5 Steps to Build a Cloud Strategy on AWS

5 Steps to Build a Cloud Strategy on AWS

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Introduction

What is cloud strategy?

It is an outline for the role of the cloud in an organization, not a plan to move everything to the cloud. Today, most organizations don’t have a formal cloud strategy, although by 2022, 80% of organizations will have a formal cloud strategy.

Do you have a plan to build a cloud strategy on AWS?

AWS (Amazon Web Service) is a cloud services platform, offering database storage, compute power, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses grow.

In simple words AWS allows you to

  1. Run web and application servers in the cloud.
  2. Securely store all of your files on the cloud therefore you can access them from anywhere.
  3. Store information Using managed databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle or SQL Server.
  4. Deliver static and dynamic files quickly around the world using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  5. Send bulk email to your customers.

These are only a few things that you can do using aws. There are plenty of services waiting for you. Before going to the cloud you should build a cloud strategy suitable for your Organization. This will help in cost savings, security, flexibility, mobility, disaster recovery, etc. A clear and well-communicated cloud strategy is critical to the successful transformation of an IT organization.

Here are a few steps that you should follow when building a cloud strategy.

  1. Have a Vision and Build a Strategic and Tactical Plan

Vision, strategy, and techniques each have totally different meanings, however, they all work together to help an organization succeed whether it’s a transnational organization or a startup organization.

The vision is long-term thinking. It should say what your organization wants to become. A strategic plan gives a general idea of how to reach a particular goal, and the tactical plan is where you lay out the steps to attain that goal.

In our case, we should have a strategic plan defining our expectations and goals that we want to achieve on AWS. figure out your objectives and determine which systems, technologies and processes are going to be used by your organization or currently being used by your organization.

Strategic plans also determine how you want to deploy the cloud within your organization and you do this by choosing the deployment model like Public, Private, Hybrid, or Community. Next is the time to determine the tactics that you should use to reach your expectations and goals. A tactical plan should include resources, services that are necessary to accomplish your objectives.

  1. Design with Flexibility and Get Help

Cloud applications are best deployed as a group of cloud services. You build up from the data to the services and then mix those services into composite services or complete composite applications. Whether it is a cloud service or cloud based application, It needs to be reliable, secure, high performing and cost efficient. You should take advantage of some of the inherent strengths of cloud computing ability such as scalability, automate infrastructure management, etc. While designing your cloud architecture, you should bother about these things. Your AWS Cloud architecture design has to be well thought out because it forms the backbone of a vast network. It cannot be arbitrarily designed.

If you are building a web application to be deployed on AWS. You will likely design an AWS architecture diagram first, whether you are migrating your on-premise applications to AWS or building new architecture patterns for cloud-native. AWS architecture diagrams make it easier to understand the method of architecting, building, and running applications among the AWS cloud. A good cloud architecture design helps businesses to easily scale up and scale down their cloud resources.

Why do you want to scale up and scale down your cloud resources?

Suppose your organization launched a new web application and you have chosen AWS as your cloud provider. You may have only a few users, low traffic and data processing during this time. To manage this condition you need low size cloud resources. After one year you realize that your business has grown. You need to upgrade the existing resources or provide more resources to manage the increased user traffic and data processing. you simply provide the right amount of resources when you actually need them. Organizations can quickly spin up resources as they need them, deploying hundreds or even thousands of servers in minutes. Proper architecture design lets you instantly scale up and scale down. Whether the AWS cloud architecture includes vertical scaling, horizontal scaling or both; it is up to the designer, depending on the type of application or data to be stored. But your design ought to be equipped to take the most advantage of the virtually unlimited on-demand capacity of cloud computing.

Your cloud architecture design is that the backbone of your network thus it should be rigorously and thoughtfully designed. It has a flexibility feature that provides businesses a competitive advantage.

Cloud architecture varies based upon the need of your business. If you want your system to continue error-free operation in the presence of an unexpected fault, you should make a design suitable for fault-tolerance. If your primary goal is to reduce cost and achieve peak performance from the resources, you should make a design suitable for cost optimization.

The AWS Global Infrastructure allows companies to be extremely versatile. You can also get in touch with AWS consultanting parters who help customers of all types and sizes accelerate their journey to the cloud.

  1. Automate Your Infrastructure

Infrastructure automation is that the method of reducing human interaction with IT systems by making scripts or functions that are repeatable and might be used either by alternative software or on command. Infrastructure automation tools can control IT elements including servers, storage, network elements, and operating systems. AWS enables you to use automation so you can build infrastructure quicker and more efficiently. Infrastructure automation is not built into the cloud, it needs expertise and  also the use of specialized tools. Although it requires hard work, it pays off after you get through the initial pain and gain the ability to perform advanced tasks at the click of a button.

In the IaC paradigm, IT infrastructure ought to be outlined in configuration files and launched mechanically consistent with that configuration. Configuration files ought to be unbroken in version control, managed, tested and evolved, similar to source code. Infrastructure as Code stratergies on AWS are powered by the CloudFormation service, which enables you to outline easy text-based templates and use them to spin up astonishingly advanced cloud architectures. CloudFormation uses templates, configuration files outlined in JSON or YAML syntax, that are human readable and can be easily edited, which you can use to outline the resources you wish to line up. IaC makes Cloud automation easier.

We could also manage workloads through automation. In AWS , there is a feature called autoscaling. It monitors your resources and applications and automatically adjusts capacity to take care of steady, predictable performance at the minimum possible cost. We don’t need to take an effort to do this. AWS does this for us using their own automation mechanism.

AWS CloudFormation is Suitable for AWS cloud platform, this tool helps automate and deploy resources into your AWS cloud infrastructure. There are also wide variety of tools for aws infrastructure automation like Terraform, Ansible, Puppet, Chef, etc. Every tool has its own strengths and weaknesses that make it specific for different tasks.

