Status Go: Ep. 223 – Cloud Migration is Complex and Costly – Expert Perspective | Austin Rose

Summary

In this episode of “Status Go,” host Jeff Ton and guest Austin Rose bust the myth that cloud migration is complex and costly. Drawing from their expertise in AWS Cloud Professional Services, they discuss client stories and strategies that demonstrate how cloud migration can be seamless and cost-effective. With their insights and debunking of misconceptions, listeners will gain a new perspective on leveraging the cloud to propel their IT vision. Tune in to discover the truth behind cloud migration and be inspired to take the next step forward.


About Austin Rose

Austin Rose brings over two decades of experience in the IT sector to his current role as Senior Director of AWS Professional Services at InterVision. With an extensive military background, Austin possesses a unique blend of discipline, leadership, and technical acumen. Over the past 10 years, he has been instrumental in driving AWS services within organizations, skillfully navigating complex projects to successful completion. Austin’s dedication to operational excellence and innovative cloud solutions has solidified him as a trusted advisor in the ever-evolving landscape of IT.

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Episode Highlights

[00:00:00]: Intro to Myth Busters

[00:01:56]: Austin Rose – Pilot, Airforce, Helicopters, Cloud

[00:03:29]: Search and Rescue

[00:04:06]: Building Trust

[00:05:16]: Origins of the Myth

[00:07:07]: Misconceptions of the Cloud

[00:09:01]: Strategies for Migration

[00:11:45]: Lift and Shift – then Refactor

[00:12:37]: Merging Teams

[00:13:38]: Physical vs. Logical

[00:15:57]: Client Success – Together from Day One

[00:18:00]: Savings During Migration

[00:19:11]: InterVision to the Rescue

[00:20:31]: Cloud Provider Tools

[00:22:41]: Under a Watchful Eye

[00:23:50]: Bust That Myth

[00:24:48]: Call to Action

[00:25:40]: Close

 

Episode Transcript

Austin Rose [00:00:00]:

Anybody who’s been in technology long enough knows of kind of the three-legged stool of people process and technology, and that’s the big thing I think to focus on in the cloud migration process is really looking to take advantage of what the cloud has to offer to kind of take the next step forward.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:00:20]:

Technology is transforming how we think, how we lead, and how we win. From InterVision, this is Status Go, the show helping It leaders move beyond the status quo, master their craft, and propel their IT vision.

Jeff Ton [00:00:38]:

Welcome back to our continuing series Myth Busters: Cloud, Security, and Innovation. Like the much more famous MythBusters TV show, we’re going to dive into several myths and, through interviews, case studies and data bust that myth. Follow us over the next several months as we share blogs, infographics, and of course, podcast episodes. On the second Monday of each month, we will interview a peer, CIO, CTO, or business owner who has successfully busted the myth. Two weeks later, we will hear from an InterVision expert who will further destroy the myth.

The myth we are focused on this month is that cloud migration is complex and costly. Earlier, we heard from French Williams of Royal Technologies about their cloud migration and the way they managed complexity and cost. Today. Our guest is Austin Rose. Austin is the director of AWS Cloud Professional Services here at InterVision. We’re going to talk through some client stories to learn how he has guided organizations through their migrations. Together we will bust that myth.

Welcome to Status Go, Austin.

Austin Rose [00:01:53]:

Well thanks Jeff, for having me. Looking forward to it.

Jeff Ton [00:01:56]:

Yes, I’m really looking forward to our conversation today because I think this is one of the myths that continues to hang people up and maybe slow them down in their cloud migration. But before we dive into the myth itself, I’d love for you to share with our listeners a little bit about your background, your career journey.

