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Five Pitfalls to Avoid When Migrating to the Cloud

Tech leaders are increasingly turning to the cloud for cost savings and convenience, but getting to the cloud is not so easy. Here are the top 5 pitfalls to avoid when migrating to the cloud.

1. Choosing the wrong migration approach

There are 6 migration strategies, and getting to these 6 takes a considerable amount of work. Jumping into a cloud migration without the due diligence, analysis, grouping and risk ranking is ill-advised. Organizations need to conduct in depth application analyses to determine the correct migration approach. Not all applications are cloud ready and those that are may take some toying with when there. Take the time to really understand HOW your application works, how it will work in the cloud and what needs to be done to migrate it there successfully. 2nd Watch approaches all cloud migrations using our Cloud Factory Model, which includes the following phases – discovery, design and requirement gathering, application analysis, migration design, migration planning and migration(s).

These 6 migration strategies include:

  • Retain – Leaving it as is. It could be a mistake to move the application to the cloud.
  • Rehost “aka” Lift and Shift – Migrating the application as-is into the cloud.
  • Replatform – Characterized as re-imagining how the application is architected and developed, typically using cloud-native features. Basically, you’re throwing away and designing something new or maybe switching over to a SaaS tool altogether.
  • Retire – No migration target and/or application host decommission on source.
  • Re-architect/Refactor – Migration of the current application to use the cloud in the most efficient, thorough way possible, incorporating the best features to modernize the application. This is the most complex migration method as it often involves re-writing of code to decouple the application to fully support all the major benefits the cloud provides. The redesign and re-engineering of the application and infrastructure architecture are also key in this type of migration.

From a complexity standpoint, replatform and rearchitect/refactor are the most complicated migration approaches. However, it depends on the application and how you are replatforming (for example, if you’re going to SaaS, it may be a very simple transition.  If you’re rebuilding your application on Lambda and DynamoDB, not so much).

2. Big Bang Migration

Some organizations are under the impression that they must move everything at once. This is the furthest from the truth. The reality is that organizations are in hybrid models (On-Prem and Cloud) for a long time because it’s very hard to move some workloads.

It is key to come up with a migration design and plan which includes a strategic portfolio analysis or Cloud Readiness Assessment that assesses each application’s cloud readiness, identifies dependencies between applications, ranks applications by complexity and importance, and identifies the ideal migration path.

3. Underestimating Work Involved and Integration

Migrating to the cloud is not a walk in the park. You must have the knowledge, skill and solid migration design to successfully migrate workloads to the cloud. When businesses hear the words “lift and shift” they are mistakenly under the impression that all one has to do is press a button (migrate) and then it’s “in the cloud.” This is a misnomer that needs to be explained. Underestimating integration is one of the largest factors of failure.

With all of the cheerleading about of the benefits of moving to the cloud, deploying to the cloud adds a layer of complexity, especially when organizations are layering cloud solutions on top of legacy systems and software. It is key to ensure that the migration solution chosen is able to be integrated with your existing systems. Moving workloads to the cloud requires integration and an investment in it as well. Organizations need to have a solid overall architectural design and determine what’s owned, what’s being accessed and ultimately what’s being leveraged.

Lastly, code changes that are required to make move are also often underestimated. Organizations need to remember it is not just about moving virtual machines. The code may not work the same way running in the cloud, which means the subsequent changes required may be deep and wide.

4. Poor Business Case

Determine the value of a cloud migration before jumping into one. What does this mean? Determine what your company expects to gain after you migrate. Is it cost savings from exiting the data center? Will this create new business opportunities? Faster time to market? Organizations need to quantify the benefits before you move.

I have seen some companies experience buyer’s remorse due to the fact that their business case was not multifaceted. It was myopic – exiting the datacenter. Put more focus on the benefits your organization will receive from the agility and ability to enter new markets faster using cloud technologies. Yes, the CapEx savings are great, but the long-lasting business impacts carry a lot of weight as well because you might find that, once you get to the cloud, you don’t save much on infrastructure costs.

