Frequently Asked Questions
Will Cloud Solutions Meet My Business Needs?
Here are some points to consider to help you determine whether moving to the cloud will meet your needs.
Toggle ItemWhat is the cloud? Why should I use it?
"The cloud" refers to servers that are accessed over the internet, and the software and databases that run on those servers. These servers are managed by cloud providers who then "rent" them to their customers. The cloud has many unique advantages such as easy scalability, data resilience from geographically spread systems, disaster recovery, cost efficiency, and certain fully managed services. Instead of accessing files and data from a local or personal computer, you are accessing them online from any Internet-capable device. Some common examples of applications that use the cloud are Office 365, Dropbox, Amazon Alexa, etc.
Toggle ItemHow do I get started in the cloud?
Toggle ItemWho pays for cloud services? Will I be charged for cloud consultations and support?
OIT will NOT charge you for any consultation or account management. You are however responsible to pay for the resources you use in the cloud. By creating your AWS account through OIT’s Cloud Office, you will get:
- Our 11% enterprise discount on all AWS resources, including phone/chat support
- Up to 45% discount on AWS compute resources (EC2, Lambda, Fargate, etc.)
- Free access to OIT Cloud Office training library
- Departmental billing codes so you don’t have to pay for AWS with a credit card
Toggle ItemWhy does OIT Cloud Office recommend AWS as my cloud provider? Can I use Azure, Google, or IBM?
OIT Cloud Office strongly recommends that you use AWS as your cloud solutions provider to best leverage cloud capabilities; however, you may use different cloud providers such as Azure, Google, or IBM. We have been building and improving our cloud architecture in AWS ever since CES originally adopted the “Cloud First” mindset. There are currently over 30 AWS certified engineers that are proficient in AWS and able to assist with your cloud needs. At OIT Cloud Office we implement the cloud Well-Architected Framework to achieve the highest level of performance, reliability, security, cost optimization, and operational excellence in the cloud. You may choose any cloud provider, but using AWS will provide you with the most resources to utilize cloud technology successfully.
For more information regarding cloud providers and finding the most appropriate cloud solutions, please contact the Cloud Office
Toggle ItemHow can I best migrate to the cloud?
When migrating to the cloud, it is important to find the best solution for your use case. See our Migration Flow Chart to better understand OIT Cloud Office's suggested migration strategies, and how to pick one that will match your situation.
AWS offers multiple migration tools and services to best meet your needs. Some of the commonly used services include AWS Database Migration Service, AWS Server Migration Service, and AWS Snowball which is a petabyte-scale data transport solution.
For more information about your migration to the cloud, please contact the Cloud Office.
Toggle ItemWill it really cost me less to use the cloud? How will costs compare to on-premise solutions?
It depends. Most of the time a cloud application will cost the university less to maintain, but be aware that the time and resources needed to migrate are start-up costs. If you are building from scratch or need to refactor anyway, certainly consider using the cloud. Building to fully utilize cloud features (such as with a microservice or serverless architecture) will have a learning curve, but yields incredible savings in the long term. Here are some cloud cost-saving features:
- Pay-as-you-go pricing model allows you to pay for only the resources you need when you need them. This helps avoid risks from forecasting or unforeseen changes.
- Pay for what you use. Cloud solutions allow you to customize storage space and computing power, and then automatically scales capacity based on actual usage over time.
- Save when you reserve. AWS offers up to 72% discounts over equivalent on-demand resources when you purchase Reserved Instances (RI) or Savings Plans in advance. Knowing how much to purchase is fairly simple with AWS Cost Explorer which offers suggested RI and Savings Plan purchase suggestions.
- With AWS, you can get volume-based discounts and realize important savings as your usage increases. For services such as S3, pricing is tiered, meaning the more you use, the less you pay per GB.
- Enable off-hours policies that turn off resources when they are not being used.
- Take advantage of AWS managed services like Lambda, DynamoDB, Aurora, etc.
For additional information regarding the cost of using the cloud, please contact the Cloud Office.
Toggle ItemHow can the cloud help keep my systems reliable and available?
AWS's global cloud infrastructure is designed to deliver extreme levels of reliability and availability. This infrastructure is organized into distinct geographic Regions, each containing clusters of data centers or Availability Zones (AZs). By storing data and programs on the cloud, you decrease the risk of critical data being compromised, lost, or destroyed. With Multi-AZ resource deployment, AWS guarantees 99.99999999999% data storage durability. Enable automatic failovers and read replicas on your databases and maintain a monthly uptime percentage of 99.99% on compute resources such as EC2, ECS, and Fargate.
Toggle ItemWhat does the cloud offer to help me scale my resources?
The cloud allows you to scale your resources as demand increases or decreases with just a few clicks of a button. Instead of having to set up new servers, which can be expensive and time-consuming, you can quickly scale your resources in the cloud.
AWS also offers an auto-scaling service so you don't even need to worry about manually increasing or decreasing your resources. AWS Auto Scaling monitors your applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost. Use this service to automatically scale resources including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Elastic Cluster Service (ECS), DynamoDB, etc. Even better, most serverless AWS services scale automatically and infinitely.
Toggle ItemHow do I keep a cloud environment secure?
Toggle ItemHow can I practice DevOps in the cloud?
The CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) philosophy is a proven DevOps strategy widely used today. AWS CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy and CodePipeline were designed with CI/CD and other best practices in mind, making responsible DevOps in the cloud easy.
If you're developing in the cloud, we also highly recommend creating your resources through Infrastructure as Code. IaC offers repeatability, so the details of your environment won't be lost through accidents, and rollback is simple. In addition to the AWS provided IaC service, CloudFormation, BYU has a simpler, custom tool called Handel, and we also often use the open source tool Terraform. Schedule a meeting with the cloud office for questions about DevOps in the cloud.
Toggle ItemWhere can I learn more about the cloud?