Cloud Migration Requires a New Monitoring Strategy

Most businesses have a multi-cloud, hybrid IT environment. Whether according to a strategic plan, the result of individual department IT decisions, or shadow IT usage by their employees, they are using more than one cloud provider. In addition, they continue to have on-premises IT resources. This complex environment makes monitoring complex, as well. In many cases, businesses should build out a new monitoring solution more capable of monitoring their mix of technologies.

The Challenges of Monitoring Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Environments

The mixed environments businesses are supporting today are difficult to monitor. Every provider has their own tool that provides metrics for that environment only; there are also likely multiple tools monitoring resources within the data center. Yet despite the many tools collecting data, it’s difficult to obtain an overall, consolidated view of status. That lack of insight makes providing support and investigating issues challenging.

Cloud vendor’s monitoring tools may lack data to help the business assess the effectiveness of its cloud migration. Performance metrics may be collected or presented differently than metrics were in the data center, making it impossible to effectively compare performance across environments. The tools may also make it hard to understand utilization, and can lack historical data needed for analytics. Finally, the tools don’t effectively capture the user experience, as the user’s access to a business service may depend on multiple technologies that are deployed in multiple locations.

Another important concern is that simply knowing what needs to be monitored is difficult. The dynamic nature of cloud means services are continually being added and removed. Besides making it easy to overlook an important component, the steady change makes it harder to compare metrics over time, as they’re never looking at exactly the same thing.

Learn more in 5 Cloud Migration Mistakes to Avoid.

Build Monitoring into Your Migration Plan

Because of these challenges, succeeding at cloud can’t rely solely on the cloud provider’s monitoring tool; you also can’t rely on operations staff to monitor multiple dashboards for each cloud environment.

Instead, businesses will need to be proactive and plan for a new approach to monitoring as part of the migration planning. This will typically require evaluating various tools available that pull together data from multiple clouds, or even implementing your own tool to create a consolidated view customized to meet your needs. Making sure the selected or built tool captures the necessary data requires spending time to identify the metrics that matter most to your business. Gathering the data must be automated for the tool to be successful.

Creating an effective monitoring strategy is just one of the challenges of planning a cloud migration. Contact CCS Technology Group to learn how our cloud services help you succeed with your migration and ongoing cloud usage.

5 Cloud Migration Mistakes to Avoid

Getting to cloud successfully can be a big challenge. Increase the chances of success by taking steps to avoid these mistakes when you plan your cloud migration:

1. Thinking too small

Migrating a workload to the cloud requires understanding that workload in detail, but it’s a mistake to focus only on individual applications or datasets. All of your cloud migration work should be guided by an overall cloud strategy. The strategy should determine how you select cloud resources and ensure that your end state in the cloud is efficient from both a technology and a spending perspective.

2. Thinking too big

Attempting to migrate all your data at once or starting with your mission-critical application is likely to run into obstacles your team doesn’t have the skills to handle, at least at first. It’s better to begin with smaller datasets and less important applications that allow your team to gain familiarity and expertise in the cloud with relatively low risk.

3. Forgetting about security

Don’t forget that you are responsible for the security of your data in the cloud, and don’t plan to add security after the migration is over. Before you migrate a single byte of data or line of code, you should have an understanding of the security capabilities in your cloud and the risks you face. Configurations should be set up with appropriate security from the beginning.

4. Forgetting about the network

Too much of cloud talk is about hardware and software, but your access to those resources depends on the network. You can experience performance and security issues related to the network that connects your users to your cloud, as well as the network connecting resources internal to the cloud. Understand these issues and take the network into consideration when you architect for security and performance.

5. Mimicking your on-premises environment

Lift-and-shift is certainly a legitimate approach to cloud migration, and can be the most expedient and speediest approach to the cloud. However, lift-and-shift shouldn’t mean that you don’t tailor your cloud environment to the demands of your application. You also still need to be conscious that cloud can require changes to configurations, monitoring, and security, even if the workload’s overall architecture isn’t altered.

Learn more in Choose the Right Approach for Moving Applications to the Cloud.

