Top 7 examples of moving from in-house servers to cloud computing

When contemplating a shift to cloud computing, businesses must grasp that while cloud platforms offer significant advantages, they also present notable challenges. These include enhancing availability and reducing latency, orchestrating auto-scaling, navigating complex connections, streamlining development processes for scalability, and tackling security concerns in the cloud.

Despite the assistance of advancements like virtualization and containerization (such as Docker and Kubernetes), migrating to the cloud remains a complex endeavor. Bearing this in mind, Suncloud has curated seven real-world case studies of cloud migration aimed at providing valuable insights for your business’s journey.

1. Spotify’s Journey from Physical Servers to Cloud Computing

Founded in 2006, Spotify has become a leading audio streaming service that enables users to find, listen to, and share music and podcasts.

– Purpose of Migration

The leadership and technical team at Spotify recognized that their extensive on-premise data centers were cumbersome to manage and did not align with their mission to offer the premier music service globally. The decision was made to shift towards Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in 2015 with the intent to allow the engineering team to concentrate on creating innovative features, aiming to streamline the transition and reduce the costs and complexities associated with a hybrid model.

– Insights Gained
  • Securing support from key stakeholders was imperative. Spotify engaged its engineers early in the process, ensuring they understood and supported the future vision, turning them into enthusiastic supporters.
  • The planning phase was meticulously approached. Spotify’s migration team devoted substantial time to exploring various cloud strategies, developing a strong case for the benefits of cloud computing for the organization. They meticulously outlined all dependencies and collaborated closely with Google to pinpoint the optimal cloud strategies and tools.
  • Commitment and thorough planning were instrumental in success. The migration team’s unwavering focus ensured the project remained on course, leveraging insights and lessons from the process. Thanks to the engineering teams dedicating their efforts to the migration, they accomplished it swiftly, minimizing any impact on ongoing product development.

2. GitLab’s Transition from One Cloud Provider to Another

Founded in 2011, GitLab is at the forefront of providing a comprehensive application that facilitates the entire DevOps lifecycle for over 100,000 organizations globally.

– Purpose of Migration

At its core, GitLab’s application allows software development teams to work together seamlessly, eliminating delays and improving efficiency. The objective was to enhance the platform’s performance and reliability to speed up development processes and make them more streamlined and error-resistant. Although Microsoft Azure had been a satisfactory cloud service provider, GitLab saw Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) Kubernetes as a pivotal technology for achieving scalability and reliability.

– Insights Gained
  • The move towards containerization is regarded as a significant step forward for DevOps. GitLab was clear in its belief that Kubernetes represents the future, citing its advantages such as reduced operational size, consistency, and the flexibility to scale operations dynamically. This cloud-to-cloud migration simplifies for GitLab users the process of adopting Kubernetes in their DevOps practices.
  • One of the standout benefits of transitioning to a new cloud platform is the potential for enhanced stability and uptime. For GitLab, the frequency of outages dramatically decreased from an average of once every 1.3 days to once every 12 days, excluding the initial day following the migration. Moreover, weekly downtime was reduced significantly from an average of 32 minutes to just 5 minutes post-migration.

3. Shopify’s Shift Between Cloud Environments

Established in 2006, Shopify offers a comprehensive e-commerce software platform that enables businesses to create and manage their online storefronts and retail point-of-sale systems effectively.

– Purpose of Migration

Shopify aimed to leverage the most efficient tools available to accommodate their growth and the rising demands of their customers. Although the company was originally cloud-based, utilizing its own data centers for their e-commerce cloud, they aimed to embrace the advantages of a container-based cloud infrastructure. This approach focuses on creating an immutable infrastructure to enhance customer support. They aimed to achieve consistent and repeatable build and deployment processes, simplify rollback procedures, and prevent configuration management discrepancies.

– Insights Gained
  • The concept of immutable infrastructure significantly refines deployment processes. By ensuring cloud servers remain unchanged after deployment, it eliminates the risk of configuration drift—where undocumented server changes lead to inconsistencies with the initial setup. As a result, deployment processes become more straightforward, reliable, and uniform.
  • Scalability is crucial for adapting to the dynamic nature of e-commerce. Shopify, which powers high-demand online stores like Kylie Cosmetics known for rapid sell-out flash sales, benefited from the migration by enhancing its server capacity to adapt to varying demands efficiently. This ensures seamless and uninterrupted commerce transactions, even during peak traffic periods.

4. Waze’s Transition to a Hybrid Cloud Model

Founded in 2006 and later becoming a part of Google in 2013, Waze is a navigation app that enhances route planning with real-time user data and community reports.

– Purpose of Migration

Initially adopting cloud technology early in its development, Waze experienced rapid growth that soon led to operational challenges, including problematic rollbacks and bottlenecks. The goal was to provide quicker feedback to users and address these production issues effectively.

– Insights Gained
  • Adopting a multi-cloud approach can be more suitable for certain business needs. The effectiveness of cloud strategies varies with each case. For Waze, ensuring continuous operation without outages, implementing swift bug fixes, and maintaining a resilient production environment were critical. Utilizing a dual-cloud infrastructure facilitated these objectives.
  • Engineering teams can excel without needing in-depth cloud expertise. Tools like Spinnaker have simplified multi-cloud management for Waze, allowing its developers to concentrate on their primary roles instead of mastering cloud technologies.
  • Frequent software deployments do not necessarily compromise stability or reliability. Through continuous delivery, it’s possible to accelerate time-to-market while enhancing product quality and minimizing both risks and costs.

