaboration over financial compensation, leadership will have to take a forward-looking approach to restructuring the workplace landscape.
Innovative technologies can help all organizations respond to workplace trends and create dynamic environments that incentivize and empower the next generation of employees.
While the modern workforce wants flexibility, they don’t want to give up the benefits of working as part of a team. For organizations looking to restructure their respective work environments, the collaborative features of modern cloud technology are especially advantageous. These technologies allow disparate team members to collaborate in real-time across multiple projects and platforms. Communication tools like Skype for Business and Teams provide intuitive channels for employees to stay up to date on projects and streamline processes. Additionally, the file storage and sharing capabilities of cloud technologies ensure every employee can access and contribute to the correct documents. Ultimately, organizations can easily implement modern technologies to create the workplace experience that’s vital for both employee retention and acquisition.

What does "Cloud" mean

Eight years after 'cloud computing' burst onto the scene, the term still causes confusion.

A computer geek might say that "the cloud" is the same as "the Internet." That's a simple explanation that may seem like the right one. When something (such as our email or our music) is stored in the cloud, we need the Internet to get to it. But the two things aren't the same. In fact, some "private" clouds have nothing to do with the Internet at all.
Like "certified pre-owned car" and "faux pearls" cloud is a term that's been seized by marketers, in this case to make something dry and technically complex sound useful and non-threatening. Who could be afraid of a cloud?
Here's a dryer but less ambiguous way to say it: "distributed computing." Imagine you're using your computer to write a document. If your computer crashes while you're in mid-sentence, you won't be able to work on that document again until it comes back to life, and depending how your software works, you may lose some or all of your work. Now imagine a magical world where you're still typing away at your document on one keyboard, and reading it on one screen, but you actually have several computers all working on your document (and other people's documents) at the same time. If one of them crashes--or even slows down--you won't even notice because the rest will pick up the slack. 

Why is the "Cloud" better 

“One of our big objectives was to eliminate $3 million in capital costs over about three years, and to reduce our operating costs by approximately the same amount. At the same time, we wanted to improve our quality of service. With Azure, we’re confident that we’ll meet those goals.” -- Jim Slattery, Chief Financial Officer, Capstone Mining.
The Cloud has the following benefits:

  • Reduced Costs - A virtual machine operating in the Cloud like Azure, can cost less than just the cost of power for an internal server.
  • Cloud based applications like Office 365 or Google Suite are accessible from anywhere you have access to the internet. 
  • The Cloud is much more secure than is even possible with internal data  centers, Physical Security alone is clearly better and Cybersecurity is absolutely better than any on-site (The next article in this series will address this further)
  • Decreased time to market/release. By reducing management overhead and freeing up budget, you can focus more time and effort on rapid software and solution development. Faster deployment of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) will enable your business to release faster and more often
  • Support for scalability requirements that are more cost effective. When you have to plan for peak usage through on-premises systems, most of the time you’re left with servers that are running at less than 20 percent utilization. The cloud releases organizations from this model, enabling a scale-when-you-need-it approach.
  • Renewal of datacenter or hardware leasing. If you’re currently extending your budget on renewing hardware or paying for datacenter locations for hosting, this is the perfect time to look toward cloud migration. The cloud can make these necessities a thing of the past by enabling a cloud vendor to host these services for you.
  • Renewal of licensing. Nearly everyone has an annual licensing agreement with their major IT providers. These too require ample budget to ensure your virtualization and OS platform are sufficiently covered. The cloud can help you here, providing a pay-as-you-go offering to reduce this cost.
  • Application development and modernization. If you’re in the software business, your resources are probably spread thin. And using on-premises platforms is likely not enabling you to adopt modern services. The cloud provides an integrated platform for modern development, where development teams can increase speed by up to 33 percent.
  • Disaster Redundancy is built in and Cloud Platforms like Azure are rated at %99.999 (five nines) and not subject to Typhoons, Flooding or Earthquakes due to geographic isolation.
  • Disaster Recovery is also built in and automatic, key services are automatically fail over configured for full reliability and availability. 

What does it take to move to the Cloud

Sometimes cloud migration can be simple, with only a few decision points. However, your case may be more complex, depending on how many servers and virtual machines you use.

