Migrating workloads to Cloud is just the first step towards Digital Transformation (DT or DX).
This step is a butterfly effect which pops up questions such as, Which cloud is right for me? or
What pitfalls do I need to watch for? or Do my people have the skills we need to manage our
cloud environment?

Most organisations are migrating to the cloud as part of their DX journey. But, Cloud Services
have developed and changed periodically and radically over the past decade, and many IT firms
discover it far too late, that migration is a far more complex process than they originally
anticipated.

Still, the benefits of migrating applications and other data to the Cloud are worth everything due
to its ability to scale, effective use of resources, cost control, increased security and compliance.
Microsoft workloads have long been the foundation of many enterprise businesses. With the
advent of Cloud technology, many enterprises are starting to move away from the traditional IT
operation, pay loading the workloads on AWS Cloud for its efficient, agile, and cost-effective
nature.

These services help organisations move faster at lower IT costs and scale on applications. Even
the largest enterprises and the hottest start-ups trust these services to power a wide variety of
workloads including web and mobile applications, data processing, data warehousing, etc.
While the cloud is the optimal solution for these enterprises, it can be complex and intimidating
at times during the decision to migrate off legacy infrastructures. Thankfully, with over 700
Windows Server-Based offerings in the AWS marketplace, it’s clear that AWS is a strong option
for running Microsoft workloads.

8 Steps for Migrating to the Cloud :

1. Develop a Cloud Strategy :
Before jumping on the bandwagon of Cloud, one must establish a strategy for migrating to the
cloud, including goals and objectives. No organization migrates to the cloud in any ‘just
because’ case . Identify ‘why’ the organization is migrating and get clear on what success will
look like. Use this to set concrete goals for the future.

2. Choose the Best Provider :
Choose the cloud provider that will help you best meet your goals. Where you build and host
your environment should depend on the goals you are trying to achieve, as identified in the
above step. For example, each public cloud platform is different, with different strengths and
drawbacks.

3. Choose the Right Cloud Environment :
Assess (legacy) application readiness. Applications typically perform best on a public cloud
when they have been designed to take advantage of the specific architecture of the platform,
relying on its strengths.

a. Lift and shift :
This method involves migrating an application or workload ‘as it is’ from one environment to
another. Think of it as moving an old house from the country to the city. Nothing about the
house changes, just the environment around it. For legacy applications, this is often the easiest
method, but for applications built in the pre-cloud era, it can introduce risks.

b. Rearchitecting / Recoding :
On the other end of the spectrum, re-factoring involves rearchitecting/recording part or all the
application to create a cloud-native equivalent. The most expensive and time-consuming, this
method is most often used for applications for which is not available commercially.

c. Middle Ground Modifications :
This middle-ground option involves modifying enough components of your application, to allow it
to run on a cloud-native platform. The advantage of this approach is that it will allow you to
realize more of the cloud benefits, faster than the ‘lift and shift’ method. However, this method
can also increase your security and compliance risks if your team doesn’t have the requisite
knowledge and skills.

4. Infrastructure :
Assess your current infrastructure. Your applications have all sorts of requirements when it
comes to infrastructure. You will need to ensure that the cloud platform can accommodate them,
or, that you are ready to re-platform your applications for the new environment.
The main factors to assess include:

  • Amount of Storage Space needed
  • Amount of Computational Power
  • Networking Requirements
  • Operating System Compatibility

5. Back-Ups :
The first part of any migration should be a full backup of your existing servers. Hopefully,
nothing goes wrong as you migrate to the cloud, but one can never be too careful!

6. Deployment :
The deployment includes provisioning and testing each component as it is shifted. It is important
to do this at a time when disruption to the business will be minimal.

7. Data Migration :
Once the deployment is done, you will want to migrate your existing data as well. This helps
ensure business continuity and increases longevity.

8. Testing :
Be prepared to test all components together once they have been deployed and, data has been
migrated. This should include load testing and vulnerability assessments. The user experience
should be seamless, and security testing should reveal no issues.

Why AWS for Microsoft Workloads ?

In many ways, AWS has worked to make Microsoft as native to the AWS Cloud as possible.
AWS notes that customers have ‘successfully deployed every Microsoft Application available on
the AWS cloud’. What AWS has succeeded in, is creating an avenue for deploying all aspects of
Microsoft for business to AWS.

With AWS, you pay only for the resources you use and scale its flexibility. This allows for greater
growth without risk or guesswork when calculating computing needs. Also, ‘Bring Your Own
Licenses (BYOL)’ policies allow businesses to save money on existing investments when
moving to AWS.

