Real-World Advice for Executing Successful Oracle on AWS Migrations
While a lot of organizations made the move to the cloud during the digital transformation boom over the past few years, many remain at a crossroads. They realize the powerful benefits of the public cloud and want to make the move, but they are so worried about the impact migrating complex, mission-critical workloads could have on business operations that they have yet to act.
If this dilemma hits home, know that you’re not alone—and your concerns are understandable. Moving workloads that essentially run your business is a daunting prospect. But, it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, it’s entirely possible to develop a plan that ensures minimal risk and migration success. To demonstrate how and alleviate migration concerns, we recently participated in a webinar with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and our customer EDF UK, one of the largest providers of power to U.K. businesses, that focused on executing successful a Oracle on AWS migration. In this blog post, we’ll share highlights from that conversation, including reasons companies want to move to the cloud, common migration concerns, strategies for a successful migration, and a real-world Oracle-to-AWS migration example from EDF UK.
Driving Factors for IT Modernization
Companies can procrastinate for only so long before they come to a fork in the road that forces them to make a business-changing decision: continue to invest in on-premises technology or migrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and accompanying workloads to the public cloud.
On our recent webinar, “Oracle on AWS: How to Successfully Migrate Mission-Critical Workloads,” Tom Camarro, VP of Solution Architecture at Navisite, part of Accenture, discussed a few common scenarios that put companies at this crossroads:
- They are battling a resource shortage in-house and don’t have the personnel to devote to managing and maintaining the on-premises environment.
- They need more capacity to grow and have to decide whether to invest in additional hardware or leverage the scalability of the cloud.
- The company needs to right-size due to an acquisition or divestiture.
- Hardware is facing end-of-life, or service and support contracts are expiring, and they need to evaluate whether or not to continue investing in an on-premises strategy.
- Software needs to be upgraded, which also requires an upgrade of the operating system and hardware.
- Technical debt is piling up.
- The company wants to modernize to stay competitive.
With the public cloud offering such powerful business benefits (scalability, flexibility and cost savings, to name a few), what is holding companies back from making the leap when they come to this inevitable fork in the road? In our work with customers, we often see two main reasons: 1) because ERP systems and mission-critical workloads are tied to revenue-generating processes, companies fear even the slightest hiccup in the migration process will significantly impact business operations, and 2) they have lingering doubts that the new cloud environment will be able to meet existing performance criteria and other IT and business objectives.
Mark Teuton, senior manager of business solutions at EDF (UK), gets it. He noted on the webinar that trying to maintain business stability and business continuity while moving heavy workloads and mission-critical activities to a modern architecture often are at conflict—and this was a concern for his company. But, with the help of Navisite and AWS, they were able to successfully migrate with no impact on the business (more on this later).
How to Develop an Oracle on AWS Migration Strategy that Ensures Success
To develop a strategy that ensures migration success and an optimal cloud environment that meets IT and business objectives, Camarro said the first step is understanding that when you move mission-critical workloads, you’re not just migrating a few computers in a lift-and-shift fashion. You have to consider how the entire ERP system will be affected, including the complex interactions between databases and applications, as well as the integrations with external systems.
Navisite understands how Oracle hardware, workloads and ERPs work and knows the intricacies and requirements of moving them successfully. In addition to the company’s expertise, Camarro also talked about Navisite’s five-iteration approach to helping companies define a roadmap that ensures Oracle workloads are moved completely and with full data integrity:
- Technical preview: The first phase previews desired technology on AWS to demonstrate to stakeholders that the existing ERP and workloads can be rearchitected for a modern infrastructure.
- Systems and integration testing: From there, Navisite works with companies to assess interfaces and the technical aspects of the migration, to ensure everything is working as it should.
- User acceptance testing: Next, Navisite asks end users to go into the new environment and test it to verify the user experience and workload performance times are consistent with on-premises usage.
- Operational testing: Navisite works on operations activities, such as cloning, backups and other processes important to an ERP environment, to make sure they are using all the AWS tools available to run as efficiently as possible.
- Cutover: The final phase takes the new ERP system and moves it into production. Post migration, Navisite provides continual support to make sure everything is working optimally.
The end goal of this five-iteration process is to alleviate migration concerns by proving to stakeholders across the business that the new ERP environment can work on the cloud and continue to meet performance and other IT and business objectives.
