How To Migrate From On Premise IT And Into The Cloud

Posted by Philip Bindley

How to migrate from on-premise IT and into the Cloud

We’re said to be entering a radical new world of outsourcing for technology-related services. But for those organisations that don’t feel ready to make the leap, it’s possible to chart a more measured path to the Cloud via colocation and managed hosting.

Colocation provides security conscious outsourcers with a logical first step away from on-premise data centres to the hosted model. They buy the hardware and collocate it in the service provider’s environment, and maintain control over their applications and data.

Colocation is attractive for organisations looking to reduce or avoid the costs associated with building, managing and maintaining data centres. Working with an accredited provider also ensures compliance with EU data protection laws and PCI DSS (the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

In addition to physical rack space, cooling, power and connectivity, most colocation providers also offer a variety of managed IT services. The latter can range from hands-on maintenance and support, to fully managed hosting including dedicated infrastructure, platforms and applications.

With managed hosting, an organisation acquires dedicated hardware (aka ‘Private Cloud’) from a Managed Services Provider (MSP), as a service. The MSP manages, maintains and supports that hardware in their data centre, and provides stringent service level agreements (SLAs) and 24x7x365 monitoring of the hosted environment.

Savvy organisations are now adopting hybrid solutions that allow them to realise the flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency of Public Cloud with the inherent security, high availability and compliant environment that Private Cloud assures.

A case in point

Both collocation and managed hosting provide an effective model for cost reduction, but managed hosting enables organisations to remove IT from the balance sheet altogether and focus on their core business. As such, it’s not uncommon to see organisations migrate from colocation to a managed hosting environment when their hardware nears the end of its lifecycle, or to meet the demands of rapid business growth, or a specific requirement (e.g. PCI).

Take The Pixel for example, a web development agency delivering eCommerce solutions and specialising in the Magento content management system. It had grown rapidly and attracted large customers with significant hosting requirements, so wanted to create a hosting platform optimised specifically for Magento.

Since the hosting platform would be storing a substantial volume of consumer data, The Pixel chose to collocate its IT infrastructure with The Bunker to benefit from our highly secure and high availability facilities. As demand for its hosting platform grew, it needed to expand its IT infrastructure to maintain its exceptionally high level of quality of service and ensure the availability and performance of large retail corporates across peak periods.

To avoid the capital cost of purchasing or renting more equipment, The Pixel opted to migrate from colocation to a purpose-built environment managed by The Bunker. Based on Open Source technologies, it includes a pre-hardened network and operating system, and VMware hypervisors, delivered as a fully automated infrastructure that can be scaled on demand.

Migrating to managed hosting has enabled The Pixel to support continued growth and eliminate the drain on its internal IT resources while assuring the safety of customer data and the availability, uptime and optimised performance critical for eCommerce websites during the notoriously high traffic in peak seasons.

What to look for in a migration partner

Analysts at IDC believe a majority of organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure over the next five years as they turn to dedicated and shared cloud offerings for new services. It predicts that from next year we’ll see a decline in the number of internal data centre server rooms, with the total number of data centres deployed worldwide peaking at 8.6 million in 2017. However, all other data centre categories are expected to see growth as service providers race to meet demand for capacity.

Unsurprisingly, there is a multitude of providers in the marketplace today, each offering various flavours of colocation, managed hosting and Public and Private Cloud Infrastructure. As we’ve said before, not all providers are created equal, so there are a number of factors to consider when selecting an outsourcing partner:

  • Look beyond ISO 27001 – undertake comprehensive due diligence on your provider to ensure you get the best service
  • Data sovereignty – are your provider’s data centres based in the UK and are they fully owned?
  • Secure migration – a service-centric approach is essential and should begin with discovery that starts with physical assets, works through to services and applications, and underpins planning, logistics and infrastructure engineering tasks
  • Accreditation and proof of concept (PoC) – any migration should be supported by PRINCE2 accredited project managers and executed within highly secure proof of concept facilities and test environments

Whether you’re taking your first step with colocation, migrating to a managed hosting environment, or looking to build a bespoke hybrid solution, The Bunker’s approach ensures a low risk and cost-effective migration completed within defined timescales and to budget. Contact us today on 01304 814800 to find out more.