Cloud infrastructure automation is a Technology evolution that requires minimal human intervention. Automation is one of the important things that you should use in your organization for high productivity. As automation requires minimal human intervention, your business progress is a sure and guaranteed process Whether you are online or not.

In a secure manner, once sensitive tasks are machine-driven, you do not need multiple IT individuals or developers logging into mission critical systems. The chance of human error, malicious insiders and account compromise is immensely reduced. In addition, you can build security best practices into machine-driven workflows.

In the case of backup processes, organizations need to back up their system frequently, to guard against accidental data loss, hardware failure or cyber-attack. Automating backups on the cloud or backing up on-premise systems mechanically to the cloud dramatically improves an organization’s resilience to disaster.

Infrastructure automation is also Improves governance. when systems are set up manually, administrators may have low visibility over what is actually running and may not have a centralized way to control the infrastructure. Cloud automation helps you set up resources in an exceedingly standardized, controlled manner, which also means you have got rather more control over infrastructure running across your organization.

  1. Test the Cloud Strategy Severally

Information and data are stored on virtual servers and these servers are managed by Cloud computing vendors such as AWS. Organizations spend more money to make sure their business applications are tested to perfection. Infrastructure testing is the testing process that covers all the resources, services and networks in your cloud infrastructure. It reduces the risks of failure. This testing incorporates testing exercises, procedures to ensure that cloud applications and also the basic infrastructure area unit tuned to deliver on execution, adaptability, quality, accessibility, performance and measurability. When a new infrastructure design is prepared for your organization, it becomes necessary to perform this testing. It is required to confirm if new infrastructure functionality is working as meant. Issues arise more likely when a new change in design is applied to existing infrastructure. you should note down the faults or problems you experienced and reconstitute the plan. Infrastructure failures arise once no testing is planned on scalable infrastructure. Therefore, to prevent disruption and last-minute problems, this testing needs to be performed. Timely implementation of this testing type is required because organizations’ projects involve a high cost on infrastructure. Therefore, good knowledge of this testing is needed to attenuate the price concerned in project risks. To avoid any failures, this testing is required as an industry standard. The planned and complete approach of Infrastructure Testing provides several edges to a product further as organizations.

There are also some challenges that organizations face when they seek to adopt infrastructure testing. The infrastructure-testing team contains a sensible bunch of knowledge associated with this testing. Lack of knowledge among the team could be a major challenge to perform this testing. A dedicated team is required to maintain information related to all activities. The System Administrator team often tests network-level infrastructure. Team style and document check cases supported their expertise. they’re accountable to make sure that the applications aren’t wedged when any modification within the network. Multiple checks on environmental problems couldn’t be resolved and need investigation. Coordination with involved teams is needed till the problem is resolved.

Infrastructure testing in Cloud ensures error-free implementation of the cloud application in the production environment and it also helps to know the performance, scalability, and stability of your cloud infrastructure.

  1. Migration and Optimization

The final steps are migration and optimization of the cloud strategy. Moving your entire business or datacenter workloads over to the AWS is not a simple task. Shifting to the cloud will make your business more agile, provide an effective disaster recovery solution, encourage team collaboration, secure your data and save you money. A solid cloud strategy is a way to build your brand and enlarge your business. 

This phase is mainly focused on the optimization of the AWS platform and your application to increase reliability, automate alerts, reduce costs and analysis. Since you only pay for the resources you consume, you can optimize your system whenever needed. The result of a small optimization might be savings of hundreds of dollars in your next monthly bill. For example, if we have a customer-facing website, deployed in an AWS global infrastructure, however, we do not expect traffic from a certain part of the world during the first morning hours; we can scale down the infrastructure in that AWS region for that block of time. This saves quite a bit of money.  Understanding usage and load patterns can be achieved with CloudWatch and other marketplace tools.

Review the system and access logs periodically to understand the usage and lifecycle patterns of every Amazon EC2 instance. Terminate your idle instances. Reserved Instances give you a choice to make a low, one-time payment for each instance you want to reserve and in turn receive a considerable discount on the hourly usage charge for that instance. When viewing usage patterns, try to determine instances that are running in steady-state such as a database server or domain controller. You may want to consider investing in Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances (3-year term) for servers running on top of 24% or higher utilization. This could save up to 49% of the hourly rate. The rising performance of the application running in the cloud might also result in overall cost reduction. For instance, if your application is transferring a lot of data between Amazon EC2 and your organization’s private data center, it might make sense to compress the data before transmitting it over the wire. This could result in significant cost reduction in both data transfer and storage. A similar concept applies to storing raw data in Amazon S3.

The AWS cloud brings measurability, elasticity, agility and reliability to the enterprise. To take advantage of the benefits of the AWS cloud, enterprises should adapt well defined migration strategy and try to take advantage of the cloud as early as possible.

Conclusion

AWS is trusted by the largest enterprises and the hottest start-ups to power various workloads, including mobile and web applications, game development, data processing and warehousing, storage, archive, and many others. Building a cloud strategy for enterprises on AWS is a difficult job. It involves a lot of steps, and you must follow all the steps without failure. while building a cloud strategy, you must be clear on what you intend to achieve and whether it fits your multi-cloud strategy. The formation and publication of the cloud strategy document serve to line up various teams across an enterprise to a cohesive plan which informs and guides the adoption of cloud services. You can always seek support from the AWS consultants and get information on building a cloud strategy on AWS.

An experienced DevOps Engineer and with a demonstrated history of working in the DevOps Department. Skilled in AWS, Iac, CI/CD, git, Ansible, Docker and Linux.

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