5. Not trusting Project Management

An experienced, well versed and savvy project manager needs to lead the cloud migration in concert with the CIO. While the project manager oversees and implements the migration plan and leads the migration process and technical teams, the CIO is educating the business decision makers at the same time. This “team” approach does a number of things. First, it allows the CIO to act as the advisor and consultant to the business – helping them select the right kind of services to meet their needs. Second, it leaves project management to a professional. And lastly, by allowing the project manager to manage, the CIO can evaluate and monitor how the business uses the service to make sure it’s providing the best return on investment.

-Yvette Schmitter, Sr Manager, Project Portfolio Management


Seattle, We Have a Problem

Sometimes stories that explode in the media fade just as quickly – tempests in a teapot.  But this week’s revelation about two critical flaws in nearly every processor made in the last 20 years is most assuredly not a tempest in a teapot. The tech community will be assessing the implications of these vulnerabilities, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, for the foreseeable future. And this is especially true for the cloud community.

Most modern CPU, including those from Intel, AMD, and ARM, increase performance through a technique called “speculative execution.” Flaws in processor hardware allow Meltdown and Spectre to take advantage of this technique to access privileged memory — including kernel memory — from a less-privileged user process. There are any number of excellent technical write-ups, including https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/meltdown-and-spectre-heres-what-intel-apple-microsoft-others-are-doing-about-it/, with more detail. In short, Meltdown breaks the isolation between the application and the operating system, while Spectre breaks the isolation between applications. Both hardware flaws allow malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in computer memory, including sensitive or secret information such as credentials, cryptographic keys, data being processed by any running program, or opened files.

Of the two vulnerabilities, Meltdown is the more immediate threat with proof-of-concept exploits already available. However, Spectre is much deeper and harder to mitigate, potentially leading to ongoing, subtle exploits for years to come. Worse yet, these hardware flaws can be exploited on any modern operating system including Windows, Linux, macOS, containerization solutions such as Docker, and even some classes of hypervisors.

Much of the press has concentrated on the impact to personal and mobile devices – PCs, tablets, smartphones – but cloud environments, whose very foundation is based on resource isolation, are especially impacted. Since the cloud industry is centered in the Puget Sound, we might say “Seattle, we have a problem.”

Because of the critical nature of these vulnerabilities, cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have already updated their systems. While most mitigation efforts revolve around operating system patches, both AWS and Azure have addressed the problem at the hypervisor level. Both CSPs contend that performance has not been meaningfully impacted, which, if true, is in welcome contrast to initial estimates of performance hits of up to 30%. More information can be found at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/securing-azure-customers-from-cpu-vulnerability/ and https://aws.amazon.com/security/security-bulletins/AWS-2018-013/.

Even with hypervisor-centric fixes, it is still critical to update the operating systems running on instances, and thereby improve these operating systems’ abilities to isolate software running within the same instance. All the major CSPs have already installed patches so that all new instances will have the latest version, but existing instances must still be updated. Please note that all AWS instances running Lambda functions have already been patched and no action is required.

If you are a 2nd Watch Managed Cloud customer whose service plan includes patch management, please contact your Technical Account Manager to discuss patch availability and scheduling.  These patches are considered high priority. If you are not currently in a service tier in which 2nd Watch manages patching on your behalf, it is urgent that you patch all your operating systems as soon as possible. If you need assistance in doing so, or if you would like to learn more about how we can proactively manage these issues for you, please contact us.

-John Lawler, Senior Product Manager


The Dream Big South Africa Journey Consummates

As we disembark from this adventure of a lifetime I reflect back on all of the amazing things we have seen and experienced over the past couple of weeks.  There is no doubt in my mind that this experience will be something we all carry with us and cherish the rest of our lives.  What a blessing to be able to go and visit such an exotic land with an entirely different culture than we are used to.  Also an incredible blessing and honour to be able to use our resources and time give back and do something that will hopefully make an impact for generations to come.  To get to meet those orphaned children and to experience and share in the joy that they have for life.  I know without a doubt a piece of our hearts will always remain in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Since “a picture is worth a thousand words” I figured I would provide a quick run-down with pictures of what we experienced…


Fishing and site seeing in the Indian Ocean


Providing a computer lab, facilities improvements, and humanitarian relief to Jehova Jireh Haven Orphanage in Alexandria


Safari tour at Addo Elephant Park and Schotia Safaris


Hunting at the GrootDrai ranch with Rufus Luttig and HuntSA


JB and Caitlin take Cape Town!