Austin Rose [00:02:19]:

Oh, well, that’s very nebulous. I’ve done a little bit of everything in my short time on this Earth. So started off kind of was one of those characters that college wasn’t the right fit out of the high school track. So ended up working for an airline, did that for over 15 years, did everything from throwing bags on planes to flying them eventually. So during that time, I did a lot of creative problem-solving. I was in special projects for about seven of those years, and that’s kind of where I got my start in kind of solving problems from there kind of in that same time frame when I was making a career transition, joined the military, and started off as an enlisted there. I was working with C 130s fixing radios, and became a helicopter pilot. So I transitioned to becoming an officer, solving a different set of problems. So that’s kind of been my career focus is puzzles and problems.

Jeff Ton [00:03:29]:

It is an incredible background when you think about it, baggage handler to airline pilot. That’s a heck of a transition. Military and helicopter pilot. And now I think you do a little bit of search and rescue as kind of a side gig, is that right?

Austin Rose [00:03:46]:

Yeah. So on the military side, I fly for a search and rescue unit. And so that’s all we do is here in the state of California. Anytime you see a wildfire, a lost hiker, someone gets hurt out over the ocean, my unit usually gets called up to support and assist.

Jeff Ton [00:04:06]:

Well, with that background, how have you been able to use that training that you had to build trust with clients and then guide them through cloud migrations? You’ve got to draw on that background in an incredible way.

Austin Rose [00:04:23]:

I think it comes down to compartmentalization. That’s a term that you’ll often hear in aviation is this idea of being able to compartmentalize concepts, feelings, and anything that’s going on around you into small digestible bits. And I approach technology, and a lot of what we do in the cloud in a similar fashion where I try to break the problem or that project down into bite-sized chunks and then kind of be able to communicate one on one with the audience of that project. Some people are very early on in their cloud migration journey. Others have been in the cloud natively operating for well over a decade at this point. And being able to meet people where they’re at is what I found most important.

Jeff Ton [00:05:16]:

When you think about this myth that we’re talking about today, that cloud migrations is costly and complex, where do you think that comes from? We’ve been doing cloud migrations now, as you mentioned, there’s been people in the cloud for over a decade. We’ve probably been doing cloud migrations for a decade and a half, closing in on two decades. Where does this misconception come from?

Austin Rose [00:05:42]:

I think it comes from this idea that you have to put down this large investment. When you look at the traditional data center, the traditional co-lo, you’re going out there, you’re buying the hardware, you’re having to staff the data center. You’ve got network engineers who are rack and stacking switches, whatever it may be. And when you look at kind of that investment, you don’t necessarily see parity when it’s going to the cloud.

Oftentimes organizations will over-provision hardware to allow that hardware to be relevant in three to five years when they go through their next tech refresh. And so, they’re not identifying the true need of that workload in the cloud. Right. And so, one of the nice things or one of the greatest things about operating in the cloud is that you have the ability to use what you need, and then you’re only getting charged for that need. So oftentimes, we see a lot of organizations able to transition even chip architectures. So going from that AMD or that intel chipset, leveraging, AWS’s Graviton which is an ARM-based chipset, significant cost savings in just changing the underlying hardware there.

Jeff Ton [00:07:07]:

I like that thought process because I was a CIO for a number of years. And you’re right, you tend to over-provision things in the on-premises world because you’re doing that stairstep to move up and try to project your growth. And that is, it’s a different mindset to change that. You’re going to pay for what you consume, and it’s always there if you need more. So, you don’t have to provision too far in advance.

What are some of the misconceptions that you’ve encountered about cloud migrations and their complexity and their cost?

Austin Rose [00:07:50]:

I think it really comes down to this idea that you have to stop what’s in production in order to migrate to the cloud. This day and age. There are incredible tool sets out there that allow you to do near seamless transition of your production environment from your on-prem to your cloud environment. And I think that’s the biggest thing is that it doesn’t need to be complex. You can build up your cloud environment in parity with what’s in your on-prem and then you flip the switch, you point all that traffic to the cloud, and now you can decommission your data center or decommission those workloads.

The other thing I think is important to understand is it doesn’t have to be everything. If you have legacy servers, especially Windows 2012 is becoming end-of-life this year, those are great workloads to focus on or don’t fix what’s not broken. But if your Windows Server 2008/2012 systems need to be modernized, the cloud is a great first step.

