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Meet the Minds: DuploCloud Head of Engineering and Operations Digs into How a Cloud Migration Works

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Meet the Minds: DuploCloud Head of Engineering and Operations Digs into How a Cloud Migration Works
Author: DuploCloud | Thursday, June 6 2024
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Learn how DuploCloud combines a deep well of experience with thorough planning and time-saving automations to deliver a seamless migration.

In his two years at DuploCloud, Head of Engineering and Operations Zafar Abbas has seen more than his fair share of cloud migrations. Each one has had its own unique motivations and challenges.

“Some customers want to save money, some customers want to revamp their infrastructure to be more technologically advanced, some customers just want basic advice on how to deal with security and compliance,” he says.

Despite that variety of experiences, DuploCloud provides the same exceptional service. How? By tailoring a richly detailed plan for each client and sticking to it.

Key Migration Challenges

Complexity

When companies approach the issue of cloud migration, Abbas says they tend to overlook two of the biggest challenges that come with the territory. The first is exactly how a cloud migration works and the complexity that can come with it. So many interlocking systems have to move into place. Doing so without proper preparation can cause downtime and a mad scramble to get back online.

"If you are moving a workload from one place to another, you have to carry a lot of the dependencies along with it, or you have to manage and untangle a lot of things,” he says. “For example, if you have an on-prem workload going to AWS, that workload is really complex. It has other on-prem dependencies which may or may not be moving in the migration. So just the project scope of breaking the problem down on when to move, what to move, and how to do it in a completely seamless way, with no customer impact, is probably the biggest challenge in a cloud migration."

Scope

Complexity on its own would be challenging enough, but migrations also tend to occur at a massive scale. Not only are you moving your workloads, but you’re also moving huge data stores along with them.

“You might be moving terabytes of data from on-prem to AWS,” Abbas explains. “AWS provides a lot of tooling out of the box, but it needs knowledge and integration skills to be able to integrate that into the specific goals for what we are looking for in a particular migration.

“[Customers] need experts who understand the complexity, the scope, the source, and the target of the migrations, and how to break apart the project plan,” says Abbas. “We come in with highly skilled people on our team who engage customers from day one to build out that project plan and give them confidence.”

DuploCloud Is Ready for Complexity

Abbas recalls one instance in which a customer approached DuploCloud for a migration. The customer was running a large Kubernetes workload on-prem, but it also had parts running in the AWS public cloud.

"They wanted to move the large Kubernetes workload into the cloud while maintaining dependencies on their on-prem infrastructure as well,” he says. “So that untangling of dependencies and planning out the movement of the workload from on-prem to public cloud was a big challenge."

At the same time, the customer wanted to switch to continuous deployments, which it had previously achieved using CI/CD runners on-prem.

“So we had to deploy a lot of their CI/CD workload in the cloud as well, but at the same time, keeping the connections to on-prem by creating VPN tunnels and everything associated with that,” Abbas says.

“That use case was pretty successful, but it needed a lot of planning and dependency diagramming across on-prem and cloud. It was truly a hybrid solution in the end, but we were able to make that happen over the course of a couple months."

How a DuploCloud Migration Works, Step-by-Step

Phase One: Assessment

When customers choose to migrate with DuploCloud, our company assigns them a team of seasoned migration experts. That team includes one customer success manager and at least two DevOps engineers, one of whom will be the senior implementation lead.

Abbas says that in the first phase of the migration, the team will meet with the customer to learn the latter’s migration goals.

“Often, the cloud migration goals [of customers] are driven by the most immediate needs. A lot of customers come to us, they want to adopt the best practices for security, compliance, and automation. Often, customers come with a hard deadline, where they have a SOC 2 audit, for example, in 60 to 90 days [that] they want to run fast towards. Those are examples which inform us what to prioritize in the onboarding and implementation plan."

Next, the team meticulously combs through the customer’s infrastructure. DuploCloud works closely with the company’s engineers to develop as full a picture as possible. Once they understand the customer’s goals and infrastructure inside and out, the team develops a plan that they’ll follow throughout the migration. This plan includes associated costs and relevant timelines. It also builds in time for customers to learn how to use the DuploCloud platform.

Phase Two: Mobilize and Migrate

Before work begins on the migration, both DuploCloud and the customer go over the plan in detail.