Another big mistake? Thinking training your team provides the expertise needed to succeed in cloud. While training your team is an absolute necessity, becoming comfortable with cloud and developing a true cloud mindset requires more than a few hours of classroom training. It requires time working with cloud, experiencing and overcoming challenges. Instead of relying on your team’s book learning to guide your adjustment to cloud, it’s often better to bring in a team that’s already experienced in cloud. They can make sure the cloud journey succeeds while your team learns from them and goes solo only when they’ve got the skills needed to keep your business operations in the cloud successful.

Contact CCS Technology Group to learn how our IT consulting and managed cloud services can help you plan and execute a successful cloud migration.

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4 Solutions for Performance Problems in the Cloud

One of cloud’s most important benefits is the ability to add capacity on demand, or even to scale automatically. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean cloud users will never experience performance problems.

Sources of Performance Problems in the Cloud

Performance problems in the cloud can arise from several different sources:

  • Limited computing resources. Inadequate memory and CPU power impacts cloud applications the same way it impacts applications in the data center.
  • Network latency. Cloud applications often don’t sit near to their users. In addition, cloud applications use a microservices-oriented architecture, and if the servers providing the services aren’t closely located, performance may suffer.
  • Architectural misfit. Applications that are migrated to the cloud using the lift and shift approach aren’t architected to take advantage of cloud features such as automatic scaling. In addition, many legacy applications and databases simply are poorly designed. The problems inherent in their designs don’t disappear when they are transitioned to cloud.

Addressing Performance Problems in the Cloud

Solving cloud performance problems should always start by understanding the business’s performance requirements. Once the goal is known, the next important step is reviewing metrics to identify where the problems are occurring and discover the root cause. All cloud providers offer logging and monitoring, along with reporting that highlights trends. Depending on your cloud provider, there may be analytics and advice on steps to take to address any problems.

After the metrics are analyzed, performance problems can be addressed by one of the following changes, choosing the one most appropriate for the source of the problem:

  1. Better instance and memory choice. Upgrade instances to have more memory and more powerful CPUs. Having more computing power available can solve many issues. In addition, some cloud providers may offer the option of a private server. By not sharing the physical hardware, your workloads are protected from any impact caused by other cloud users.
  2. Better network connection. Most cloud providers offer the option of a direct link to the cloud. This offers a stable level of performance and isolates your communications from load issues of the public internet.
  3. Better location strategy. Placing services closer to the users who access them can deliver better performance, so consider deploying to different regions. It can also be helpful to locate workloads close to any services they leverage.
  4. Better applications. You may need to rearchitect applications to leverage cloud’s scaling capabilities. In addition, older applications may have nonideal database structures, and revisiting those can also lead to performance improvements.

Work with an experienced managed cloud services team to address any performance issues in your cloud. Contact CCS Technology Group to learn more about getting the best performance from your cloud.

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Don’t Let Cloud Costs Keep You from Experiencing Cloud Benefits

The most challenging part of cloud may not be technology. Cloud providers usually offer lots of support to help their customers migrate to cloud and leverage cloud solutions. That’s in their best interest. But they may not offer as much support to help you manage your cloud spending. After all, the more you spend on cloud, the more they profit.

Easy to Spend Too Much on Cloud

It’s easy to spend too much on cloud:

