The new wave of cloud news tells us exactly how technology is evolving. Beyond that, we see how business owners are thinking. How is that possible? Well, through numerous valuable data and economic trends, we see a new market being shaped before our very eyes. Explore the latest stories about the cloud computing space, in Hentsu Weekly Cloud Trends.

On-premises Data Warehouses Are Dead

It seems like a bold statement, but many know it to be true. The story we keep hearing is how on-prem and traditional datacenters are fast becoming obsolete. Major cloud providers and public cloud computing services have been taking over most of the cloud market for some time. Gartner forecasts that 30% of data warehousing workloads are already run in the cloud. That number is expected to grow even more by the year 2024. Read more vital 2020 public cloud statistics here. Word is: "Even the core data warehouse technology providers have seen this trend and are spending most of their R&D budgets to build solutions for public cloud providers. Moreover, the public cloud providers themselves have 'company killing' products, such as AWS’s RedShift, a columnar database designed to compete with the larger enterprise data warehouse players." News via Infoworld.

The Evolution of Excel

Microsoft has been introducing more changes and updates to a lot of their cloud tools and cloud applications. According to a recent story, the industry veteran gives a detailed account of several new additions to its ever-popular tool, Excel. They also explain how it evolved over the years and what it still means for so many businesses around the globe. Here's a snippet: "The advantage Excel has over any other data/analytical tool is its flexibility. People are constantly evolving their spreadsheets to map the changing needs of their business processes. Until now, to get a value in a cell you either wrote a formula or typed the value directly into a cell. One cell, one value. If you wanted another value, you repeated the process, filling up the grid with a mix of disconnected data and helper cells. With data types, that all changes. Now a cell can contain a vibrant data type; one cell, a world of possibilities. Data types allow you to bring the data you care about into the grid, in its most natural form and unleash the power of Excel to gain critical insights." Have a look at the full story at MS.

Why Is Cloud Computing Moving to The Edge?

Cloud computing is moving towards edge tech. As a technology, edge infrastructure is turning into a vital next step. Gaming companies utilize edge to stream content, hospitals use edge servers to receive and analyze inbound data, and so on. The first advantage that comes to mind is capacity. More than that, edge offers low latency, better security, as well as improved transfer speeds. “Companies have already found it very easy to move to the cloud,” said Joshua Burgin, general manager of AWS Outposts. “But they have had to hold back some workloads for various reasons, such as latency, local data processing, or regulations. Now, cloud is delivered on a continuum, or consistent hybrid offering, that can meet the needs of companies requiring up to one-millisecond latency, local data processing, or needing to meet governmental or industry regulations.” Check out the full story at Forbes.

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY
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 The Challenge of the Azure Case Study

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In the following case study, we explore how Hentsu employs Azure, Microsoft 365, and Mimecast as a solution to host all on-premises infrastructure in public cloud and eventually adopt a serverless approach to productivity. This azure case study delves into specific client challenges that were resolves step by step.
An established US-based hedge fund firm contacted Hentsu to help them migrate to the public cloud. They had most of their infrastructure either on-premises in their office or in a datacenter.
The customer approached us to seek guidance on how they can migrate to public cloud and make the most use of its native features.
Our customer wanted to embrace the new technologies and ease of management that is being offered by public cloud.

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REQUIREMENTS

  • Save costs for physical hardware.
  • Host email on a SaaS based solution.
  • Improved email security.
  • Improved SLA for Infrastructure availability.
  • Reliable disaster recovery solution.
  • Reliable backup solution.
  • Eventually replace servers and utilize SaaS offering.
  • A possibility of using VDIs as a solution for remote working.
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DOWNLOAD THIS CASE STUDY

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document icon Key Considerations

  1. Provide a solution that will migrate all on-premises services to a public cloud.
  2. Upgrade Operating Systems and software to the latest versions supported.
  3. Migration of services will follow a phased approach.
    • Phase 1 – Migrate all infrastructure to public cloud
    • Phase 2 – Utilize serverless solutions wherever possible.
  4. Backups should be readily available when required
  5. Disaster Recovery solution should require little to no effort.
  6. The Platform should support windows 10 virtualization
  7. Billing should be transparent and easy to understand with the ability to create custom reports based on usage, environments, ownership and so on.
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 The Solution

Design

After careful examination of the existing infrastructure and a discussion session we had decided to leverage a few platforms to accommodate all requirements. Each platform used was carefully evaluated by us to ensure prior to recommendation to ensure it will be the best offering for our customers. Below are the platforms we used for their transition.

