Dave Carlson – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:18:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Dell EMC Services Podcasts Dave Carlson – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services clean episodic Dave Carlson – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services casey.may@emc.com casey.may@emc.com (Dave Carlson – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services) Dell EMC Services Podcasts Dave Carlson – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services /wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://infocus.dellemc.com Preparing Microsoft Applications for Transition to Cloud https://infocus.dellemc.com/dave_carlson/preparing-microsoft-applications-transition-cloud/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/dave_carlson/preparing-microsoft-applications-transition-cloud/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:16 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29174 In my last blog, I wrote about some things you’ll want to consider as you formulate and execute against your cloud strategy. We examined security, management and support issues, and custom and third-party application considerations. But there are 3 additional areas to look at that will impact your placement choices—on-premises, online with Office 365 or […]

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In my last blog, I wrote about some things you’ll want to consider as you formulate and execute against your cloud strategy. We examined security, management and support issues, and custom and third-party application considerations. But there are 3 additional areas to look at that will impact your placement choices—on-premises, online with Office 365 or a hybrid solution.

You have your choice of options. You may, as the majority of enterprise customers already have, choose a hybrid implementation. But there are things to consider in making the best placement decision.

More things to consider

Backup & Recovery. Access to critical data becomes an issue when that data is in the cloud, and there is uncertainty about RTO/RPO. Disaster recovery (DR) is another thing you’ll need to consider. While Office 365 has reasonably high uptime (99.9%), that’s not the same as having a DR plan in place. And what happens if you can’t access your cloud-based environment, and you need urgent access to email, SharePoint sites or content?

Hardware failures, natural disasters and, most commonly, simple human error can impact service availability. Natively, Office 365 doesn’t really perform daily backups of SharePoint or Exchange data. You’ll rely on the features within each product such as database availability groups, deleted item retention and single item recovery. If you require something more robust, consider a third-party product (for example, Spanning by Dell EMC)—especially if you need to keep a longer history of data.

By staying on-premises, you can just use existing backup tools. A hybrid environment may require multiple tools, but if you employ the right tools, you’ll be able to ensure the same levels of data protection you have now. Current RTO and RPO should drive the requirements. We encourage customers not to compromise on data protection and not to assume that data is safe simply because it is hosted. Whatever your strategy, plan to evaluate and standardize backup, high availability and DR capabilities consistently—whether online, on-premises or in a hybrid environment.

Functional Parity. On-premises features versus Office 365? In making this decision, consider functional parity. Although Microsoft has adopted a cloud-first strategy, there are functional differences between on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments. Don’t just look at user-facing services, but also consider how you will administer, manage, monitor and automate your environment.

Some features of SharePoint, such as BI and search, have different on-premises capabilities and features than those found in Office 365. In the last year Microsoft launched several new “Office 365 only” services that aren’t available on-premises (Delve, Office Graph, Office 365 Video, Groups, Yammer, and others).

The Skype for Business Online voice feature brings enterprise-grade communications to the cloud. Microsoft is keeping integration tight between cloud hosted and on-premises solutions. We can help you clearly understand these capabilities (and where there are gaps between cloud-based and on-premises solutions) that will help drive the decision on which architecture you adopt.

Migration. Third-party tools, program management and user experience all need to be taken into account. And don’t overlook change management and logistics, as these can be more challenging than the technology migration itself. Look at adding some experienced resources and structure to the project by tracking requirements, risks, and major decisions, as well as managing all of the related initiatives to successfully execute the entire project.

When moving email to the cloud, you are moving more than just messaging data. You are extending your corporate identity and that includes synchronization of your Active Directory using new tools such as Azure Active Directory or Active Directory Federation Services. Azure Active Directory Connect introduces new management agents that simplify complex multi-forest synchronization to a single Office 365 tenant—but this effort will likely require careful planning.

Migration path is also a major issue for SharePoint. You can’t just detach content databases and attach them to your Office 365 tenant. You’ll likely need third-party tools and site-by-site, one-at-a-time migration. Even if fully automated, there are limitations on how quickly you can migrate data, since migration events need to be planned based on application interdependencies. The solution requires a detailed understanding of each application and the value they provide to the business today. Each application should have a clearly defined disposition which may include: retain, modernize, retire, or migrate to the cloud. Our application profiling service is a great way to approach the application disposition issue.

In summary

Migration to Office 365 is here today and a topic of conversation for most organizations today. As you consider which model is best for the business and for each of your applications, you may find that moving to hybrid solutions best suits your needs at this point in time.

Just as deploying any new system on-premises requires planning and effort, expect the same with Office 365. Out-of-the-box capabilities may not be adequate. There is no “easy button” in either case. It’s like deploying a brand new infrastructure with brand new services that may be less flexible than you’re accustomed to. So consider what we’ve just discussed to better inform your decision and begin the journey.

There are no wrong choices, but there are many decisions. You’ll just need to be aware and be prepared to address the challenges you may face on any path you choose. This is where Dell EMC services for Microsoft can help.