5. Betabrand’s Shift from Physical Servers to Cloud Infrastructure

Founded in 2005, Betabrand is a unique player in the e-commerce space, specializing in crowd-funded and crowd-sourced fashion. The company is known for its innovative approach to designing, manufacturing, and offering limited-edition clothing through its online platform.

– Purpose of Migration

Betabrand faced significant challenges with its original physical server setup, including maintenance woes and an inability to scale efficiently. The process to expand capacity was cumbersome, leading to increased costs and operational delays, particularly during spikes in web traffic.

– Insights Gained
  • Careful preparation makes cloud transition manageable. Betabrand’s journey from an on-premises setup to a cloud-based model in 2017 was executed with minimal disruption, thanks to strategic planning. This involved setting up multiple clusters in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and conducting trial migrations to ensure a flawless transition.
  • Enhancing load testing with cloud capabilities. The move to cloud enabled Betabrand to simulate its production environment for stress testing, uncovering and addressing performance bottlenecks that become apparent under heavy traffic conditions—allowing for optimizations before critical sales events like Black Friday.
  • Automated scaling ensures customer satisfaction. Transitioning to a cloud-based infrastructure was a strategic decision for Betabrand to accommodate its growth without sacrificing service quality. Automatic scaling capabilities of their cloud setup played a pivotal role in maintaining seamless service, thereby boosting customer satisfaction. This highlights the essential role of cloud computing in the scalability and agility of businesses such as Betabrand.

6. Cordant Group’s Shift from Traditional to Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure

Established in 1957, the Cordant Group is a diverse social enterprise offering services across sectors like recruitment, security, cleaning, healthcare, and technical electrical solutions.

– Purpose of Migration

As the Cordant Group expanded, it necessitated a more scalable IT infrastructure to back its broad spectrum of services. The shift from capital expenditure (CapEx) to operational expenditure (OpEx) highlighted the attractiveness of the cloud’s flexible payment structures. Ensuring user-friendliness and reliable data backup also became pivotal considerations.

– Insights Gained
  • The specific requirements of a business and its users shape its cloud computing strategy. For the Cordant Group, the need to provide rapid access to essential files for a varied user base brought to light the necessity of reevaluating their cloud approach, with a focus on usability.
  • The value derived from cloud computing is determined by an organization’s approach to measuring return on investment (ROI). For the Cordant Group, adopting cloud solutions became increasingly beneficial as the focus shifted towards operational costs, underlining the critical role cloud computing plays in meeting specific organizational goals.

7. Dropbox: Transitioning from Pure Cloud to a Hybrid Model

Founded in 2007, Dropbox offers cloud-based services for file storage and synchronization to its users.

– Purpose of Migration

Initially, Dropbox utilized Amazon S3 for data storage while keeping metadata on-premise. However, concerns grew over their increasing reliance on Amazon, particularly as service costs escalated and Amazon began developing a competing service, Amazon WorkDocs. To cut expenses, gain greater autonomy, and preserve their market position, Dropbox decided to move a portion of their storage operations in-house.

– Insights Gained
  • Maintaining an on-premise setup may be beneficial for certain organizations. Dropbox’s service quality hinges on quick, dependable access to data, necessitating the balance of high performance against cost efficiency. Transitioning to an in-house model demanded significant resources but promised better performance and cost savings in the long term. This shift compelled Dropbox to reassess the role and value of cloud computing within their operational framework.
  • The scale of operation influences infrastructure decisions. As highlighted by Wired, the economics of cloud services include inherent profit margins for providers. For a large entity like Dropbox, creating a substantial private network might justify the challenges and investment involved. However, this approach carries substantial risks for smaller companies or those with uncertain growth prospects, underlining the importance of scale in such strategic decisions.
Finding Your Perfect Cloud Migration Path: A Personalized Guide

Embarking on a cloud migration journey is like navigating a vast sea of possibilities. Each business voyage is unique, shaped by its distinct goals, challenges, and aspirations. Through the lens of seven diverse case studies, we’ve seen that the route to the cloud is anything but uniform. To chart the course that’s best for your enterprise, consider these navigational beacons:

  • Objectives: What are you aiming to achieve with your migration? How does your company evaluate ROI? What challenges do you hope to address through your cloud strategy?
  • Business Model: Where does your company currently stand? How do core products/services and user needs interact with data storage and access? What are the key development, deployment, and operational challenges? What drives costs within your organization? How critical are stability and availability to your operations? Is downtime a viable risk?
  • Security Demands: What are your specific needs regarding data security, privacy, compliance, and access management? Which cloud-related security issues could potentially impact your business?
  • Scalability Requirements: How much do your operational needs vary? Are you planning for growth or downsizing?
  • Disaster Recovery and Continuity Planning: What strategies do you have for major or minor service disruptions?
  • Technical Capabilities: What expertise is necessary for your core operations? What skills does your team currently possess, and are they being allocated effectively?
  • Team Engagement: How much time and effort can your team devote to migration activities?
  • Timeline Considerations: What are the time-sensitive aspects of your business that may affect your migration plan? What essential operations must continue without interruption, and how long can you afford to spend on planning and executing your strategy?

As you ponder these questions, remember, the journey to the cloud is as much about understanding where you’re coming from as it is about where you’re heading.

Ready for an Adventure with Sparknet Innovation?

At Sparknet Innovation, we see ourselves as your navigators in the vast sea of digital transformation. Our mission is to deliver not just technology solutions within the Sparknet Innovation ecosystem but to craft journeys that resonate deeply with your unique business story. We’re here to understand the nuances of your voyage, tackle challenges head-on, and help you navigate toward a future brimming with possibilities. Every solution we provide is a compass point guiding you closer to your goals, always beginning with your vision, your needs, and your aspirations at heart. Let’s set sail together.