Tell me your Azure migration strategy and I will tell you what kind of manager you are. It's very easy to toss that out there and call yourself innovative, forward-looking and digital. But to really be forward-looking you have to do a solid job first. In this blog we look more at the pre-migration phase, and what is important.
Using Azure does not require any special skills; anyone can go in and start. But when you want to innovate further, you face the challenges.
A forward-thinking leader understands that doing a thorough job before moving to the cloud is what really builds for the future. That is how you can create a secure, flexible, scalable solution that utilizes the cloud’s potential and efficiency gains.
Build a solid foundation
To use a house metaphor: if the foundation is poorly built and you build floor upon floor on top of it, then you will encounter problems. And then it is not easy to go into the foundation and repair it, because that may affect all the floors resting upon it.
The most important thing for Innofactor in the first phase of a cloud project is to chart the company's motivation and goals for moving to the cloud, as well as studying the opportunities that the cloud opens.
In the first phase with a customer, it is important that we ask smart questions. That will give us a solid understanding of the customer and together we can discover important information.
Innofactor has experience with hundreds of different customers of different sizes with different needs. This helps us to ask the right questions, understand the customer, and outline good solutions.
How do you experience meeting with customers during this phase?
We find them to be curious. It is very trendy and current to want to go to the cloud. Most people have heard the buzz words, but have varying skills. They want to know what they can get from it, what added value they can get, as well as time and cost perspectives.
Who is in a hurry?
Are there many managers who are in a hurry to move on quickly?
It's a bit fashionable to be in a hurry, at the risk of thinking too short-term. But it is our job to explain why we need to do a thorough job in the startup phase, so that there will be less work later. Our customers are generally less busy than others, because we are different from other IT partners in that we always do a very thorough job in the initial phase. Therefore, it is probably those who know the value of this who choose us.
So you won’t go too fast if a customer wants to?
We do not want to end up having a dissatisfied customer; we are looking to deliver quality. That's why we want to do a solid job first because we know how important it is.
The first assessment phase is based on different scenarios being presented to the customer, where we are looking for the motivations and goals.
We outline different directions we think may suit the customer. These we present, discuss and agree on a plan. We are with them on their journey.
Only after doing a thorough mapping job can you plan progress and get an overview of the costs.
If you jump too quickly to implementation, you often lose control of costs. In addition, one can make mistakes. So what should be faster and more affordable, in the long run becomes slower and more expensive.
Innofactor wants to keep track of costs and progress, and be able to communicate clearly and intelligibly about them.
Infrastructure as code
Then it's time to build the infrastructure itself. Here, Innofactor has developed a unique step-by-step process. You may have heard of infrastructure as a code? Where one can build up the infrastructure with lines of code? This provides several benefits, as follows.
- Using Infrastructure as Code, one can create "building blocks" which can be used to assemble the desired infrastructure.
- You can put the infrastructure architecture into a version control system.
- There is a full change log, so you can see who made the changes and when, and it is reversible.
- This strengthens security and makes it more transparent.
- There are less human errors, because the entire infrastructure is put into a structured system.
- There is fast delivery when you need more. You define all the rules initially, and then you can "build on" according to the current rules with a few keystrokes.
Innofactor has taken this a step farther.
Using infrastructure as code we have made "building blocks", that we have assembled into "prefab houses" based on our experience and expertise with various companies in the market. Thus, we can start from a "prefab house" and adapt it. We know how to adapt it, because of the responses to our questions in the survey phase.
What benefits does this have?
It allows us to build the infrastructure even faster, and it raises the quality.
Innofactor has developed a unique solution that sets up a secure and proven data center platform in Azure. This platform becomes a foundation for all services you want to run in Azure.
Finally: Which customers should choose Innofactor?
Those who move to Azure to achieve something. Those who want to build sustainable, secure infrastructure that can scale further with the company in a good way.
Haakon is a consultant at Innofactor, where his focus is on Azure. He works with architecting secure cloud environments for businesses and exploring the possibilities with infrastructure as code to deliver better solutions for his customers.