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Migrating Applications to the Cloud

A Cloud Computing White Paper

Service providers have learned much about how to improve migrations to cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) since the first adopters made their transition. Businesses intent on moving to the cloud expect to increase network uptime, enhance end user satisfaction and achieve higher levels of IT security protection. Accordingly, Systems Engineering has developed an enhanced, streamlined cloud computing model that you might call “SE Cloud 2.0.”

The common perception is that migrating applications to the cloud is an easy transition, but in fact, it is as complex as a traditional migration. Details to be addressed by a thorough and segmented execution plan include core application compatibility, Internet speed, end user access and end user support.

Systems Engineering’s SE Cloud offers a fully vetted migration process that ensures a smooth transition and proper evaluation and support for end users, in addition to secure, cloud-based server access and data storage. It is a more detail oriented, enhanced experience that ensures networks and applications are functioning properly within the cloud space.

Defining the Cloud

For the purpose of this white paper we are referring to the Public Cloud Deployment Model. Essential characteristics of the cloud include self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured service. The Systems Engineering cloud meets these criteria to a large extent.

Motivating Factors for Cloud Provider Migration

The primary benefits of migrating to SE Cloud include:

  • Reduced hardware lifecycle management and associated capital investment
  • Eliminated need for advanced facilities requirements (power, HVAC, secure data room, etc)secloud
  • Flexibility to expand/contract storage and processing systems as needed
  • Automatic backup and basic security are part of standard provisioning
  • Significant savings in audits and risk reduction for regulated businesses
  • High level of customer service, enhanced user experience and help desk support.

With migrations to SE Cloud, Systems Engineering takes the time to understand the various ways the clients access their applications and from where they are accessed. Engineers determine the clients’ tolerance for latency and/or ability to use Terminal Server or Citrix to access applications. Depending on the mix of applications and workflow, some customers, especially those not familiar with Terminal Server/Citrix, will want to access the cloud over a SSL VPN. Systems Engineering finds that some applications will simply not work acceptably on Terminal Server/Citrix.

Onboarding a new client to SE Cloud entails an extensive checklist to capture many of the details required to qualify and design an effective cloud solution. The organizational assessment includes the following factors:

  • Number of users
  • Bandwidth requirements
  • Licensing
  • End user access
  • Current providers
  • Understanding all of the customer’s applications, business processes and existing performance issues to assure great value and a satisfactory experience.

Workflow is also a critical component of the overall cloud design. The benefits of the elasticity and remote access inherent in the cloud become obvious. The challenge is to identify critical production tasks that may be impacted and require a redesign in order to meet the customer’s needs. This is also where a hybrid solution may be required with an on-premise file/print server that is synchronized with a cloud server.

Finally, it is important to understand how much post go-live support the customer and their end users will need. If the customer is reasonably self-sufficient, a block of remote technical support hours could suffice. Otherwise Systems Engineering recommends purchase of a full help desk agreement to provide level 1 support.

After months of refinement, SE Cloud has been deployed successfully to a growing number of Systems Engineering clients. SE Cloud is a good fit for those customers who see the value in a highly available infrastructure bundled with Systems Engineering managed services to keep their applications and business performing.

SE Cloud Case Studies

Systems Engineering has helped a number of clients transition to SE Cloud. Although some faced anticipated difficulties in transitioning away from their current providers, Systems Engineering was able to navigate the complexities and deliver an excellent end result.

A Real Estate Investment Company with less than 10 employees.

Systems Engineering worked with a small real estate investment company that needed to separate their operating environment from a former partner company. Their successful migration to SE Cloud includes access to email, a heavily used copier/scanner as well as access to MicroSoft Office applications.

An Environmental Impact Mitigation Company with 15 employees spread across the US at various construction sites.

Dissatisfied with their previous cloud-hosting provider, this environmental impact mitigation customer came to Systems Engineering with a series of challenges, including a large volume of printing and document uploads from various sites using less than optimal bandwidth. Systems Engineering rose to the technical challenges. Migrated their applications to SE Cloud and provided the customer with a much higher level of service than they received from their former vendor.

A Retail Services Company with less than 10 employees.

Weight Watchers of Maine came to Systems Engineering when their previous hosting company told them they were getting out of the cloud-hosting business. Systems Engineering collaborated with the previous supplier to coordinate the migration of all applications and data. This customer has been extremely satisfied with the migration process and was able to move from one cloud to another without any setbacks or interruptions in service.

In contrast to the poorly planned, piecemeal transitions that are all too common in the industry, SE Cloud’s fully vetted procedure ensures a migration with minimal disruption to your business and an outcome that takes maximum advantage of all the cloud has to offer. Systems Engineering thoroughly evaluates your current system; specifies in detail the form your cloud-based system will take; develops a detailed roadmap for getting there; and then deploys first-class engineers to execute the plan. Importantly, we provide an often-missing ingredient – support for your end users every step of the way.

While migrating to the cloud is still a complicated process, SE Cloud is a viable option for those customers who see the value in a highly available infrastructure bundled with Systems Engineering services to keep their applications and business performing. Direct benefits include increased uptime and productivity, greater data security, as well as reduced capital, upgrade and personnel costs.

For more information about SE Cloud, contact Systems Engineering.