“We really closely review it with the stakeholders on the customer side,” Abbas says, emphasizing that customer needs are paramount throughout the process. Only once everyone has signed off does the migration actually begin. DuploCloud DevOps engineers work closely with the customer’s engineers to keep things smooth, and enable constant communication.

“We get into this high-frequency cadence with the customers to make sure that we stay on top of that plan. And that plan often includes not just us executing, but also training the customers on the DuploCloud platform. So the first couple of months is the time where high-frequency collaboration is happening between the DuploCloud team and the implementation team,” says Abbas.

Phase Three: QA and Testing

Once non-production environments are situated in their new infrastructure, DuploCloud starts to test the migration's results. This not only helps to optimize the new configuration but also lets both sides spot hiccups that they can buff out before the migration is complete.

“It really is a continuous check-in with the customers,” says Abbas.

Phase Four: Final Cutovers

Only in the last stage of the migration proper does DuploCloud start to move production environments. That keeps the possibility of end-user impact as low as possible, and ensures that they have addressed all customer concerns.

“Once their immediate milestones are hit, then we move more into a sustained operations model, which continues to make sure that the remaining tail-end of the migration is finished,” says Abbas.

Phase Five: Post-Launch Support and Optimization

With DuploCloud, the relationship doesn’t end when the migration wraps up. Even as the customer takes the reins on its infrastructure, DuploCloud DevOps engineers continue to monitor and maintain the system, as though they were the customer’s DevOps team. That allows our team to help refine the customer’s infrastructure.

“It could be utilization metrics, it could be performance metrics, it could be cost metrics — all of these metrics are available in the DuploCloud dashboard and in the product," says Abbas.

"We continue to work really closely with our customers after the launch to make sure that all of those metrics are optimized.”

What Makes DuploCloud Special

Streamlined Compliance

Compliance doesn’t need to be complicated. When you migrate with DuploCloud, you’ll benefit from strict deployment guardrails designed with stringent security standards in mind. Engineers will literally be unable to make changes that violate compliance.

"DuploCloud, with its straight-forward security and compliance model with tenants, infrastructures, security groups, and more, forces planning to go a certain narrow way of, 'Hey, you need to fit the final infrastructure in this model.' This eventually makes everything more secure, compliant, and efficient," says Abbas.

Post-Migration Support

At DuploCloud, cloud migration is more than a one-and-done transaction. Not only do their engineers stay plugged into your infrastructure, but the support teams are also on-call whenever the customer needs additional support. DuploCloud is there, even if customers encounter difficulties long after the initial migration.

"Once you launch and the migration is completed, we also become your extended DevOps team. And that's a part of our basic software subscription model," Abbas says.

"We have chat-based support channels with every customer that we have. And we are just a Slack ping away, or a Teams ping away —  just a phone call away. We are there 24/7 to resolve any issues, give any advice or architecture guidance, any help with security compliance audits that might come along the way as well."

Intelligent Automation

Moving workloads and their corresponding data stores can be a massive undertaking. Doing it all manually not only takes a long time, but also introduces innumerable opportunities for human error. That’s why DuploCloud leans heavily on automation to accelerate the process and improve the results.

“Using automation to transfer that data from source to destination is key, and our skills to be able to do that, and having done that many times over in the past, are key for every customer that we deal with,” Abbas explains.

"Deployment automation is key as well. A lot of the time, customers come to us with a very manual deployment strategy. And our migration process not only deploys their services, but makes sure that their CI/CD process is highly automated as well. That's just a given as part of our service.”

Depth of Experience

The DuploCloud platform is an important part of a successful cloud migration, but it’s the experience of our DevOps engineers that takes us to the next level. They’ve performed hundreds of successful migrations, and each one has taught them new intricacies of the process. Their approach is now more refined than ever, and can keep any migration on track.

"You get the initial investment of time, money, and resources that we will now work together with,” Abbas says. “But at the same time, you get a software platform subscription and that level of expertise on an ongoing basis.

“We learn from our past,” he adds. “Every new migration that we do is a little bit better than the previous one because we are all growing on top of the experiences.”

Go with the Pros — Migrate with DuploCloud

Cloud migration doesn’t have to interrupt service to your customers. When you team up with a skilled and experienced partner, you can rest easy knowing that your migration will be as smooth as possible. DuploCloud is that partner.

Whether you’re looking for cost savings, tighter security, stricter compliance, or new services, the DuploCloud team has the firsthand experience to advise you on the right path to migration. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute demo.

Author: DuploCloud | Thursday, June 6 2024
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