Architectural Decision – Cloud Migration

I wanted to work through a solution that I proposed to a client recently that involved taking a client to the cloud.

 

Scenario / Customer Requirements

My client is overdue for a major infrastructure refresh, They have had significant growth over the last 18 months and due to this growth their internal ICT systems have been put under unexpected pressure due to this growth. They have had to go through unplanned and unstructured expansion with a ‘just get it done’ mindset. The internal ICT team has been stretched and has been in firefighting mode for over 12 months.

 

During the initial client engagement meetings the business has identified that

  • There is insufficient manpower to make significant change in their business
  • There have been several hardware failures of equipment with little or no redundancy and a number of single points of failure
  • A finance audit of the leasing schedule raised issues with the life of equipment and its lease period
  • The ICT Team has asked for a high capital expenditure for new equipment which has been declined

 

Technical Environment

  • ESXi 5.0 environment
  • Various storage platforms in production use including a 2.8 year old SAN, 3 direct attached storage shelves and several NAS units.
  • 4 x Dell servers (high end) – 2.8 years old with 3 years maintenance. Currently consuming on average approx. 40% CPU and 92% RAM
  • 4 x HP Servers, between 3 and 6 years old. Currently running file and infrastructure services
  • 4 x Workstations (HP Z Series workstations), running test and development workload in the server room
  • HP Networking equipment
  • Backup Tape library has failed and not covered by warranty
  • Limited to 1 Gig networking through the office (some servers have 10gb cards)
  • Building has fibre termination from 3 providers
  • 50 Meg Internet (fibre to customer rack)
  • Server room power is at capacity

 

Assumptions

While the business has seen significant growth, the ICT team has stayed the same size, with staff coming and going but no real increase in FTE count, their systems have grown slightly however interviews and review of systems doesn’t reflect a large growth in CPU, RAM. The main capacity increases were in storage and is aligned with known project workloads.

 

Constraints

The business can’t afford in this or the next budget cycles for unexpected capital expenditures, business is focused on growth and expansion and significant financial resources have been tied up in securing that growth.

 

Compelling Reasons and Business Drivers

  • Business can’t afford to purchase new servers, licensing, backup infrastructure and storage
  • Outages have affected business productivity
  • Existing team is under unacceptable levels of stress and pressure
  • Business is more interested in known operational costs than large one off capital costs.

 

Architectural Decisions 

  • Migrate capital costs to operational cost.
  • Move environment to cloud service provider
  • Decommission Server infrastructure
  • Decommission Storage infrastructure
  • Upgrade existing Internet connection

 

Justifications

  • Meetings with client did not reflect any appetite for a refresh of existing kit
  • Aversion to capital costs at this point
  • Desire by ICT team to work smarter not harder

Impacts

  • The ICT will not survive for another 2 years, staff turnover would be approx. 100%
  • Stress is affecting both personal and professional lives of all ICT staff
  • Outages and downtime are costing the business measurable and significant amounts of money
  • ICT is unable to provide the required business expansion that is scheduled over the next 3 years

 

 

Alternatives

  • Leasing or other financial cost off setting solutions
  • Outsourcing infrastructure and management of ICT services to service provider

 

Solution

  • We provided them with a pathway to the cloud utilising a operational cost model and hybrid cloud solution which allowed them to migrate their critical production workloads into the cloud which solved a significant number of their issues and freed up onsite resources and capacity to provide a high level of service to the business.
  • The cloud networking solution provided a platform that will allow the business to embrace a number of cloud solutions (PaaS and SaaS) that have never been viable previously.

 

Next Steps

The next steps for this client revolve around the migration of their test and development workloads from onsite and ageing HP workstations to the public cloud cloud where they can take advantage of the elasticity and flexibility of the environment.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and comments welcome

 


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