Your migration could require you to run parallel and iterative migration processes as you progressively move your applications and workloads to the cloud. Whether your migration is simple or complex, it’s helpful to think of the basic elements of the process. Migration can be boiled down to three main phases, as illustrated in the model below. 

Rehost (below). Also referred to as “lift and shift,” this stage entails migrating your physical servers and virtual machines as-is to the cloud. By simply shifting your current server environment straight to IaaS, you reap the benefits of cost savings, security, and increased reliability.

In the new rehosted cloud model, hardware and operating systems you previously managed yourself are now managed by the cloud provider. All other aspects of the workload or application remain the same. This is the most popular migration approach, as it lets organizations move quickly, with little risk or impact, and receive immediate benefits. It also allows customers to see lower total cost of
ownership (TCO) faster, enabling investment back into the migration process to evolve through the model.


Refactor (below). Also known as “repackage,” this stage involves using additional cloud provider services to optimize the cost, reliability, and performance by refactoring your applications. In lift and shift, you were only taking advantage of the provider-managed hardware and OS, but in this model you also take advantage of cloud services to drive down cost.

You continue to utilize your current application as-is, with some minor application code or configuration changes, and connect your application to new infrastructure services such as containers, database, and identity management systems. By employing modernized services in this scenario, you can lower cost and management


Rearchitect(below). This is also known as “redesigning” an application to modernize it—that is, to transform it with a modular architecture. Rearchitecting is modifying or extending an existing application’s code base to optimize it for a cloud platform and for better scalability.
Cloud provider services can be used directly as backend services of modern apps, which are highly scalable and reliable. This is likely the most time-consuming way to migrate an app to the cloud because it requires app code changes. One example of rearchitecting would be decomposing a monolithic application into microservices that work together and readily scale on Azure. Another
example would be rearchitecting a SQL Server database to make it a fully managed Azure SQL Database.


Rebuild(below). Revise the existing application by aggressively adopting PaaS or even software as a service (SaaS) services and architecture. The process encompasses major revisions to add new functionality or to rearchitect the application for the cloud.

An example of this stage would be code redesign to decompose the original application into smaller chunks, and then deploy using modern cloud provider services.


Replace(below). This refers to moving or discarding an existing application and replacing it with commercial software delivered as a service, or SaaS. SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider.

When you choose this option, all underlying infrastructure, middleware, app software, and app
data are managed by service providers and located in their datacenters. The service provider manages the hardware and software and, with the appropriate service agreement, will ensure the availability and security of the app—and your data as well. SaaS allows your organization to get quickly up and running with an app at minimal upfront cost. Typically, you migrate existing data to the SaaS environment. Application data import/export is achieved with an API or configuration/admin console.


Lift and shift is the most common (and easiest) first step, enabling you to move quickly to the cloud. Through process discovery efforts, you can easily map the next best steps for each workload based on goals, effort, and complexity. An advantage of this approach is that it enables you to sustain parallel migration efforts.

And, as your IaaS projects continue, you can easily start modernizing certain applications to PaaS and even SaaS options.

While the migration evolution model shows a potential step-by-step journey for moving workloads from on premises to the cloud, the model also suggests that workloads could start at different pivot points. Where you begin depends upon the complexity of the workload and, ultimately, what you want out of it. For example, if you have a simple web application hosted in Windows

Server Internet Information Server (IIS), connected to a database, then it may make sense to proceed directly to the cloud optimization stage. In this case, you could migrate that application using Azure App Service and Azure SQL Database. To do this, you’d need to have a deep understanding of the application, including its complexity and dependencies.

No matter which option you choose, you need a solution that provides a smooth and easy cloud adoption, so you can migrate at your own pace. This requires a cloud provider (and core partners) who can deliver a comprehensive set of tools, methods, and offers for helping with migration and reducing risk. Most of all, this solution should offer a simple process that’s easy to follow.


Obviously each enterprise will have different characteristics and requirements.  A complete Assessment of both Current and Future State with a Gap Analysis is essential.  The Modern Workplace with all its advantages should ultimately be cost effective but failure to assess and plan is planning to fail.  Ion Management has managed many of the largest Public, Private ad Hybrid Cloud environments that are efficient and secure let us do that for you.


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