Jeff Ton [00:09:01]:

When you start working with clients, a lot of times, I think your team comes in, and I think you’re working with clients in a couple of different modes. One is, hey, they don’t have anything in the cloud, or maybe they’re already in there, and they need to move some additional things for those that are just beginning, or maybe they’ve got some SaaS things out there. What are some strategies and best practices that you and your team guide them through to get started and start mapping this process out?

Austin Rose [00:09:36]:

Yeah, so each one of the major cloud vendors out there has some flavor of a cloud adoption framework, and they all break it down into kind of three reasonable chunks. And the first one, which is the most important, is the assess phase. And speaking directly about AWS’s kind of migration acceleration program. When you’re in that assess phase, the priority is to build a case for change. So understanding all of the nuances of your current environment, going through in detail, what is the projected cost in the cloud? How are we going to make that transition? Going through migration plans, understanding what the current state architecture looks like and how that translates into a cloud-native architecture? All of that is done during this core assessment phase.

Anybody who’s been in technology long enough knows of kind of the three-legged stool of people, process, and technology. And that’s the big thing I think to focus on in the cloud migration process is people are going to need training. Either reskilling or upskilling that network engineer that’s in the data center racking and stacking switches, they still have a career in the cloud going through that logical networking process out there. Process and technology it’s the same thing.

How your compliance programs kind of that process works in the cloud, is very similar, but needs to be addressed in that assess phase, and then obviously, technology is the big one. How are you going to adopt cloud-native technologies to support your business objectives? So it goes beyond just your traditional server-to-server migration or a lift and shift and really gets into this idea of leveraging cloud-native technologies, containers, serverless hosted databases like RDS and like really looking to take advantage of what the cloud has to offer to kind of take the next step forward.

Jeff Ton [00:11:45]:

Can you start with a lift and shift of some or all of your workloads and then do the refactoring from there or what do you recommend?

Austin Rose [00:11:55]:

Yeah, absolutely. So the idea at least when we begin working with a customer is we want to understand what their objectives are, and it’s really an all or none type of approach. It may make sense for them to move nothing to the cloud today and to just start building new work out there. And so, what we’d want to do is we want to build a well-architected landing zone that they can build those new workloads out there, and then that helps build that case to migrate. As tech refreshes need to occur, as applications are lifecycling, then you can bring those applications and those workloads into the cloud.

Jeff Ton [00:12:37]:

One of the things that you mentioned earlier is the three-legged stool of people, process, technology. When you’re working with a company, do you work side by side and embed your team with the company team so that they’re learning from you and your team as you’re going through this process or is that something that’s not done much anymore?

Austin Rose [00:13:07]:

It really depends. I think that everyone can kind of attest to this idea of having to do more with less these days. Sometimes we’re just brought in to just get the job done, get us up and running in the cloud, and then we’ll take it over from there. More often than not, we’re working side by side with our clients to make sure that as we are making changes that they understand the changes. And then some clients, we are just guiding and coaching them on the best practices and how to move forward.

Jeff Ton [00:13:38]:

One of the things that we hear a lot from the people that we talk to on the show and just out in the community when talking about cloud migrations is the change in mindset that the team has to go through because physical infrastructure is different than infrastructure as code. Right? When you’re in the cloud, it’s basically infrastructure as code. How do you work with that network engineer or that systems engineer on the other side of the desk to help them grasp the difference between physical and code?

Austin Rose [00:14:18]:

I think it gets back to the idea at the beginning when I mentioned the idea of turning these concepts, compartmentalizing these concepts into a way that is approachable by the audience. And so I know coming historically I used to be a network guy the cloud and how you implement cloud networking, I think is a great example because it’s no longer patching servers and switches, but there is a requirement to develop logical and physical routes between regions, between VPCs, whatever it may be. And so, you’re still working in IPV4 or IPV6. You’re still working within the OSI model. So, getting back to those fundamentals will really help them understand how to translate it moving forward.