 

Microsoft Azure

  • Host all servers as Azure Virtual Machines
  • Use Recovery Service Vaults to provide both backups and a disaster recovery solution.

Microsoft 365

  • Use native email hosting to host email for the entire organization
  • Provided licensing for Microsoft Office applications
  • Use OneDrive and SharePoint as SaaS options to replace file servers.

Mimecast

  • Use email security features such as spam filters, anti-Spoofing, etc.
  • Use stationary features to provide a standard template for org wide signatures and emails.
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 Roadmap

The migration was divided up into two phases with each phase involving multiple steps to complete.

 

Phase 1

  • Migrate the existing infrastructure to Azure.
    • All servers had their OS updated to Windows Server 2016 (latest at the time).
    • All App servers were updated to use the latest version of the respective app.
  • Migrate their emails to utilize Microsoft 365.
  • Set up Mimecast for email security and standard signatures across the company.

Phase 2

  • Identify all servers whose functions can be replaced with a SaaS solution
    • Domain Controllers would be replaced by Azure Active Directory.
    • File servers would be replaced by OneDrive and SharePoint.
    • Application servers were replaced with a SaaS equivalent. For example, Secret Server was replaced with LastPass.
  • Implement the required solution
  • Provide user training to accommodate to the new ways of working for users.
  • Decommission servers that are no longer being use.
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 Impact of the MS 365, Mimecast, and Azure Case Study

The project allowed us to leverage the offerings of Azure, Microsoft 365, and Mimecast to provide an effective solution for our customer. The initial migration to Azure helped them shave off the high costs of renting space in a datacenter, upgrading hardware and software licenses. It also provided them a cheaper, yet equally effective option for backups and disaster recovery.

Few months after phase 1 was implemented, work on phase 2 began. Once it was completed and all the servers were replaced with a SaaS alternative. This helped them save even more on infrastructure costs. All users were provided training on how to use the OneDrive and SharePoint.

After the project was completed, they were given an environment that utilizes the power of public cloud, while meeting the needs of the organization.

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Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY
Organizing and streamlining cloud-based workflows and business operations can get chaotic at times. Both Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud computing platforms are equipped with a variety of cloud optimization tools and services, as part of Azure and AWS suites. We have selected some of the most frequently used tooling to help you analyze, manage, and monitor cloud performance. In addition, these handy tools allow you to establish a reliable methodology for cloud cost optimization. You can also implement standardized processes, efficiently right-size your deployments and more. Mastering the tools you see below will speed up your cloud adoption journey, as you optimize for better ROI and harvest the significant benefits of public cloud.

7 Key Best Practices for Cloud Cost Optimization

Before we get into specific cloud tools, here is a quick overview of some of the best practices for cloud cost optimization:
  1. The first step to effective cloud optimization, in general, can be done through automation – utilizing powerful cloud deployment tools such as Terraform and effective containerization via Kubernetes and Docker.
  2. Pinpointing and addressing idle resources (right-sizing the computing services before migration).
  3. Managing cost variables for long-term cloud commitment: like RIs (Reserved Instances), upfront payment, storage types, and so on.
  4. Leverage and rely on Spot Instances to keep an eye on AWS or Azure spend.
  5. Utilizing heatmaps helps with your overall cloud cost optimization.
  6. Rely on the auto-scaling nature of the cloud to reduce costs and design workloads by switching off resources that are not needed.
  7. Save time and reduce operating expenses by utilizing powerful serverless computing services such as AWS Lambda.
Before we take a deep dive into cloud cost optimization tools, you may want to have a look at how financial services and hedge funds can tackle Cloud Cost Management and Return on Investment (ROI).

AWS Cost Explorer

With the Cost Explorer, you can access and look at costs, as well as ROI for Amazon services. Utilizing this tool gives you data and relevant info for the previous 13 months. You will be able to plan any future investments and budgets effectively. Another useful option is to customize views. As a result, it is easier to pinpoint areas where improvement is needed. Cost Explorer also provides an API that lets you access the data via your analytics tools. The tool also features daily and monthly granularity, which is another vital component for effective planning. Learn more about AWS Cost Explorer.

