And their Four Principles for a Successful Migration
In the fall of 2011, Meridium began to investigate how to expand upon their Enterprise Asset Performance Management (APM) platform. Deployed in over 1,200 sites worldwide, the APM platform offers building blocks used to create solutions for asset-intensive organizations. Traditionally, their APM solution had been deployed either on-premise, or in Meridium's datacenter.
Yet a clear trend was emerging: an increasing number of their customers wanted to move their workloads to the cloud.
Joe Nichols, Meridium's SVP of Strategic Alliances, explained how they kicked off the project. "We spent considerable time with our current clients, talked to analysts and reached out to several service providers about the market opportunities for an APM SaaS offering," he said.
Those conversations led Meridium to explore building APM Now to deliver against two unique approaches to implementing a SaaS solution:
- Expanded Commercial Offering
A SaaS solution focused on Tier 2 asset intensive organizations (with revenues under $1B USD), as well as industry service providers.
- Hybrid Approach
In this scenario, a multinational customer would operate core functions on-premise. Satellite or smaller facilities would operate on APM Now.
Nichols explained, "Before selecting a cloud partner, the Meridium R&D team spent a great deal of time discussing the number of tenants required for APM Now." In order to evaluate the options, the team created a thorough decision matrix. The criteria they adopted can serve as a good example for others to follow.
Meridium's 4 Principles of a Successful Migration to the Cloud
- Offer a Choice in Deployment Options
The solution needed to have the ability to operate on-premise or in a private cloud, as well as in SaaS and hybrid modes.
- Avoid Vendor Lock-In
Meridium required a partner who offered Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), but also had the flexibility to leverage Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) features for common services use cases.
- Build on the Strength of the Developer Community
Access to a large, vibrant developer community.
- Establish a Long-Term Vision
Meridium needed a partner who was committed to supporting new frameworks and adding global capacity. The ideal solution would also have to support multiple connection types, as well as a broad range of mobile and handheld devices.
Nichols continued, "With Azure we were able to exceed our goal for the number of APM Now tenants. Capabilities like Resource Level Role-Based Access Controls, and Network Intrusion Detection and Prevention were also important to our customers. And Microsoft partnered with us to add new networking and security features. In addition, Azure's Virtual Machine strategy leverages native Hyper-V images. The result is real-time dynamic portability from on-premise to the cloud, and from the cloud back to on-premise."
Meridium used the Azure environment to take advantage of SQL Server, Visual Studio and System Center, in addition to a host of third party and open source tools. They employed Azure's container strategy to allow the native integration of resources into an existing on-premise or hosted environment. The new platform also had the ability to leverage Linux environments for Spark Clusters and the APM Service Bus. With the new platform, Meridium's customers had a range of options including the R engine, new cross platform development tools and the ability to run .NET Core on Linux.
Nichols explained, "The Azure architecture gave us the option to seamlessly integrate between on-premise and the cloud, or to move customers to our SaaS solution."
The process Meridium followed proved key to the project's success. They laid the ground work by talking to their customers, and then distilled that feedback into 4 key principles. It's a simple formula, but it was critical in order to successfully migrate an enterprise application to the cloud.