  • Unneeded services cost money. There are often free trials of cloud services, and those are a great way to test out cloud offerings. However, if you don’t properly turn off those trials, eventually you end up with real charges. In addition, there are many environments that you need only for a short time, such as development and test servers. Forgetting to disable them after a project completes results in unnecessary expense. Even production servers lead to unnecessary charges; systems that don’t process 24 hours a day continue to accrue expenses when they’re left up overnight.
  • Everyone has access to cloud services. Cloud is a self-service environment, which means it bypasses traditional approval, purchasing, and provisioning processes. Anyone can spin up a cloud service, meaning unapproved and uncontrolled spending is common.
  • Scalability is ignored. Because cloud is highly agile, systems can scale on demand, so they should be sized to meet current requirements without additional spare capacity. This is in contrast to traditional IT approaches that keep excess capacity available in advance of need. If systems are migrated as-is to the cloud, or old planning methods aren’t updated, businesses end up paying unnecessarily for this unused capacity.
  • Spending doesn’t leverage discounts. Cloud providers often have different pricing models that can provide discounts. These can be in the form of reserved instances, where you commit to a specified level of cloud utilization, or by bidding for spot instances, where you use capacity when the provider has unused resources.
  • Workloads are migrated “as is.” In the rush to migrate to cloud, “lift and shift” is a popular, fast approach; this approach doesn’t attempt to rearchitect workloads to take better advantage of cloud capabilities but simply duplicates them in the cloud. If workloads aren’t analyzed properly before the migration, lift and shift can result in migrating spare capacity from the data center to the cloud, as well. Learn how to calculate the ROI of moving to the cloud.
  • Monitoring and managing costs is difficult. Cloud projects are often initiated at the departmental level rather than at the corporate IT level, so costs are difficult to track. In addition, multicloud infrastructure means there is more than one cloud and it’s difficult to get an overall picture of cloud utilization and cloud costs.

Get Cloud Costs Under Control

In order to keep cloud from consuming the entire IT budget, companies need to keep an eye on their cloud spending. Tools can help companies through features such as:

  • Size calculators and cost estimators. Almost every cloud provider has calculators and estimators available to help you select the most appropriate and cost-effective technology. These tools help choose the right-size instance and evaluate whether reserved instances would lead to savings.
  • Automation. Automation can help ensure that cost-saving policies such as end-of-day shutdowns are consistently applied across the entire cloud infrastructure.
  • Cost analytics. Analytics tools collect cloud spending from all your platforms and provide a consolidated view of usage and utilization, along with tools to drill down into the data to understand usage.

Cloud services from CCS Technology Group help you keep an eye on both your cloud infrastructure and your cloud spending. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of cloud services from CCS Technology Group.

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Multiple Clouds Make Mastering Cloud Management Even Harder

If you’ve got cloud—and by now, everyone has got cloud—chances are, you’ve got multicloud. This can result from strategic decisions to obtain specific services from best-in-class providers or the result of not having a cloud strategy and allowing individual departments to make their own cloud picks. Whether multicloud is a deliberate decision or an accident, once you’ve got multiple clouds, you’ve also got additional cloud management challenges.

Multicloud Management Challenges

The multicloud management challenges include:

  • Cost. It’s difficult to get an overall picture of cloud spending when it’s split up over multiple providers with different billing cycles. It’s also difficult to determine if the resources you’re paying for are being utilized efficiently. Some cloud management tools can load all your usage and billing data to provide a comprehensive picture of total costs and utilization, while also allowing you to drill down and see the details of departmental spending.
  • Expertise. It takes time to become familiar with any new technology. Working with multiple cloud providers means your team will have to learn multiple ways of working in the cloud.
  • Migration. Getting to cloud can be difficult and creating migration plans is time consuming. With multiple clouds, you may need to develop different migration strategies for different platforms.
  • Security. Multiple clouds mean more potential security risks. There are more logs to monitor for suspicious activity. It’s hard to ensure policies are applied consistently across different cloud providers with different controls. Defining role-based access controls and leveraging single sign-on also become more challenging.
  • Performance. Because workloads are scattered across multiple clouds, it’s more difficult to monitor and ensure adequate performance. Using multiple clouds can also place more load on your network, especially if the clouds aren’t running isolated services but share data through APIs or other methods.
  • Visibility. Visibility is a problem to some extent even when you have just a single cloud. Visibility into your infrastructure and system status may be limited by the cloud provider and by your inability to access the underlying hardware. Multiple clouds often make visibility even harder because dashboards display only local data; it’s probably necessary to use a third-party tool to achieve consolidated view. In addition, different flavors of cloud—IaaS, PaaS, SaaS—require different levels of monitoring.
  • Automation. Automation and orchestration are key to efficient IT operations; it ensures necessary processes run on time and eliminates manual errors. Again, because multiple clouds have different ways of doing things, it can be complicated to develop a single automation solution across all providers.