  • For many corporate IT applications, AWS provides a cloud platform that helps run
    Microsoft applications like SharePoint, Dynamics and Exchange in a more secure, easily
    managed, high-performance approach.
  • For developers, AWS offers a flexible development platform with EC2 for Windows
    Server and easy deployment and scaling with AWS Elastic Beanstalk, which helps scale
    and deploy applications built on .NET, Java, PHP, node.js, Python, Ruby, and Docker.
  • For business owners, AWS provides a fully managed database service to run Microsoft
    SQL Server, which helps you build web, mobile and custom business applications.

Benefit from High Reliability and Strong Security :

AWS offers high availability across the world. Each AWS region has multiple Availability Zones
and data centres, allowing fault tolerance and low latency. This, along with the 99.95%
availability allows for the maintenance of mission-critical data, keeping your systems online and
protecting you from dire failure.

Similarly, to its infrastructure, AWS takes a multi-layer approach to security. From dedicated
connectivity to security groups and access control lists, you can ensure your information is
protected. End-to-end encryption, AWS Direct Connect, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud
(Amazon VPC) all offer security for your applications.

Whether you choose to take a hybrid cloud approach or dedicate your full enterprise operations
to AWS, it offers a simplified approach to running Microsoft workloads in a cost-efficient manner.

Explore the World of Microsoft Windows on AWS :

Today, we believe that AWS is the best place to run Windows and its Applications in the Cloud.
You can run the full Windows stack on AWS, including Active Directory, SQL Server, and
System Center, while taking advantage of 61 Availability Zones across 20 AWS Regions. You
can run existing .NET applications and, can use Visual Studio or, VS Code builder for a new
cloud-native Windows Applications using the AWS SDK for .NET.

You can also run Windows Server 2016 on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). This version
of Windows Server is packed with new features including support for Docker and Windows
containers.

1. SQL Server Upgrades :
AWS provides first-class support for SQL Server, encompassing all four-editions (Express, Web,
Standard and Enterprise), with multiple version of each edition. This wide-ranging has helped
SQL Server to become one of the most popular Windows workloads on AWS.
The SQL Server Upgrade Tool makes it easy for you to upgrade an EC2 instance that is running
SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 to SQL Server 2016, allowing you to upgrade and launch the new
AMI.

Amazon RDS makes it easy for you to upgrade your DB instances to new major or minor
upgrade to SQL Server. The upgrade is performed in-place and can be initiated with a couple of
clicks. For E.g., if you are currently running SQL Server 2014, you have the following upgrades
available:

You can also opt-in to automatic upgrades to new minor versions that take place within your
preferred maintenance window:

Before you upgrade a production DB Instance, you can create a snapshot backup. Use it to
create a test for DB Instance, upgrading that instance to the desired new version, and
performing acceptance testing.

2. SQL Server on Linux :
If your organization prefers Linux, you can run SQL Server on Ubuntu, Amazon Linux 2, or Red
Hat Enterprise Linux, using our License Included (LI) Amazon Machine Images. Check out the
most recent launch announcement or search for the AMIs in AWS Marketplace using the EC2
Launch Instance Wizard:

This is a very cost-effective option since you do not need to pay for Windows licenses.
You can use the new re-platforming tool (AWS Systems Manager script) to move your existing
SQL Server databases (2008 and above, either in the cloud or on-premises) from Windows to
Linux.

3. Lambda Support :
Launched in 2014, and the subject of continuous innovation ever since, AWS Lamda lets you
run code in the cloud, without having to own, manage, or even think about servers. You can
choose from several .NET Core runtimes for your Lamda functions, and then write your code in
either C# or PowerShell:

Read ‘Working with C#’ and ‘Working with PowerShell’ in the AWS Lambda Developer Guide to
get more insights. Your code has access to the full set of AWS services and can make use of
the AWS SDK for .NET.

4. .NET Dev Center :
The AWS .Net Dev Center contains materials that will help you to learn how to design, build and
run .NET applications on AWS.

Also, check out AWS’s advantage for Windows over the next largest cloud provider.

Below listed are some of the powerful AWS services used for SQL Server Workloads.

Summarize :

AWS offers the best cloud for SQL Server, and it is the right cloud platform for running
Windows-based applications today and in the coming future. SQL Server on Windows or Linux
on Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes. You can
commission one, hundreds, or even thousands of server instances simultaneously.

  • Greater Reliability
  • Faster Performance
  • More Secure Capabilities
  • More Migration Experiences and
  • Lower Customer Cost

Written by: Nitin Ghodke

source link : https://aws.amazon.com/windows/

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