What an amazing life-changing experience we had!

–Ryan Kennedy


2W ‘dream BIG’ Update – 4


The last few days have been a whirlwind!  It has been hard to find the time to update you all on what we have accomplished, but it’s a beautiful morning and while the guys are out on a morning hunt with HuntSA, I’m sitting outside taking the opportunity to write this post.  As there are many things to discuss let’s start with Jehovah Jireh Haven Orphan Care Center.

The computer lap is completed!  Ryan and Pete built a table for the children to use while on the computers.  As you can see it’s going to get plenty of use.  Once the table and computers were set up we spoke with students from Rhodes University who will help establish and continue a computer literacy program for the kids.  Many university students said how excited they were for the computers and told us they were going to make a huge impact for these kids.  Afterwards we let in many of the kids from Jehovah Jireh to have a chance at the computers before we left.  They were already into Paint and creating new backgrounds for the computers.  All of us are excited about the opportunity these laptops will bring to the children at Jehovah Jireh.



While Pete and Ryan were busy with the computer lab, JB and I (Caitlin) spent our time with the kiddos and on smaller projects.  JB and his headbands were a complete hit.  He went through all 200 before you could blink!  I was able to do a small project of replacing their broken swings from the jungle gym.  The swings had ropes that were broken and frayed so we decided to use chain to attach some tires back onto the jungle gym.  Now the children have four tire swings and shouldn’t have to worry about them breaking with that chain! All of the children and Jehovah Jireh were beautiful and happy children who love to sing and joke!  JB quickly became known as Big Show everywhere we went.

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When it came time to say goodbye the children all stood in a circle and sang us beautiful songs. They even got me to sing a song goodbye!  It was beautiful and moved Big Show to tears!  I know many of us feel that we will return someday.



While we had to say goodbye to the kids we also had to say goodbye to our hosts in Alexandria at Golf Lodge B&B.  Thank you Jennifer and your family for taking care of all of us.  We then made our way to Addo Elephant park where we got our first experience at African Wildlife.  From there we made our way to Schotia Safaris for an overnight stay.  Schotia was amazing and we got some close encounters of rhinos, elephants, giraffes, and hippos!  The lodging was fantastic and so was the food!  From Schotia we made our way to the HuntSA ranch.  JB and I were given the opportunity to stay one night and try our hand at hunting before we head to Cape Town.  That chance paid off as I got the first hunt and first animal of the hunt!  The meat from the warthog will be donated to the orphanage!  I’ve never been hunting before in my life!  It was quite an experience!11174781_10153273901254701_8676579623087692919_n

From here Ryan and Pete will remain for the next four days for their chance to get a kudu, while JB and I head to Cape town!  More updates to follow.



Dream Big – Day 2

Most of the group arrived late last night via flights from Spokane to Atlanta to Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. The 4am wake up was a little rough to head out fishing with Big John Charters in Port Elizabeth. What a day!

We saw the sun rise, caught a variety of Indian Ocean fish, saw a pod of dolphins, the colony of penguins that call St. Croix Island home and then topped it off with 2 battles with massive Raggy Sharks on the reef.

After cleaning up, we took the 2 hour ride to our home, The Golf Lodge B&B, for the next few days in Alexandria.  We will be helping install the computer lab at J&J Orphanage tomorrow.  The home owners, Jennifer and Brent, just prepped us for what to expect with the kids.  I think we will make them smile!

What an amazing experience thus far and we look forward to meeting the children tomorrow.

-Caitlin Collom