Whether you have one cloud or many clouds, cloud solutions from CCS Technology Group ensure they’re managed effectively so your business experiences the benefits of cloud. Contact us to talk about your cloud challenges and how CCS Technology Group can help you solve them.

Cloud Resolutions for the New Year

The new year is a great time to review the technology you’re using and make changes, either introducing new technology or improving how you use your existing technology. Here are four things to look at to help you get more out of your cloud technology:

1. Get cloud spending under control

One of the biggest advantages of cloud is its cost savings, but you need to take steps to make sure spending doesn’t exceed expectations. Because cloud is self-service, it’s easy for users to initiate services without much review. Free trials are tempting, but when they aren’t canceled, they turn into ongoing expenses. Buying excess capacity is a good practice when you house resources in your data center, but it’s unnecessary and a hard habit to break when it comes to cloud, where capacity is available on demand. Choosing a more expensive data tier is another source of unnecessary expenses. Finally, remember cloud is pay-per-use, so make sure resources are shut down when not needed. This includes permanently shutting down development and test environments after the project is complete, as well as turning off applications that aren’t needed overnight. Learn more about controlling your cloud costs.

2. Consider going native

Probably most organizations take the “lift and shift” approach to transitioning to cloud. In this approach, you don’t rearchitect applications; you transition them as-is. The approach has the advantages of being simple. It’s also relatively fast and relatively low-risk. However, most existing applications aren’t designed to take advantage of all the cloud’s features. In particular, they don’t usually have a services-oriented architecture and aren’t able to take advantage of automatic scalability in the cloud. If you’ve already migrated applications to the cloud and things are running smoothly, take time this year to review the applications and identify where going cloud-native will offer advantages. Learn more about approaches to moving to the cloud.

3. Improve your security

Cloud security remains a top concern for many businesses, and there’s a good reason: cloud means shared resources and more points of access, meaning potentially greater risk. While your cloud provider takes many steps to protect the cloud, protecting your applications and your data remains your responsibility. Spend time reviewing your security posture, checking the tools and configurations you already have in place, and consider adding new cloud-centric controls such as a cloud access security broker. Learn more about ways to keep your cloud secure or information security basics.

4. Design your hybrid cloud

Almost no one, except for brand-new start-ups, has a pure cloud environment. Everyone else is working with a mix of cloud and legacy infrastructure, resulting in a confusing, difficult-to-manage hybrid architecture. Stop the chaos by taking a step back to evaluate the mixed infrastructure and plan how it can smartly evolve to let all the different elements work together in support of your business. Learn more about the flexibility of a hybrid cloud.

CCS Technology Can Help You Achieve Your 2020 Cloud Resolutions

If you’re ready to tackle any or all of these cloud resolutions in the new year, contact CCS Technology Group. Our cloud solutions help you design, implement, and manage the cloud you need in 2020 and beyond.

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Don’t Overlook These Aspects When You Plan Your Cloud Migration

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Don’t Overlook These Aspects When You Plan Your Cloud Migration

Planning for the cloud requires taking a comprehensive look at your infrastructure. There’s more to consider than simply migrating data and applications.


The network is perhaps the forgotten component of the cloud, but it’s essential to success in the cloud. Making sure the network can handle the new traffic demands of your cloud architecture is vital to a successful cloud deployment.

Be sure you estimate the bandwidth requirements when you switch to SaaS or move data storage to the cloud. The network needs to meet both capacity and latency requirements.


The network is closely tied with another aspect of infrastructure that’s affected by the move to cloud: security. Your firewall rules need to be adjusted to allow appropriate communication with your cloud infrastructure.

In addition, you need to thoroughly revisit your security strategy. Understand which aspects are handled by your cloud provider, so you can focus your attention on the aspects which are still your responsibility. In particular, focus on ensuring your cloud resources have appropriate configuration settings—the defaults may make data publicly accessible, along with identity and access management. You’ll also want to make certain data is encrypted and have a process for managing the encryption keys.

Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud More Secure.


Although the cloud provider has responsibility for the infrastructure, you still need to need to monitor your workloads to ensure they’re performing appropriately. Cloud providers offer tools for monitoring, and you can also consider third-party monitoring tools. Ideally, your cloud monitoring tool will integrate with your on-premises monitoring so there’s a single screen that reports your total system status. Whatever monitoring you use, your employees need to be trained in how to respond to outages and other problems in the cloud.

