Imagine waking up tomorrow and only using Office 365, SharePoint, or Dropbox, Yammer, and Skype for Business. No more file shares or installed apps. If you're a startup business, or your on-premise infrastructure is pretty old and needs modernizing, this may be the best option. In this section, we will explore the considerations when moving completely to the Cloud. There are various steps required when considering moving to the Cloud and these include assess your current IT strategy, consider future technology needs, explore different Cloud computing options, best practices, and vendors, and create a hybrid Cloud strategy plan, and then plan for the implementation.
Your on-premise costs will be known, but there will also be different types of costs incurred. With a Cloud solution, these include additional management time to oversee the remote Cloud resources, data transfer and bandwidth costs, which will increase, customization and integration costs relating to any bespoke applications. Cloud-based storage will rise gradually as more data is stored in the Cloud and new costs will be incurred for Cloud platform costs such as PaaS middleware. Your current infrastructure, will you keep or dispose of your current service? You'll need to pay for the new infrastructure in the data center and you'll need to consider what operational support personnel you'll need to keep operational.
It can be difficult to calculate the costs of moving to the Cloud since this is still new and prices change often. Thankfully, help is available and some Cloud providers provide online calculators which you can use to estimate charges. When comparing on-premise versus Cloud, you need to consider the total cost of ownership, or TCO, which may be calculated over many years. You also need to consider if you're actually saving money by moving to the Cloud, or if maintaining and upgrading your current system will be cheaper. When you try to join two Clouds together, such as in a hybrid Cloud environment, you should consider using any Cloud-based tools and Cloud-based solutions to help you achieve a smooth integration.
Depending on which Cloud service provider you use, they may offer some Cloud-based tools, such as a wizard or an application or webpage that allows you to connect to specific applications. For example, your database vendor may provide a tool to assist moving and transforming data from an on-premise database to a database stored in a PaaS Cloud. Another example would be to use the Office 365 import service to migrate on-premise pst files to the Cloud. As the Cloud becomes more mature, many Cloud-based solution providers help with moving your resources to the Cloud.
They can analyze your current system and then replicate it into the Cloud and then transfer all the local data directly to the Cloud. There are many third-party solutions available to assist with migrating data to the Cloud, such as from Exchange Server to Office 365. Cloud-based solutions are available for backing up to the Cloud and are useful in disaster recovery scenarios. You need to evaluate all aspects of your IT needs and consider areas such as the server loads and future requirements in three to five years. What are your current constraints on limitations such as funding, space, bandwidth, or security? Evaluate current technology changes and trends and research what others are doing.
Seek feedback and look at emerging best practice and take time to evaluate vendors and compare options, costs, SLAs, and reputations. During this process, you and your team need to evaluate your current and future IT strategy, decide whether moving to the Cloud will allow you to achieve your business goal. The Cloud can be fantastic, but this is not always the solution. Throughout the planning phase of moving to the Cloud, you should ensure that all stakeholders are represented. This is best achieved by creating a task force.
The task force needs to consider your business objectives and therefore should include IT and management leaders who are able to consider and align the company objectives with available Cloud technologies. Finally, you should consider how you'll measure the service in the Cloud and mitigate risk. Moving to the Cloud is a big deal. Don't rush any decisions. Evaluate and implement with great care. I often suggest that you should assume that a Cloud is not the solution until it is clear that the advantages outweigh the risks.
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Gain a new or enhanced understanding of cloud principles, service offerings, delivery mechanisms, and security requirements. This course focuses on the objectives for the first two domains of the Microsoft Cloud Fundamentals exam (98-369: Understand the Cloud and Enable Microsoft Cloud Services). IT professionals and those interested in pursuing certification can use this course as an exam preparation resource.
Cloud principles and security mechanisms
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Types of cloud services
Signing up for cloud services
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