AWS Budgets

AWS Budgets is fairly similar to Cost Explorer, although it remains yet another helpful tool that gives you a chance to implement and analyze budgets for Amazon services. When the budget is reached or surpassed, you will get an email or message via the Simple Notification Service. Connecting your budget to specific data points is very straightforward, and you also get fast access to vital data such as data usage or the number of instances. Learn more about AWS Budgets.

Amazon CloudWatch

When it comes to cloud cost optimization, there are numerous tools that are very handy. Amazon CloudWatch is one of them. With it, you can set alarms for a huge assortment of metrics and data from Amazon services. It is frequently used to keep an eye on EC2 instances. You can choose to get an alarm or notification regarding the utilization of the EC2 instance. If it goes below a certain percentage, you will know about it instantly. This means you can see if the instance is underused, and take action to right-size the instance or combine workloads. Learn more about Amazon CloudWatch.

AWS Trusted Advisor

AWS Trusted Advisor offers help for users and best practices regarding various Amazon services. It features automated suggestions on four crucial optimization factors that are free of charge: Service Limits Check, Security Groups, IAM Use Check, and MFA on Root Account Check. Essentially, all these optimization factors help you keep an eye on reserved instance optimization and lease expiration, low utilization of EC2 instances, idle load balancers, underutilized Amazon Redshift clusters, and more. The Service Limits Check, for example, lets you know if you are utilizing over 80% of your allocation resources like EC2 instances and EBS volumes. Learn more about AWS Trusted Advisor.

Azure Advisor

Similar to the AWS suite, Azure also includes its own advisor tool. This way you can optimize Azure cloud resources. The general goal is to improve aspects such as performance, availability, security, and cost. Think of Azure Advisor as a personalized cloud consultant that allows you to scan resource usage and configuration. There are over 100 custom-tailored recommendations specific to your Azure cloud optimizations. The tool helps you optimize Azure deployments fast and easy, in addition to offering detailed guidance on relevant actions. Learn more about Azure Advisor.

Azure Architecture Center

Cloud architecture is a unique and complex process. With Azure Architecture Center you will unlock an assortment of free guides to organizational and architectural best practices for optimizing workloads. It also makes it easier to design a fresh workload for the cloud or migrate an existing workload from on-prem to public. Microsoft has also thrown in various helpful features such as cloud adoption frameworks, application architecture guides, and reference architectures. Learn more about Azure Architecture Center.

Azure Pricing Calculator

Microsoft’s Azure Pricing Calculator is an elegant and simple, web-based tool for getting quick prices. You receive estimated costs for diverse Azure products and features, including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Functions, Azure App Service, Azure Batch, Service Fabric, Container Instances, Virtual Machines (VMs), and more. As you figure out overall costs across all used Azure services and make all the necessary calculations, you will be able to establish a concise and detailed plan around your cloud expenses. Learn more about Azure Pricing Calculator.

Microsoft Test Tool for VMs

The MS Azure cloud platform bestows users with a dynamic ecosystem. If you aim for optimizing costs you should also properly optimizing your VMs. Growing your cloud-powered business from there on is easier thanks to the Microsoft Certification Test Tool for Azure Certified Virtual Machines (VMs). MS offers an application that tests your VM, which verifies how efficiently it runs in Azure. It carries out an assessment of compliance to technical requirements. After the tests are completed, the results can be submitted to MS. They will then make the proper classification, making you Azure Certified. Learn more about Microsoft Certification Test Tool for VMs.

Other Useful Cloud Monitoring and Cloud Cost Optimization Tools

Remember, each tool listed above was designed to simplify your journey. Using these cloud optimization tools, and cloud enablement tools is going to make for a more efficient cloud adoption process as well. In this instance, you can also consider Tagging. Having a solid resource tagging strategy helps with tools such as AWS Cost Explorer and provides multiple dimensions to better understand the cloud spend. You focus on the price of the production environment, VDIs, and so on. Bear in mind, that apart from the ones we have listed, there is a range of third-party cloud optimization and cloud cost optimization tools out there, including the following:
  • Zabbix
  • Weavescope
  • Zenoss Zenpack
We are mindful of the complexity of cloud adoption and cloud management. If you are still having trouble with cloud optimization, cost optimization, and cloud management, feel free to reach out to us.

