TECH TALK: ALASDAIR HENDRY
The benefits of Cloud are clear to all. Never more so than during this lingering pandemic when adopting new technologies and ways of working can ensure a continuation of an organisation’s operations, if not its very survival.
Migrating your systems and data to the cloud not only reduces hardware provisioning costs and delay, when done correctly, it will increase the productivity and efficiency of your team and improve the overall performance of your IT operations.
However, the journey can be challenging, with the reliance on legacy data and systems making it quite a complex undertaking, and with many cloud vendors and solutions in the marketplace it can be difficult to ascertain the best route for your organisation.
So, organisations are right to approach legacy data migration with caution as there are many issues and pitfalls you can come up against that can end in costing your organisation time, resource and money.
The Challenge of Legacy Migration
One of the key challenges with legacy data and systems is that the technology used, and the approach taken, is often dated. Replicating that same format and methodology in the cloud may not be possible (e.g., it is a dated technology that no longer exists or where there is limited expertise) or advisable as technology, architecture and methodologies have evolved for the better over time.
Legacy systems often aren’t fully understood as the passing of time means that those involved in commissioning and building the initial solution may no longer be part of the organisation.
This limited understanding prevents organisations’ from being able to confidently migrate to the cloud without completely re-building their systems.
They may also find it hard to identify what other database options will work as a porting function so generally end up moving the same high cost into the cloud when it is not required.
For organisations to be able to understand the risk, complexity, and the potential solutions to effectively migrate to the cloud, an in-depth analysis of their databases as part of an initial discovery phase is vital.
Migrating a Legacy Oracle Data Store to the Cloud
The Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (DWQR) required a new data management and reporting system so that they could modernise and gain the benefits of adopting cloud technology.
To help identify the most fit for purpose, cost effective solution, Exception worked in partnership with DWQR to understand their data models, logic and complexity contained within the database.
By deploying our legacy cloud migration tools and expertise, we were able to assess and demonstrate to DWQR the effort, risk, and challenges that they would encounter migrating their Oracle datastore from on-premise to a new Cloud Service.
Our detailed analysis allowed DWQR to examine future alternatives very early on in the design phase and measure the complexity, feasibility, and cost of each solution.
DWQR’s architecture and design teams are now better placed to understand the complexity of their current data store. The detailed reports issued also gave an in-depth analysis of the issues, required changes and compatibility with the proposed future cloud database options.
Mitigate the risk of your next legacy data migration
Migrating your legacy data and systems onto a cost-effective cloud environment that is robust, scalable, and secure can be complex and fraught with complexities. To mitigate the risk and ensure as smooth a transition as possible, remember to:
- Conduct a thorough analysis early on in the project
The outcomes of this analysis can greatly impact migration and solution planning.
- Have clear objectives and requirements
How will the legacy data / system be used once in the cloud? This can impact the effort (as well as the size of budget) required to migrate.
- Research and understand the market
Don’t be tempted just to migrate your system / data in its existing format without doing some research. It may be that you are missing out on significant cost savings if you do.
- Engage a partner to help if you don’t have the cloud and data expertise in house
It will save you money (and potentially a lot of pain) further down the road.
- Take a step back
This is an amazing opportunity to look at your data, how you use it, and what is important to you. Understanding what the data does for your business can massively alter the design and the potential benefits the cloud move could offer.
Alasdair Hendry is head of transformation at Exception, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner and a digital consultancy, delivery and service provider to the public sector