How migrating Microsoft workloads to AWS enables SMB customers to optimize costs

Feb 27, 2024 | Articles

During a time of economic uncertainty and rapid change, many small and medium-sized

businesses (SMBs) face the challenge of rationalizing unnecessary business costs while

increasing the performance, availability, and security of their Microsoft workloads to remain

competitive.

 

By adopting a cloud-based approach to running Microsoft workloads, SMB customers can

enjoy the benefits of a more modern and flexible IT environment, including reduced costs,

improved innovation, and enhanced capabilities for digital transformation.

 

This article examines the reasons why many SMB customers are migrating Microsoft

workloads to the cloud and the benefits of running Microsoft workloads on AWS.

 

Why are organizations moving Microsoft workloads to the cloud?

 

With rising costs and economic instability, SMB customers are under great pressure to

optimize operations and reduce unnecessary business expenses. This is especially true as

SMB customers look to navigate the uncertainty of the post-pandemic world. One study has

found that over 61% of mid-sized business leaders cite uncertain economic conditions as

their top challenge for 2021.1 With the rising cost of Microsoft licenses and the significant

cost burden of running legacy IT infrastructure, migrating workloads to the cloud has

provided organizations with a more cost-effective way to run their Windows-based

applications.

 

While organizations continue to focus on reducing costs, this must be done without

undermining businesses’ ability to continue to grow and remain responsive to competitors

and changing customer demands. As digital transformation accelerates across nearly every

industry, customers are increasingly demanding new digital interactions, services, and

products. If organizations are unable to provide this, they risk losing customers to more

digitally advanced competitors. Being able to remain competitive, drive innovation, and

accelerate digital transformation have been key drivers for many SMB customers that have

migrated their Microsoft workloads to the cloud.

 

What are the benefits of migrating Microsoft workloads to AWS?

 

There are many advantages to cloud migration for SMB customers. A recent whitepaper by

IDC shows that migrating your workloads to AWS can lead to 51% reduced operational

costs, 62% increased IT staff productivity, and 94% reductions in downtime.

 

The benefits of migrating Microsoft workloads to AWS include:

 

Reduced operational costs

 

The cost of purchasing and maintaining on-premises equipment to run Windows workloads

and Windows-based applications is expensive and provides less flexibility over license fees

and usage. Which is why many SMB customers have already made the decision to migrate

Microsoft workloads to the cloud.

 

By migrating Microsoft workloads to AWS, you can lower the overall costs of running

Windows-based applications in the cloud. AWS offers a comprehensive family of Amazon

Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, and unique pricing models, like Spot

Instances, that enable customers to save up to 90% on their Windows computing costs.

 

SMB customers can also reduce costs through reducing TCO and infrastructure overheads

needed to purchase and run on-premises equipment. Instead, with flexible pay-as-you-go

payment options and bring-your-own licenses to AWS, SMB customers can enjoy more

flexibility, control, and visibility over their license usage and costs.

 

By taking advantage of the cost-saving opportunities of running Microsoft workloads in the

cloud, SMB customers are able to free up capital for reinvesting back into the business so

that they can continue to modernize their infrastructure and improve competitiveness for the

longer term.

Aligned Technology Group and KSS

 

Knowledge Sharing Systems (KSS) was spun out of NASA in 1997, their clientele includes many of the

leading research institutions worldwide. Their software products, IT services and consulting for research

contract management and technology transfer differentiate them in the market. Their signature product,

KSS TechTracS®, is a modular system that enables an organization to manage its entire innovation

supply chain – from ideation to research project management to technology and intellectual property

management and spin off companies. 

KSS was delivering a solution to clients leveraging technology solutions from a well-known VDI provider

and was looking to modernize to cloud. Their initial push to cloud started with a national technology

partner that supports AWS and other cloud platforms in a proof-of-concept project. While the

engagement was partially successful, KSS turned to Aligned TG to as a true partner to help them get

scale-up and implement the AWS solution across their customer base 

Aligned worked with KSS to review the existing implementation and deployment resources delivered by

the previous cloud services vendor. After providing advisory services, our team built an automated

deployment package leveraging Terraform to support a comprehensive solution with the proper

architecture and security resources. The Aligned team worked with the customer to validate functionality

of the newly created environment. The team also provides additional on-going services and support for

AWS platform updates and changes under our elastic engineering offering. 

 

Our Engagement 

  • Elastic Engineering 
  • AWS Professional Services 
  • Service Deployment 
  • Terraform DevOps Delivery 
  • Microsoft Windows on EC2 

 

Enhanced security and compliance

The internet security landscape and cybersecurity threats are continually evolving, with

outside parties looking to gain unauthorized access to data. SMB customers, therefore, need

to remain resilient and improve their capacity to protect, detect, respond, and recover from

data breaches.