Backup & Recovery

Cloud providers include backups that let them recover your systems to another instance in case of a problem, but their backup strategy might not mesh with your data preservation requirements. In addition to potentially losing more intraday data than your recovery objective requires, they don’t create an archive of historic data that you may need for compliance or analytics purposes.

In some cases, responding to an outage requires recovering services elsewhere—despite the high availability that comes with cloud, you still need a backup and recovery solution. This may mean failing over to another region managed by the same provider or failing over to a different cloud provider or on-premises environment.

Learn more about the different cloud options for backup and recovery.

Cloud Migration

Both you and your cloud provider hope the cloud migration will be successful. However, it’s prudent to plan for migrating out of the cloud if the provider can no longer meet your needs. While you don’t need a full-fledged out-migration strategy on the day you switch production over to the cloud, you should have at least investigated it to become aware of the potential costs of data transfers out of the cloud.

CCS Technology Group can help you address all aspects of your cloud planning, as well as provide ongoing cloud services once your cloud migration is complete. Contact us to learn more about successfully transitioning to the cloud.

New Year, New Cloud Choices and Challenges

The new year brings new technology capabilities and new technology challenges. Here are some cloud challenges and choices you should be prepared for in 2020:

Multicloud and hybrid cloud become strategic decisions

Although adopting cloud was a difficult choice for many businesses, today cloud is an almost automatic decision. Because many businesses started small with cloud, their IT infrastructure is often a hybrid IT mix of cloud and on premises systems. Because many departments adopted cloud independently, their IT infrastructure is often a mix of different cloud vendors. Up until now, those mixtures of technology have often been the unintentional result of separate decisions. In order to get the most benefit from cloud, hybrid IT and multicloud architectures need to become strategic choices, evaluated for how they can integrate and work together to deliver the IT capabilities the business needs.

Learn more in What it Takes to Succeed at Cloud.

Cloud security is a business priority

When cloud was first introduced, many were hesitant to use it because of concerns about data security. After it became clear that cloud security is often better than on premises security, many businesses began to rely on their cloud provider for data security. But businesses need to recognize that the data security implemented by the cloud provider does not provide a complete data security solution that meets business needs and multiple cloud solutions can mean inconsistent, incomplete security controls. Businesses need to make their own efforts to ensure data is properly protected in the cloud.

Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure.

Having a cloud in your data center is a viable, defensible technology architecture

After deciding you want a cloud, you have to decide where you want it. This is no longer simply a matter of choosing your public cloud vendor. Private clouds are getting easier to implement, with tools such as Microsoft Azure Stack making it simpler to build a private cloud on premises. Security considerations as well as concerns about growing public cloud costs mean a private cloud deserves serious consideration.

Build workloads with portability in mind

The multicloud approach means there’s a need to move workloads between providers; the need to avoid cloud vendor lock-in also creates portability concerns. To achieve this, businesses need to balance the benefits of proprietary libraries and APIs against the portability concern. Technology teams need to leverage containers and other technology to make deploying on multiple platforms easier.

Because of the complexities of cloud, it’s always a good idea to get help from an experienced partner. Contact CCS Technology Group to learn how our cloud services can help you get the most out of your cloud in 2020.

Balance Risks and Rewards When Making the Cloud Decision

Deciding to invest in cloud technology, like making any IT investment, requires balancing the risks against the rewards. This scale will tilt differently for every business depending on its internal priorities and the challenges of its internal IT. How do these numbers stack up for you?

Assessing the Cloud Risk Balance

There are a number of cloud risks you should consider, along with ways they can potentially be mitigated.

Risk: Security

For many businesses, the security of cloud remains a major concern. With data in a shared environment that isn’t completely under your control, there are new threats to data security.


There are threats to data security within your own data center. Many businesses lack security expertise on staff, and they are behind on basic security measures such as patch installation. In the cloud, you have the benefit of the cloud provider’s security team, and they handle much routine support and maintenance.


