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From The TCS Blog

How to Prepare a Server to Cloud Migration

By: Barry Utesch

Server to Cloud Migration

Are you wondering if it is possible to do a server to cloud migration of your programs and data? The decision to move an application to the cloud is a strategic decision that requires careful planning. 

In general, Using Software As A Service (SAAS) means you do not need a server(s) to run your software and you probably will not have downtime due to server hardware failure. Cloud providers typically have “no single point of failure” and for the average small business to build an environment that has no single point of failure is prohibitively expensive. In many cases the software licensing is attractively priced because it is easier for the manufacturer to support a SAAS version and they often are incentivizing clients to move this direction. This is because they can keep everybody on the same “version” and there are fewer variables when running an application from a browser which helps them reduce support costs.  

  1. When is the best time for me to do this? The ideal time to consider this move is when your current hardware is reaching end of life. Industry best practice for servers is a three to five-year life expectancy. The other time would be when you are needing to do a major software upgrade or you are planning to change from one application to another. i.e. changing accounting or ERP systems.
  2. Is the application available in a SAAS format? Almost any application can be moved to the cloud if the manufacturer supports “remote desktop”, but if the manufacturer of the product offers it as a service that will typically be your best option.
  3. How long has the product been available as SAAS? You do not want to be a test site for this manufacturer. Typically, software products moving to SAAS must be completely rewritten. The SAAS version of the software may take several updates or revisions before it is equivalent to the on premise version.
  4. Can I have names and telephone numbers of current SAAS customers that have been using the product for six months or more? You want to find out the reliability and the speed of tech-support. Has there been any downtime and how long did it last?  When you experience downtime with an SAAS product there is almost nothing you can do to assist or expedite and that might be uncomfortable for you.
  5. Where do they host their software? Are they doing this themselves or are they taking advantage of a data center or other entity that specializes in hosting applications?  We would suggest that software companies should write software and hosting companies should host software. If your software manufacturer hosts their own software, they can probably do it for less, but can they do it better?
  6. What is remaining single point of failure? One of the most obvious is your Internet connection. With SAAS when the internet is down your application is down. The best practice would be that your primary connection is fiber and your secondary connection is with a different carrier, with automatic failover if your primary connection is cut.This will not protect you from having a minor interruption, but it will allow you to get right back to work.
  7. Will my costs be lower? Not necessarily, the advantage of not having to purchase hardware is attractive, but resolving the single point of failure issue discussed in number six may consume whatever savings you realize from not purchasing hardware. 

Total Compuer Solutions has helped dozens of clients make a server to cloud migration and we can help you. Call us for a no obligation consultation at 336.804.8449. Not all applications are a good fit. The right time to begin asking questions is a year before your on premise equipment reaches end of life. To request information online fill out a form here.

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