Earlier this month a colleague and I attended the Partner Migration Workshop at Amazon’s Holborn (London) office. The format of this event was a showcase of AWS and chosen third-party products likely to be of use to firms undertaking a migration to the public cloud, followed by post-event socialisation. Around 30 people went along, so it was quite a small, intimate group. The makeup was a combination of presenters, their colleagues, and people from organisations soon to be (or currently) undertaking a migration project.
The first presentation of the day was the AWS Migration Hub. Put simply, this is a free-to-use tracking tool to follow the progress of a project to migrate from on-prem / colo to the cloud. For me to stop there would be a huge disservice! Though it doesn’t perform (and can’t trigger) the migrations itself, it does support in-bound API calls. If you’re writing your own migration scripts then you can then trigger those API calls as part of your automation, or if you’re using a third party tool then it might be able to trigger these calls for you. And if you’re doing a migration without any automation tools then the AWS Migration Hub also allows manual update of migration status. Regardless of approach, you can visualise progress with data broken down by project, component or server, or other aggregations of your choosing.
If you’re an AWS client then you can take a look at it here https://us-west-2.console.aws.amazon.com/migrationhub/home?region=us-west-2 (requires an AWS login)
The second presentation (and first guest speaker) was by New Relic. I’d already got to use and know New Relic in a previous role at a Ruby consultancy but my knowledge of their offering was rather limited; I knew it as application performance and server metrics monitoring. But I also learned about an additional offering which they call New Relic Synthetics. With this you can simulate visitors using only front-end visits, i.e. with no application changes needed — great if you’re working with legacy apps or infrastructure (or both!) and making direct changes is risky or difficult/prohibited for political reasons.
The overall take-away from this particular presentation was the importance of monitoring and instrumentation. New Relic provides varying mechanisms for all of this different kind of data to be collected and visualised.
Another tool we saw demonstrated was Platespin Migrate from Microfocus. This is an on-prem tool for time and budget tracking of a cloud migration (covering discovery, categorisation, scheduling). Using AWS resource creation API endpoints, this tool can kick off the migrations, even automatically based on predefined schedules, and can be done in batches or en masse. In the current world of cloud-based services it might be considered unusual to have an on-prem tool rather than a SaaS offering, but a counter to this was offered by the presenter, namely that some companies like to keep control over their own data rather than let a third party control it.
One of the other speakers raised an interesting rhetorical question, namely: “How to make money when the migration is done?” A likely answer to this would be to offer additional services. Indeed, Automation Logic’s business model is focussed on sustaining services, even if it is sometimes migration projects which are our route into an organisation.
There were 6 tools in total shown off, and as the day progressed, I at times found myself getting a little bit resistant to the sales-y nature of some of the presentations – I’d gone hoping to learn skills and techniques. But upon reflection, I realised that I’d attended with the wrong mindset.
Working in a consultancy, I believe that it’s hugely beneficial to be aware of multiple tools, because it’s likely that a solution which is right for one client (or one project at a long lasting client) may not be right for another. In other words, discovering such tools will be of huge help with client placements – more arrows in my quiver!
My only regret of the day is that we as Automation Logic weren’t presenting our AWS Cloud Platform Product. In a nutshell, this is a free* system to deploy a CI/CD pipeline delivery system for running one or more applications in AWS. Hopefully we’ll get to present at another event soon. Watch this blog for a forthcoming post giving more details.
*Our cloud formation template and associated provisioning scripts are provided at zero cost under the Apache License (v2), but you would still need to pay AWS for any resources used.