The benefits of Windows Server cloud migration
Cloud migration is often the best option for financial services firms, despite the challenges involved. There are a few reasons why this is the case:
Security: When Windows Server is running in the Azure cloud, vulnerability management and security patching are handled directly by Microsoft. The response to security issues will be faster than what an MSP hosting Windows Server instances in their data center can offer. In addition, public cloud platforms like Azure provide detailed event logging and easy integration with SOC and SIEM platforms, allowing for improved cybersecurity monitoring, detection, and response.
Cost: Microsoft has been increasing the cost of on-premises software licensing while at the same time incentivizing users to migrate to the cloud. For many businesses, migrating their WS workloads to Azure will be far more cost-effective than remaining on-premises. In addition, using the on-premises version of Windows Server usually requires investment in expensive security software (e.g., access control software, threat detection solutions, and so forth). Azure, however, comes with built-in security that makes it unnecessary to buy additional software, thereby lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a Windows Server deployment.
Flexibility: Perhaps the biggest single benefit of migrating WS 2012 / 2012 R2 to Azure is flexibility. The public cloud is fundamentally a consumption-based model. There is no physical infrastructure to maintain, and no burden of fixed capital expenditures. Usage can be scaled up or down as needed—and computing power is never just sitting idle in an on-premises server or data center.
Cloud migration challenges for financial services businesses
Clearly, there are significant benefits to migrating Windows Server to the cloud. However, cloud migration isn’t a quick fix—and for financial companies in particular, there are some special challenges. Leaders in asset management, hedge funds, and private equity firms should not underestimate the challenges of cloud migration. Here are some things to consider:
The need for proper planning: Migrating Windows Server workloads for a financial business is not a “vanilla” IT task. There are numerous third-party and proprietary applications and integrations to consider: trade processing applications, risk analysis tools, calculation engines, and reporting software. Compliance requirements are high, tolerance for downtime is low, and non-technical users are responsible for huge amounts of money. Before attempting a cloud migration, firms need to enumerate, analyze, and assess their entire IT infrastructure very carefully; identify issues that might arise during the upgrade; and make full data and server backups as a contingency planning measure.
The importance of rigorous testing: The best-laid cloud migration plans can still go awry. For this reason, extensive pre-migration testing is needed to minimize the chances of compatibility issues (or other nasty surprises) during migration. If an investment business does not have a robust testing program in place—or the internal IT resources to develop one—outside help will likely be needed.
Specialization when working with an IT partner: Many businesses look to partner with an outside IT vendor when undertaking a cloud migration. However, this can be a challenge for financial services firms because of the unique nature of their server workloads. To be blunt, the vast majority of MSPs and cloud services providers lack the industry-specific expertise to deliver a seamless cloud migration for hedge funds, private equity firms, and other traditional or alternative asset managers.
One of the ancillary benefits of global digital transformation is that the IT vendor marketplace is richer than ever. There are now specialist technical services providers in almost every industry, financial services included.
At Linedata, we’ve helped numerous hedge funds, asset managers, alternative asset managers, and private equity firms succeed with their cloud migrations. Our Microsoft-certified engineers have years of experience in migrating investment businesses to the cloud—securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively.
Read more about Linedata Technology Services or contact us to learn how we can assist with your Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 migration.