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY
Cloud cost management is not simply an operational concern. It requires detailed analysis, budget planning, and above all the right strategy. One of the solutions is to embrace public cloud, which means you are accepting a modern methodology and a new business strategy. Success on that front entails agile collaboration across various areas including governance, architecture, operations, and, of course, finance.

Global Market Cloud Statistics in 2020

Worldwide statistics show public cloud global growth. In addition to that, the period between January 2020 and April 2020 marks an increase in the usage of enterprise cloud services both in Government (45%) and in Financial Services (36%). Meanwhile, 2020 cloud adoption statistics show that 74% of Financial Services strongly believe that cloud computing gives their businesses a competitive advantage.

Cloud Cost Management and Return on Investment (ROI)

Over the years, financial services firms and asset managers have strived to achieve unique business goals while staying ahead of the curve. Even with immediate, quantifiable financial benefits of cloud implementation, companies still struggle to maintain ROI. Why does this happen? The primary reason is being unprepared and the tendency to overspend. The best solution is to keep a close eye on cloud costs and manage your cloud spend to ensure a healthy ROI. Top cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) bestow their clients with native tools for cloud cost management. These tools unlock effective ways to optimize and monitor cloud costs. Rightsizing or removing idle resources makes it easier to zero in on what is profitable. Utilizing these tools companies can slash costs without disrupting workload performance.

Switching to OpEx With Caution

This is something we have touched on in the past, especially when talking about refactoring legacy applications. As companies make the switch from CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) to OPEX (Operational Expenditure), things can change rapidly. Businesses pay only for the resources that are used when they are used. So, yes, logically, the switch makes sense, which is why OPEX is becoming a cloud adoption trend. Smaller companies usually make the transition quickly. Large scale enterprises, however, are more cautious when it comes to cloud services. Eager to jump on the cloud, they turn to private cloud services, which traditionally involve higher expenses and long-term commitment. These companies need to process and run lots of data, so they wind up overprovisioning and large OPEX costs that are not within the intended budget. That is why caution is advised before any resource consumptions spin out of control. Learn more about cloud adoption missteps.

Optimizing Cost with Granularity

Even though OPEX is the way to go for most businesses, some concerns linger. How can large businesses remain vigilant when it comes to resources, compute power, and cloud cost in general? Easy – with granularity. The public cloud usually leads to a more granular approach. The optimization of services and having costs managed can refurbish financial business operations to a more auditable workflow. You also can segment your data management according to business requirements: trading team, dev team, and other business units.

Smooth and Painless Upgrades

With cloud-managed services or public cloud in general, companies frequently reap the benefits early on. Once your business has fully moved to cloud infrastructure, maintenance, and upgrades can be built around a refined system of automation, with the least or even no disruption to end-users. The best part is that the bulk of these changes can be incorporated seamlessly within the cloud platforms offerings at no additional cost.

Technical Staff, IT Governance and Innovation

Technical professionals devoted to complex IT operations and cloud management are not easy to come by. Their role also changes significantly towards more of IT governance and architecture skills. One of the priorities is to refine the cloud consumption process. Teams should be responsible for their own consumed cloud resource and services, but they need to be supplied with resources to forecast and manage costs on their own. The other key role for your technical staff is to be the cloud evangelist, always pushing the internal technologies towards the next level of innovation of cloud services. Both of these roles are complex operations and relying on an expert cloud managed services provider can help modernize your applications and move the entire firm towards a healthier ROI. Your business becomes more cost-effective and your staff can continue enhancing the core business.

Cloud Assessment and Takeaways

Cloud adoption has become an essential component of business growth in 2020. Moving to the cloud is a difficult decision though. Whether this is the right thing for your company is another matter entirely. Cloud assessment can be an extremely challenging process and that is something Hentsu experts can help you with. The cloud market is always changing, always evolving, so keep your finger on any news and developments by checking our Weekly Cloud Trends, and other relevant blog posts. Feel free to reach out to our cloud solutions and cloud engineering team, if you have any questions.

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY