AJ McCaw, June 15, 2023
Cloud computing took off with the advent of virtual machines. Virtualisation is the process of creating a software-based computer with dedicated amounts of CPU, memory, and storage from a physical host computer. This technology allows cloud providers to use the hardware in their data centres more efficiently, effectively turning one server into many — bringing more servers to more customers at a lower cost.
There are numerous advantages of a cloud system. According to Zippia, 94% of companies currently use cloud services. And it isn’t just large companies taking advantage of the cloud — 61% of businesses migrated their workload to the cloud in 2022 alone. Zippia’s report also highlights that 80% of companies report operation improvements after adopting the cloud and 82% of small businesses report reduced costs thanks to cloud technology.
However, moving your business to the cloud isn’t always so straightforward. Depending on your organisation’s size, existing infrastructure, and team member experience, some diligent planning is required to successfully make this move with minimal downtime. Many DevOps and development team skill sets are transferable to the cloud, but often benefit from additional training.
Fortunately, developers can use containers, which are smaller, faster, and more portable than virtual machines (VMs). Instead of emulating an entire physical machine, containers:
As containers hold only the components necessary to run the application, they reduce the size and complexity of deployments. Moreover, they’re inherently portable among developers, machines, and cloud providers — making multi-cloud architecture an attainable reality.
The rise of containerisation has led to the birth of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Kubernetes. The CNCF ecosystem aims to align the industry in utilising containerisation technologies to build and run resilient, manageable, and observable applications — making today’s complex systems and architecture more future-proof.
This article explores how self-service tools can make cloud migration easier and more efficient, helping your business keep up with the times and the competition.
Traditionally, a complete cloud migration requires extensive planning across the organisation and encompasses many infrastructures, such as computing, networking, security, and storage. Cloud migration is a cross-team undertaking that includes — but isn’t limited to — cloud architects, cloud engineers, systems administrators, security engineers, compliance specialists, managers from these teams, and executives.
And while it’s virtually impossible to abstract away every process needed to deliver your business’ software in the cloud, cloud self-service aims to minimise the required skill sets. Ideally, the developer should only have to know about:
Cloud self-service simplifies complex cloud technologies so that developers without extensive cloud experience can repeatedly provision cloud services. This means that veteran professionals configure something as complex as cloud-managed Kubernetes while adhering to all cloud security best practices — including all resiliency and scaling requirements.
Self-service also ensures that all automatic upgrades are applied to the infrastructure or infrastructure-focused components, freeing developers from needing to understand tedious and error-prone manual upgrades. Furthermore, this process liberates platform teams from spending unnecessary time on operational tasks rather than value-adding projects and processes.
Cloud self-service offers pre-configured setups that encompass security best practices from both security and platform teams. This means easier and more manageable cloud services for developers, resulting in a wholly simplified cloud migration experience.
Migrating to the cloud means provisioning cloud resources for computing, load balancing, firewalls, and storage (to name a few). Migration also must include security, identity and access management (IAM), auditing, and monitoring. Someone or something has to make all these macro and micro decisions so that DevOps and development teams can maintain a sense of empowerment over the infrastructure but with enough guardrails to reduce organisational risk.
All of this contributes to enabling developers without expertise in cloud services to create and deliver end-to-end services with faster time to market — securely and consistently.
Self-service tools enable team members to migrate to the cloud quickly and more efficiently by removing third-party dependencies (for example, additional roles and resources) that may introduce bottlenecks and handoffs. This inherently reduces application delivery speed and time to market. Just-in-time access and automation ensure that team members can provision correctly configured resources without asking for permission.
With so many moving parts and a catalog of configuration parameters, migrating to cloud infrastructure can be difficult to achieve without help. Instead, platform teams can commoditise this infrastructure and allow self-service to the required infrastructure, making sure that it’s provisioned, secured, and monitored for you. This also ensures that your teams can alter certain parameters — like a username or region — without modifying underlying cloud infrastructure best practices or exposure to configuration that is outside of their knowledge realm.
Self-service tools also enable you to embed security checks and enforcements throughout the developer self-service lifecycle using automated and enforced runtime security checks. Teams can use Checkov as a set of centralised security policies defined by security teams and embedded as part of the delivery pipeline. This helps reduce risk while speeding up the cloud migration process. Any undetected security issues in the creation stage is picked up by the enforced runtime stage, when the resource is due to be provisioned.
Your organisation’s developers know your product better than anyone else. Using your internal subject matter expertise built over several years, with direct experience of your product, ensures that resources play to their strengths and use their expertise for products — rather than focusing on managing the many complexities of the cloud.
As mentioned previously, increased migration speed and efficiency are only some of the benefits of self-service cloud migration. Self-service tools help platform teams to automate the subtleties of security, hardening cloud resources.
Since you own your infrastructure and your internal team can manage it under the self-service model, you save time and costs while improving visibility. Third-party vendors with intensively resourced teams have high associated costs and a higher total cost of ownership once your migration is complete. Using a self-service model simplifies the process and shortens the duration of a cloud migration, helping you save time and money throughout. Additionally, your team saves time without waiting on third-party engineers to make changes.
Efficiency and savings are crucial for effective cloud strategies. According to Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud Report, companies have reported that they waste 32% of their cloud spend. The biggest culprits of waste include improperly sized instances, misused expiration dates, and lack of proper shutdown — which organisations can mitigate through proper self-service initiatives.
Furthermore, starting your cloud migration journey with a consistent set of development practices helps your teams move quickly and cut costs in ways that suppliers can’t match.
Appvia employs the self-service cloud migration model to help your business ship quickly and securely, with no surprises on your bills. It provides your platform teams with Appvia Wayfinder — a product that enables self-service cloud automation for your cloud migration strategy — and a Cloud Native Landing Zone, which ensures that the cloud structure is in place before your applications begin their journey into the cloud.
Appvia sets up your business in the cloud with security at the forefront, applying a blend of your organisational security standards and industry best practices to meet your compliance needs. Appvia works with you to build out a hub-spoke networking topology, identity and access management, and auditing and central policy management that aligns to your compliance requirements. This full cloud automation from the outset ensures that your development team can immediately deploy applications to optimise networking capabilities and access cloud resources simply.
Appvia Wayfinder automation creates isolated cloud accounts, ensuring that your workloads remain separate from other projects’ data and other environments. When your clusters and containers are isolated from the outset, your teams can deploy self-service cloud resources and containerised applications without getting overwhelmed with cloud complexities and security best practices.
Moreover, automated and uninterrupted monitoring throughout the application lifecycle empowers your business to frequently deliver application changes to your customers with greater confidence, catch issues before they’re deployed, and identify and resolve any problems that manage to sneak through.
As a result, part of the cloud migration process requires changes to team workflows. These shifts have a bit of a learning curve, but that’s an inevitable consequence of modernising your infrastructure and software delivery practices. The trade-off is worth it. Organisations that successfully migrate to the cloud consistently report reduced costs and increased security and stability.
Appvia has years of experience in cloud migration and has deep knowledge of all the components of the cloud. After implementation, Appvia provides support and training for your team to ensure that you are comfortable navigating and working with your new cloud infrastructure on your own.
Self-service cloud migration is the fastest way to complete your cloud migration journey. It has just enough guardrails to prevent your organisation from making costly mistakes but enough freedom to grow and adapt to changing business needs and technological advancements.
Trust in Appvia’s expert experience to successfully migrate your business to the cloud and hand over the knowledge and expertise to your team members.
Learn more about self-service cloud migration with Appvia.