 

Unfortunately, on-premises infrastructure provides weaker protection for customer data used

in business-critical Microsoft workloads like SQL Server, Windows Server, .NET solutions,

and Active Directory.Adding to the security challenges that customers face, Microsoft has critically

ended its support for Windows Server (WS) 2008 and WS 2008 R2. SMB customers still running these

Microsoft workloads will be susceptible to increased security vulnerabilities and compliance

issues.

AWS offers 230 security, compliance, and governance services, so by migrating their

Microsoft workloads to AWS, SMB customers can gain control over their applications to help

secure their Microsoft workloads. AWS also helps customers overcome their end-of-support

security risks through the AWS End-of-Support Migration Program (EMP), assisting

businesses to migrate legacy applications from outdated Windows Server versions to newer

supported versions.

 

Improved flexibility

Windows-based applications are the bedrock for most organizations, with applications and

data being accessed frequently by a large number of users across the business. However,

for many organizations that still run their Windows-based applications on on-premises

infrastructure, they are restricted by its centralized, inflexible nature.

One of the implications of running Microsoft workloads on-premises includes a reduced

agility for the business to scale quickly in response to changing business and customer

needs. For Microsoft workloads that are run on centralized infrastructure, this impacts

responsiveness and user productivity, as networks don’t have the capability to support users

across the business all trying to access centralized applications and Microsoft workloads

during peak times.

 

By migrating Windows-based applications to AWS, SMB customers can increase their

flexibility by adding computer, storage, or database resources at a moment’s notice, so that

users have access to data and applications whenever they need them. One study has found

that 37% of businesses that move to the cloud state that they do so to increase flexibility.

 

Better opportunities for innovation

With customer demand for new innovative products and online services and interactions

growing —with 67% of customers expecting companies to provide new products and

services more frequently than before — SMB customers must improve their ability to

support new online capabilities, products, and services.

For organizations that decide to run their Microsoft workloads in the cloud, they can gain

immediate access to a range of digital technologies, smarter data, and analytical capabilities

to drive innovation and support new product and application development.

By migrating Microsoft workloads to AWS, SMB customers are supported to innovate by

building and modernizing their .NET applications. AWS App2Container helps customers

transform their applications from virtual machines into containers and deploy them to

Amazon ECS. Doing so helps organizations transform their legacy applications and enjoy

the flexibility and agility that cloud-native technologies provide.

 

How to realize the cost-saving opportunities of migrating workloads

For organizations that make the decision to migrate workloads to the cloud, this requires

detailed planning, an awareness of the current environment, and strategic alignment of the

business’s future goals.

 

As SMB customers are evaluating their options for migrating to the cloud or reducing

licensing costs, they can take advantage of an AWS Optimization and Licensing

Assessment (AWS OLA). The AWS OLA is a free program for new and existing customers to

assess and optimize current on-premises and cloud environments, based on actual resource

utilization, third-party licensing, and application dependencies.

SMB customers can use the AWS OLA to help build their migration and licensing strategy on

AWS and explore the potential savings and agility of the AWS Cloud.

 

Conclusion

While some businesses have already embraced the need for change and made big strides,

others are just starting their journey. For SMB customers that want to remain competitive,

they need a modern and flexible IT environment for running their Microsoft workloads so that

they can reduce costs, respond quickly to changing customer demands, drive innovation,

and enhance their security capabilities.

 

By running Microsoft workloads on AWS, SMB customers can optimize costs and improve

the performance, availability, and security of their workloads. Once migrated, AWS provides

a platform for SMB customers to unlock greater innovation and further modernize their

infrastructure and applications to realize continued cost-saving opportunities.

To discover how Aligned Technology Group can enable SMB customers to optimize costs by migrating

their Microsoft workloads to AWS, download our eBook today.

Cost Optimization

Issue: Small AWS deployment with little management oversight and a lack of cloud skills internal to the organization moving from traditional infrastructure to SaaS and cloud based solutions.

 

What we did

  1. AWS Audit
  2. Cost Optimization Review
  3. Ongoing Monitoring

 

Result:

  • Eliminated unused storage volumes and the old application server no longer in use, the charges for AWS resulted in a savings of 51% per month.
  • We’ll continue to monitor AWS billing and finance to ensure maintenance of savings and identify other future changes.

Cost Optimization

Issue: Small AWS deployment with little management oversight and a lack of cloud skills internal to the organization moving from traditional infrastructure to SaaS and cloud based solutions.

 

What we did

  1. AWS Audit
  2. Cost Optimization Review
  3. Ongoing Monitoring

 

Result:

  • Eliminated unused storage volumes and the old application server no longer in use, the charges for AWS resulted in a savings of 51% per month.
  • We’ll continue to monitor AWS billing and finance to ensure maintenance of savings and identify other future changes.