I noticed that my previous blog article, describing the physical to virtual conversion for ConnectEdu, a Web-based leader in education management, has received many interesting responses. Thank you all for reading and sending feedback!
The replies were equally split between people wanting to know more details about internal IT migrations and external production environments. In this article I will describe my experience with internal migrations from physical to SAAS (software-as-a-service) environments, while in the next blog post I will focus on IAAS (infrastructure-as-a-service) migrations.
The process of transferring internal physical systems to SaaS started after endless conversations with various vendors, regarding the renewing maintenance agreements on hardware (including HP servers, Blades, EMC Clarion, MS Exchange, and MS SharePoint). Also, I had to keep in mind costing out additional VMware licensing for our internal virtualized servers, which went from CPU to core pricing.
After these conversations I realized I have had enough. I came to the conclusion that we needed to concentrate our technology efforts in creating the best software our company could deliver and not be in the IT business.
After a few calculations I quickly realized that by migrating completely to SaaS I could achieve ROI in as little as 10 months and eliminate more than 50 servers. This process would allow me to stop worrying about internal hardware, software, or IT costs.
What did we need to do?
- Transfer MS Exchange and MS SharePoint to an outsourced exchange provider (this was actually the most difficult part of process).
- Move desktop backup to SaaS partner.
- Convert the accounting system to SaaS (I actually did not need to be involved in this process, as it was handled exclusively by the CFO and his team).
- Add 100 megabytes of fiber and a redundant network connection.
- VMware instances were placed, with our specialized internal applications, on our external cloud environment. The cost of not upgrading VMware internally paid for these managed virtualized servers!
A year later I can tell you that I’m able to sleep very well at night. With redundant data pipes from two different vendors, and redundant T1′s for our SAAS based phone system, security is now much tighter with no onsite data and access locked down by firewalls and VPN connections.
Currently, all applications are hosted in SAS Level II facilities. We transformed the capital expenses to operational expenses down to a monthly employee level and now our ongoing monthly saving is more than 40%!