Jeff Ton [00:15:09]:

And that probably helps them feel comfortable, right? Because that’s something that they know, it’s familiar to them, and you’re not trying to just change everything all at once.

Well, we’re going to pause right there, Austin, for a message from InterVision Systems. As you well know, being a part of InterVision, InterVision is the publisher of the Status Go podcast.

 

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:15:36]:

Unlock the Power of More. With InterVision Systems, we provide the cutting-edge technology and expert guidance you need to take your business to the next level. Don’t settle for less. Choose InterVision Systems and discover what’s possible. Contact us now to learn more.

Jeff Ton [00:15:57]:

And if you do want to learn more, visit Intervision.com/Myths,  that’s m y t h s and you’ll be able to see some of the myths that we’ve already busted and maybe a preview of some of the myths that are yet to come to get busted and destroyed.

Today we’re talking with Austin Rose. Austin is responsible for AWS Professional Services here at InterVision, and together he and I are talking about the myth that cloud migrations are complex and costly.

So, Austin, I want to turn just a little bit here…are there some client stories that you can share that kind of underscore this idea of the cloud migrations? How you and your team were able to ensure a smooth and cost-effective cloud migration for them?

Austin Rose [00:16:53]:

Yeah, I think the best example of that was an organization we worked with. They came to InterVision. We had been a longtime reseller of servers and kind of that physical infrastructure. They came to us and said, hey, we need to go through a full tech refresh. And at the time, this was about two years ago, the lead time on that hardware was 18 months. So, it was going to blow through their timelines and kind of their refresh plan. And so, they were then presented with the option to pivot to the cloud. We could get them up and running in the cloud, they could meet their growth projections, nothing bad could happen out of that. And we were able to have them and work with them to migrate all of their production workloads into the cloud. They made a full transition and decommissioned two data centers. And I think that that’s kind of like the ultimate success story there where they were able to capitalize on the idea of the cloud when physical hardware no longer was available.

Jeff Ton [00:18:00]:

Yeah, well, I think a lot of our listeners found themselves in that same boat during the pandemic. The lead time on the supply chain of getting the physical hardware was just 18 months or longer. I thought you were going to say it was longer than that. As you were going through that process with them, were they able to realize any savings over what their on-premises architecture was? Do you know?

Austin Rose [00:18:30]:

Yeah, yeah, I can’t share any numbers, but the biggest one was one of the data centers that they closed was for their disaster recovery. With the way that we were able to architect their AWS infrastructure, now their disaster recovery is on-demand. So before, where they had dedicated hardware that was available to basically spin up as a warm or a cold site, no longer did they have to kind of maintain that entirely separate continuously running infrastructure, now it’s all just in time will automatically failover and spin up through the Pilot Light.

Jeff Ton [00:19:11]:

Any client stories about maybe a client that was in trouble in their migration, and you and your team were able to come in and get things back on track?

Austin Rose [00:19:23]:

Yeah, one of the customers that we had was working kind of independently to move their resources and their systems to the cloud. But what they didn’t realize is that there’s a fair amount of work that goes into the pre-planning process. And so, getting back to that idea of that lift and shift, you don’t want to start with the lift and shift process. You want to make sure you’ve got a good foundation. It’s kind of like building a house, right? You want a nice solid, sturdy foundation, and some well-insulated walls. You want to be protected. That way, as you’re migrating those workloads over, they’re secure, they’re compliant, they follow best practices, and they allow for backup and disaster recovery.

So it really goes into the pre-planning of a migration. Like so much of what we do goes into that pre-planning or that migration planning phase. So we go in there, we are able to kind of work around what they’ve already built, build up that compliant, well-architected landing zone, get the rest of their environment put out there, and then kind of repair and kind of work with what they had already done.

Jeff Ton [00:20:31]:

I was going to ask if that landing zone was that foundation that you were talking about, and I think you answered that. So that’s awesome.