From a best practices perspective, both Camarro and Teuton agreed that one of the most important things you can do to achieve a successful migration is identify the key workloads that your team might be worried about and set metrics around them. If you set goals up front, you can focus your testing, performance tuning and optimization efforts around those workloads to meet desired objectives.
Camarro also noted cleaning up data and systems prior to a migration, getting rid of on-premises thinking by starting small and growing into what you need, and taking advantage of the AWS tools available to you all can contribute to a seamless migration. Teuton underscored the importance of establishing metrics by noting that creating proof points and conducting proof of concepts prior to migration can help support your technological choices and give your company confidence that the cloud environment will meet established goals.
Customer Success Spotlight: How EDF UK Successfully Navigated an Oracle on AWS Migration
The best evidence that Oracle-to-AWS migrations can be done seamlessly and with minimal business impact is presented by companies that have successfully executed such projects. And, on the webinar, Teuton shared EDF UK’s story. Here’s a snapshot of what he discussed:
- Project Goals: Teuton noted that the mission-critical Oracle workloads supporting the B2B unit within EDF UK were running in an on-premises environment that was at capacity and nearing end of life. The company had to decide whether to refresh their on-premises footprint or move to the cloud—eventually choosing the latter for a number of reasons. First, EDF UK’s B2B unit is in growth mode, and it needed an IT foundation that would guarantee high performance, scalability and reliability. Second, the company needed to get rid of the technical debt accumulated by its on-premises implementation. And last but not least, it needed to align with a broader company-wide initiative focused on cloud-first IT strategies.
- Migration Challenges: Given the vital nature of the Oracle workloads on the B2B unit’s daily operations and revenue, Teuton said ensuring there would be minimal disruption throughout the migration was paramount. He also noted that, within EDF UK, there were varying viewpoints as to whether the public cloud was the right direction for the Oracle stack and whether workloads would be able to meet existing performance requirements and stakeholder objectives on AWS. According to Teuton, key to addressing these concerns was taking more time upfront to look at the array of services available in AWS and do more thinking with AWS and Navisite to make the right choices for the migration activity.
- Migration Partner: For help overcoming these concerns and challenges, EDF UK partnered with Navisite. Teuton said the company was looking for expertise and experience moving Oracle workloads to the cloud, as well as a partner that would challenge their traditional way of thinking—and Navisite checked all the boxes. He said Navisite brought technical prowess and knowledge around getting the most out of the AWS platform, while remaining conscientious of EDF UK’s technical and business requirements.
- Migration Execution: Following the five-step iteration process, including lots of testing and proof of concepts, Navisite helped EDF UK execute a successful Oracle-to-AWS migration. According to Teuton, Navisite moved 15 terabytes of data—which housed 9 billion records—from the existing on-premises environment to AWS in less than 24 hours. Teuton believes testing was especially key in the migration process because it helped his team prove out functionality, audit and reconciliation to give stakeholders confidence that the migration would benefit their needs.
Following the successful migration to AWS, EDF UK realized a myriad of transformational business benefits, including:
- Reduced operational IT risk: The entire Oracle stack is now supported, patched and updated regularly, and has a semi-automated deployment process.
- Scalable architecture: EDF UK now benefits from inherit burst capabilities, which lay the foundation for growth.
- Reduced IT costs: The overall cost of running the Oracle stack is now 40% lower than it was when housed on-premises.
- Improved performance: Not only are operations reliable, but some are faster – including the unit’s invoicing process, which has seen a 25% uptick in speed.
- Continual optimization: Now that the B2B unit is live on AWS, the team can focus on leveraging the investment for new revenue streams.
- Reallocated resources: Teuton noted that his team no longer has to spend the majority of their time just trying to keep the lights on; they now can focus on delivering solutions that better serve their customer base.
- Alignment with broader IT strategy: AWS helps the B2B unit meet broader company goals to take a cloud-first approach and achieve a sustainable and net-zero future for Great Britain. According to Teuton, “We are using technology choices to help contribute to that net-zero ambition that we have. The modern architecture that we can take from AWS does really help us with that.”
To learn more about the ins and outs of Oracle-to-AWS migrations, watch our recent webinar, “Oracle on AWS: How to Successfully Migrate Mission-Critical Workloads.” To hear more about EDF UK’s success story, read the case study here.