Our Advisory for Microsoft Office 365 and related services provide a sound cloud foundation wherever you are in this journey. If you need help executing on your cloud vision, Dell EMC services does this work every day and can help you find the path to success quickly and easily.

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What Influences Your Cloud Strategy for Microsoft Apps? https://infocus.dellemc.com/dave_carlson/influences-cloud-strategy-microsoft-apps/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/dave_carlson/influences-cloud-strategy-microsoft-apps/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:55:57 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29176 For most organizations, some form of transition to cloud is inevitable. As you’re defining your cloud strategy, you’ll either choose to adopt, plan for future transition or justify why you’re not doing so. If you’ve decided that this is the time to modernize your messaging and collaboration environment, you’ll want to figure out which approach—on-premises, […]

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For most organizations, some form of transition to cloud is inevitable. As you’re defining your cloud strategy, you’ll either choose to adopt, plan for future transition or justify why you’re not doing so. If you’ve decided that this is the time to modernize your messaging and collaboration environment, you’ll want to figure out which approach—on-premises, Office 365, or a hybrid solution—is the right one to achieve your technology, business and organizational objectives.

Who is moving to the public cloud?

Many organizations still rely upon on-premises or hybrid cloud models. While the majority of companies have not yet fully adopted Office 365 for either messaging or collaboration, that will likely change over the next few years. In September 2016 Gartner stated public cloud adoption is expected to near 60% by 2022 (in the next 6 years).

Thankfully, cloud or on-premises is not an “either/or” decision—as the majority of enterprise customers will likely focus on a hybrid implementation. But there are things to consider as you make your placement decision.

Some Key Things to Consider

Security. Unauthorized access is a concern. Corporate email accounts are frequently targeted, and network security may not meet your corporate guidelines, putting HR and employee data at risk. Moving certain employee mailboxes online may work fine, but moving the mailboxes of corporate executives may still pose an unacceptable risk.

We help customers evaluate the basic security controls now available in Office 365 and compare them to your current on-premises solution. It’s not just about authentication of user mail data, but also perimeter security to protect against malware, phishing, ransomware and other threats that are more prevalent than ever today. At a minimum, the solution requires adoption of basic security best practices such as encrypted communication channels, password complexity requirements and multifactor or adaptive authentication solution. As our client organizations look at adopting management tools, monitoring solutions and cloud-access security brokers, Dell EMC consultants are there to help.

SharePoint ecosystems typically leverage rich employee profile data/metadata, typically sourced from Active Directory or an HR system. PII/PHI data is an issue, for example, because it’s so easy to share/upload information with SharePoint, it’s hard to completely prevent people from doing it. So you may not want to host that content in Office 365 because it isn’t encrypted end to end. This data is considered private/sensitive, and organizations often don’t want this data hosted in a public cloud. So the simple resolution is a hybrid cloud implementation, where sensitive data remains on-premises, while other, less sensitive data can be hosted in the cloud.

Management and Support. Lack of control is the issue here. Root cause analysis can be more challenging or beyond your control for cloud-based systems.

Your cloud vendor controls communications, escalations, which version you are using, when features get released (or removed) and when updates are deployed. While this is often a benefit, consider how this may impact critical workloads and other integrations with the platform. Since you don’t control the maintenance schedule, you’ll need to look at the impact on your change management protocol. This is another area where we work with customers to better manage the effect this will have on their systems.

Designing the administration roles and security controls using roles-based access control (RBAC) for each of the services can be a significant endeavor depending on the size and complexity of your organization. There are new day-to-day activities, such as provisioning and de-provisioning users in the cloud—not to mention, determining the appropriate license assignment. This is where a new ecosystem of third-party management tools can definitely save headaches and add value to your deployment. Dell EMC has a significant track record of helping organizations deal with issues like these.

Custom and third-party applications. Before moving anything to the cloud, remember to identify any necessary remediation or replacement of third-party tools which are currently deployed. This requires analysis and planning to ensure the appropriate tools are available in the target infrastructure.

Custom applications are definitely a consideration in your move to Office 365. There are many on-premises, mail-integrated applications that were either not intended for cloud deployment or may be expensive and complex to replace. So a hybrid deployment may provide the bridge you need.

Also, SharePoint is used to run most corporate intranets, which often have dozens of custom widgets and apps in them. Many of those will likely have to be rewritten for Office 365. Not only is that a significant effort, but companies are also concerned that they will lose the ability to customize the experience as much in Office 365 as they can on-premises. It’s critical to consider data sensitivity, control, and the ability to customize each of your applications. The solution is measure twice, cut once. We’ll help you evaluate tools that will facilitate the migration of content, files, associated metadata and permissions into SharePoint. A detailed migration plan will get you there, but only a comprehensive test plan will ensure success.

In Summary

Migration to Office 365 is here today and adoption is growing. But even though Microsoft now delivers many new features first in the cloud, the majority of companies we work with are moving to hybrid solutions.

So consider what we’ve just discussed to better inform your decision and begin the journey. This is where Dell EMC consultants can help. We’re working with customers every day to help them develop cloud strategies and address these and other complex migration issues.

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