You can mitigate data security risks in the cloud by taking advantage of tools that help ensure a secure environment and authorized access to data. Many cloud providers have documented best practices and can analyze where your configurations don’t follow those suggestions. You can often implement your own security measures with firewalls, cloud access security brokers, and encryption. Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure.

Risk: Over-spending

Although cloud can be lower-cost than on premises infrastructure, it’s easy to spend more than expected. These unexpected expenses can come from higher demand than anticipated or through self-service, on-demand instantiation of new, unapproved services.


Although cloud spending figures can be substantial, they are generally nowhere near the scale of the capital expenditures associated with on premises infrastructure. In addition, on-demand cloud access gives you greater flexibility and agility than if you have to provision needed resources in your own data center.


Use tools to help you track changes in your cloud configuration so you can identify new instances and new services. Track utilization numbers and look for opportunities to consolidate. Automate money-saving policies such as shutting servers down at end of day. Learn more in 9 Ways to Get Cloud Costs Under Control.

Risk: Lack of control

Managing cloud resources is complex because there’s a loss of visibility, especially if you use multiple clouds. Until your team develops expertise in the cloud systems, you’ll also find management challenging simply due to lack of experience.


Controlling systems in your own data center is challenging, as well. And because the cloud provider handles many of the routine maintenance functions, you’ll have more time to devote to analyzing the data you access.


Use managed cloud services from CCS Technology Group to add expertise to your team. Our experts can help you select the right cloud, migrate your infrastructure, and provide the support needed to make sure your cloud continues to meet your business needs.

Those are just a few of the risk tradeoffs you’ll want to consider when you’re deciding whether to switch to cloud. Contact CCS Technology Group to learn about other risks and rewards to evaluate and to get help successfully switching to cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Provides Increased Flexibility In How You Use Cloud Services

One of the biggest advantages of cloud is how flexible it is. You have flexibility in how many resources you have. You have flexibility in the type of cloud you use: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, or Software as a Service. You have flexibility in whether your cloud is public or private. You even have the flexibility to combine a public and private cloud to create a hybrid cloud that offers the benefit of both.

Public and Private Clouds

A public cloud resides on shared infrastructure maintained and managed by a cloud provider. You don’t own any of the physical resources. Instead, you have on-demand access to virtual machines (VMs), storage, and services that run your workloads. While your VMs and data are secure, other cloud customers may have VMs and storage on the same underlying physical devices.

A private cloud gives you on-demand access to computing resources on physical infrastructure that’s used only by you. Typically companies implement private clouds in their own data centers to ensure highly sensitive data remains on premises and under their control, but cloud providers may also offer isolated environments that create a virtual private cloud. When the private cloud is in your own data center, you own the physical devices, so you still have to provision and support the capacity to meet both current and future demands.

Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid clouds have both a public and private cloud that share data and applications. In many cases, applications and data preferentially run in the private cloud, with public cloud resources leveraged to meet spikes in demand. As a result, companies retain control of sensitive data while still being able to access the infinite capacity of public cloud.

In some cases, a hybrid cloud integrates a Software as a Service offering with on premises resources. That approach is relatively straightforward and generally only possible when supported by the vendor.

In other cases, hybrid cloud requires integrating your own public cloud with your own private cloud. There are several aspects that make a hybrid cloud like this challenging to implement. First, a private cloud by itself is complex. Although you can leverage cloud software to provide on demand services, you need to provide and support the hardware. In a public cloud, the devices and maintenance are provided and supported by the cloud provider.

Two other challenging aspects are related: integrating the public and private cloud and ensuring security. There needs to be a mechanism to share data and access services across the clouds, usually via APIs. If you want to automatically leverage public cloud resources in response to increased demand, complex scripting may be required to successfully instantiate resources and direct demand to them. All of these touchpoints need to be secured to ensure that data remains safe in both clouds and in transit between them.

Is a hybrid cloud the right solution for your business? Deciding that requires carefully assessing your business needs and IT strategy. CCS Technology Group offers cloud services to match you with the right cloud solution. Contact us to learn more about leveraging public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud to meet your business goals.

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