Well, I know you’re most familiar with AWS, and you mentioned that they have some tools that help with the planning of the migration…the assessment of the migration. What are some of the other tools that AWS and maybe some of the other cloud providers offer that help to guide the migration process and help control costs during that process?

Austin Rose [00:21:06]:

Yeah, so it really comes down to…there’s a couple of different flavors there’s agent-based and agentless. And what we like to do is, using these tools, is to go through almost a seasonal cycle of planning on this. So we’ve got a lot of customers that are dealing with like payroll. Payrolls run once a month. And so we want to capture the kind of the metrics associated with that very seasonal workload. The tools that are available out there, you can deploy them on your own, you can use someone like InterVision to do that on your behalf.

You collect that data, and then it comes down to analyzing that data and kind of going from there. So there’s some really good agnostic tools out there, there’s some really good vendor-provided tools.

The other part of that I think that is important is that there’s all the computational needs and requirements for an application. The other part that often gets overlooked is the storage requirements. So when you’re starting to talk about hardware performance when it comes to data storage, what is your latency tolerance for some very hypersensitive applications? You need picosecond accuracy of time, clocks, and everything else? It really allows us to understand what those kind of variances are in the workload, and we’re able to kind of architect around that.

Jeff Ton [00:22:41]:

When sitting down with a client and you’ve got all that data, and it’s time to rock and roll on the migration, what are some of the things that you’re looking for as the migration itself starts? What things do you have your eye on?

Austin Rose [00:23:03]:

Skeletons. Everyone has skeletons, whether or not they know it. So, whether that skeleton is known, and it’s been well buried in the closet, or if it’s a landmine and we come across it, that is what I’m always looking for…is what did we not plan for? There’s a lot of times that we’ll run into issues with application dependencies that were not well documented when it comes to custom-built applications. Sometimes the installation media no longer exists, and there’s ways to migrate those workloads, but how boutique that workload is will often change our approach and kind of go from there.

Jeff Ton [00:23:50]:

I love that. That may be the title of the episode Skeletons in the Closet.

Well, Austin, we’re at that time where it’s time to bust that myth. What would you say to a prospective client who’s sitting across the table from you, who told you they were reticent to migrate to the cloud because the migration is too complex or too costly?

Austin Rose [00:24:17]:

I would say let’s have a conversation about it. Again, it doesn’t have to be everything. Oftentimes there is a very valid business case to keep something on-prem, but more often than not, we can identify many workloads in the environment that are better performing, better functioning, and ultimately have higher availability and higher resiliency in the cloud. And so, let’s identify what those workloads are and start there.

Jeff Ton [00:24:48]:

There you have it, folks. Myth busted. The cloud migration does not have to be complex or costly. You need to have proper planning and proper execution as you’re going through it.

Now, Austin, one of the things we love to do here on Status Go is we love to leave our listeners with a very specific call to action. So our listeners are IT leaders, technology leaders from around the country, around the world, actually. What are one or two things that our listeners should go do tomorrow, because they listened to our conversation today?

Austin Rose [00:25:31]:

Start taking inventory of what workloads you’re actually running today and identify what the future state of those workloads could be.

Jeff Ton [00:25:40]:

Awesome. And look for the skeletons. Maybe, maybe document the skeletons.

Well, Austin, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us. I know you are in the midst of a pretty large-scale project that sounds incredibly exciting, so I know it’s been a crazy time. So thank you so much.

Austin Rose [00:26:04]:

Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate the time.

Jeff Ton [00:26:08]:

To our listeners, if you have a question or want to learn more. Visit intervision.com/myths. To review the show notes, go to intervision.com/status-go. Those show notes will provide links and contact information. This is Jeff Ton for Austin Rose. Thank you very much for listening.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:26:31]:

You’ve been listening to the Status Go podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or get more information at intervision.com. If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, find InterVision on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Thank you for listening.

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