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Making virtualization, reality

Fast Or Slow: 2 Ways To Transition To Amazon Web Services

transitioning to AWS

Let’s assume that you’ve decided to transition to Amazon Web Services. The increased server capacity, decreased maintenance costs and all-around ease of access to your data makes the cloud system an obvious choice. But there’s a problem: all your data’s already stored on physical, bricks-and-mortar machines. You’re paying a tremendous amount for cooling, floor space and machine upkeep, but you also can’t just shut the whole thing down and start fresh in a week. Can you?

Keep The Transition Simple

There are two approaches to solve this problem: a simple way, and a complicated one.

The simple way is ideal, of course. If you’ve already taken the first steps towards transitioning to Amazon Web Services, you might have a proven, functioning POC system. One good way to transition is when starting a new company project—it’s not hard to deploy that in Amazon and build a virtual private network (VPN) from Amazon into your existing data centre; through that, your Amazon application can access data internally. If you’re worried about safety, don’t fret: your system can be encrypted and surrounded by firewalls, and data can be compressed for safety.

From there, once the cloud is in place, you can move all your data into Amazon quickly. If you physically send your data to Amazon on hard drives, the cost is minimal and they’ll upload everything for you, destroying your hard drives afterward (unless you request to get them returned—don’t forget if you still want them!)

This “big bang” approach gets the job done quickly in one fell swoop. This is ideal, if it’s manageable for your company—Amazon Web Services can run a number of virtualized desktops, such as Amazon Workspaces and Citrix, to ensure all your apps and servers are running in a single, streamlined system.

Phased Transition For Larger Companies

The second, more complicated but sometimes necessary approach, is a phased one. This means your move to the cloud is done in phases, often department-by-department.

Say a company has hundreds of employees in dozens of departments. Each department might have its own computer system for functioning, and they may not mesh—this would make it impossible to take a “big bang” approach, since there are so many various internal hardware requirements and risks involved.

Of course, even some smaller companies would rather play it safe. Even if an all-in-one shot is preferable from a technical standpoint, it’s understandable for a mid-sized company to want to take things slow. The department-by-department approach typically takes two to three months, whereby self-contained departments, like HR and finance, are transitioned first onto the cloud, and the more complex departments are brought on board later.

The Benefit Of The Move

Amazon offers a lot of options and functions to help facilitate companies’ desire to move to the cloud that other cloud service providers wish they had. These options are making cloud computing a reality for many people. It used to be beyond the scope of many companies to build a high-performance computing environment for big data analytics, but—like Microsoft Azure Machine Learning—Amazon is making it possible by offering low cost computing and removing complexity from information tasks. Between the ease of the system and the cost savings, the question isn’t, “Why should you adopt Amazon Web Services?”, but rather, “How do I proceed?”

Trent Dilkie

Trent Dilkie

Trent Dilkie has come a long way in the last 30 plus years, from engineering student at the University of New Brunswick to VP Strategic Initiatives & CSO at Gibraltar Solutions. Today, Trent is an important part of the Gibraltar team, as his expertise in security has allowed him to be involved in ethical hacking and building computer security assessments and new security practices. He has also developed solutions for mobile device integration into corporate IT, Bring Your Own Computer programs and Mac@Work programs.

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