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Firm Says Configuration Management Key to Cloud Migrations

According to Logicworks, configuration management is key to understanding what a "good" AWS implementation is, which removes the main obstacle to cloud migrations.

"The No. 1 reason we see AWS migration projects stall is not because of a lack of talent or even lack of planning, it is simply that there is no clear vision for what a 'good' AWS environment looks like for their specific complex workloads," the company said in a recent blog post. "There is no common yardstick for assessing current environments and no template for building new ones -- and this uncertainty is the true root cause of downstream security or performance concerns."

The company said enterprise IT teams tasked with migrating to the AWS cloud need guidance on meeting agreed-upon standards in areas such as server configurations, monitoring and management.

"This is where IT meets its first obstacle: they must develop a common baseline for security, availability and auditability that everyone agrees to," Logicworks said. "They need to develop 'minimum viable cloud configurations.' For instance: MFA on root, everything in a VPC, CloudTrail enabled everywhere, etc."

Once standards are met, they should be incorporated into templates and enforced via configuration management, the company said. For example, once security standards are agreed upon, a security template should be created to provide ideal security configurations, and that template should be maintained for future migrations instead of having to create custom ad hoc configurations for every new project.

To help with these chores, the company offers a Cloud Migration Service -- one of many such offerings provided by AWS itself (such as AWS Database Migration Service and AWS Application Discovery Service) and third parties -- which provides discovery, gap analysis and report and remediation services.

Gap analysis, for example, is conducted to assess factors such as technical configurations, governance standards, availability and staffing in order to identify key areas that could be challenging in existing and future projects.

To do that, the Logicworks service provides an 89-point assessment tool for gap analysis to examine an existing environment and compare it with a list of industry standards and Logicworks best practices. In areas where a project falls short of these standards, a suggestion for remediation is provided.

"If you are planning for an AWS migration, the No. 1 thing you should do right now is implement configuration management (CM) in your current systems," the company said in conclusion. "As outlined above, implementing CM means you have to a) come up with the right standards and b) 'code' them into a centralized place. This is the hard part. Once you do this, migrating to AWS is much easier because you know what 'good' looks like."

Of course, companies may not have enough time or resources to do such configuration management themselves, so Logicworks said it would be easier to hire a consulting company that provides a common set of standards and a well-developed CM framework, like, for example, Logicworks.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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