Discover the key steps to planning your migration to modernise

More organisations are recognising what they can gain by moving operations to the cloud, and making their plans to get there. Running Microsoft Windows workloads on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances with Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors conveys a range of benefits that directly impacts business performance and day-to-day operations.

Working from the cloud increases flexibility, reliability, and performance. It also helps meet scalability requirements, all while reducing costs. In fact, industry researcher IDC reports companies running their Windows workloads on AWS experience as much as 98% less frequent downtime and reduce operational costs by 56%.

And the global migration to cloud operations is accelerating. According to statistics gathered by AWS, there was a 400% growth in the quantity of Windows workloads running on AWS between 2015 and 2018. That figure includes Amazon EC2 and Windows Server instances.

Nevertheless, moving something as business critical as Microsoft Windows workloads to the cloud is still a colossal shift, and not one to be taken lightly. It requires planning, patience, and proper execution. While it can seem intimidating at the onset, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Here’s a look at the key steps recommended to initially migrate those Windows workloads to Amazon EC2 instances and then incrementally modernise to cloud native services.

First steps

The first step is to know what you need to move to the cloud, how you plan to move to the cloud, and what are your migration goals. Perform a comprehensive assessment of your company’s readiness to migrate to and operate in the cloud. It is also critical to develop the business case for doing so, and ensure your goals are in line with your plans.

AWS has a handful of tools that can help with this assessment and evaluation process. The AWS Migration Evaluator provides a total cost of ownership (TCO) projection for running Microsoft workloads in AWS. The Migration Evaluator makes its projections based on actual resource utilization for compute, storage, database, networking, and software licenses.

If your organisation’s requirements are less extensive, and you only need to migrate and run select on-premises workloads, you can use the AWS Migration Hub to generate recommendations for AWS EC2 instances.

When it comes to developing a business case, AWS can help with that as well. The AWS Cloud Economics Center helps develop your business case relying on the experiences of hundreds of other such migration projects and plans. You can prepare and present your business case to the C-suite and board of directors with clear, proven justification.

The next tool to put to work is AWS Prescriptive Guidance. The extensive guide will help you plan your company’s migration, navigate the cloud landscape once your there, and use this new operational mode to accelerate your organisation’s digital transformation.

Up and running

Once you have migrated those first workloads, your company will realize how much more efficient and effective you Microsoft Windows workloads can run. AWS provides more than 140 cloud-native services to help run Windows workloads, such as Amazon FSx for Window File Server.

This is a fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system for shared file storage. Amazon FSx supports the SMB protocol and Windows NTFS. There’s also AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD), which is actually built on Microsoft AD. Your company won’t have to synchronise or replicate any data from the old on-premises AD to your new AWS cloud platform.

The tight integration of the AWS cloud-native services will give your company a smoother Windows experience than you have ever had. You can use Amazon FSx in concert with AWS Directory Service to run AWS Managed AD service. This gives you seamless identity and access management for your AWS-based Microsoft Windows workloads. This tight integration of cloud-native services lets you use standard Active Directory tools and functions, such as Group Policy and single sign-on.

And of course, security is always part of the equation. Running your Microsoft Windows workloads in the AWS cloud architecture lets you use built-in AWS firewall functionality like network access control lists. Your company will also have access to solutions from the network of AWS security partners.

Working with Microsoft Windows workloads on AWS, you can still implement AD Domain Services to deploy a scalable, secure, and manageable distributed infrastructure. And when you have launched instances through the AWS Console or an Amazon EC2 provisioning tool like AWS CloudFormation, AWS recommends using native Microsoft Windows features, such as Microsoft Windows PowerShell DSC, to ensure consistent configuration.

Developers working with Windows obviously need access to .NET environments. AWS has cloud-native services and deep integration for .NET developers as well. For example, the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio is helps developers to develop, debug, and deploy .NET applications. It can also help developers integrate their applications with AWS infrastructure services, such as Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Amazon DynamoDB.

AWS can also help developers access innovative technologies, such as containers and serverless technologies. The list of AWS serverless and container services includes AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, Amazon Elastic Container Service, and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service.

And finally, your company can maintain an accurate view of software licenses with the AWS License Manager. This cloud-native tool helps you manage licenses for Windows, SQL Server, or other enterprise software, such as SAP, Oracle, and IBM. You can manage, discover, enforce, and report software license usage from a single dashboard.

Far and wide

AWS operates on a global scale and at a higher level than other commercial cloud platforms, so your company has a solid foundation for running its Microsoft Windows workloads. AWS has an extensive list of compliance certifications, including HIPAA, FISMA, and ITAR, just to name a few. AWS also provides an extensive global Intel-powered infrastructure for running Microsoft Windows workloads with high availability. The AWS Cloud spans 84 Availability Zones within 26 geographic regions around the world, with announced plans for 24 more Availability Zones and eight more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).This results in greater reliability and increased uptime.

As your organization strives to transform and modernize, moving your Microsoft Windows workloads to the AWS cloud is a critical step. You will preserve the power and productivity of Microsoft Windows, while enjoying increased reliability, significant cost savings, and improved performance.