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The proof is in: Cloud delivers on the promises you’ve heard about: Lowered costs, higher cybersecurity, immense scalability. That’s why, in 2023, Cloud spending will grow by another 21%.
But, despite these successes, Cloud migrations can struggle. More than 90% of CIOs report they experienced their ERP system disruptions during a Cloud migration. The good news is that throughout the hundreds of Cloud migrations we’ve been a part of, we have a set of clear best practices.
The CIO at Bestway Rentals, Jai Chanani, recently sat down with Enavate’s own Bill Moore, to talk about their experience of moving to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Bestway Rental partnered with Enavate to migrate from their on-premises solution to Enavate’s virtual private Cloud more than five years ago. In 2023, Enavate migrated Bestway’s application and data to Microsoft Azure. Despite the concerns of migrating into the Cloud, Jai says, “It was one of the smoothest migrations we have ever seen.”
As the CIO, Jai understood technology challenges the business faced when looking at migrating their retail systems into the virtual private Cloud. The company knew modernization was important, but worried moving to the Cloud would cause a great deal of disruption to their customers and internal staff. Could Bestway Rentals migrate to a private virtual Cloud without the loss of critical data or disruption to customers in their storefronts?
The story is as compelling as the outcome. Hear the story straight from Chanani himself by listening to this episode of Real Talk with Bill Moore.
Enavate and Bestway Rentals had a long-standing working relationship prior to Bestway Rentals moving to a Cloud environment and Microsoft Azure. This relationship lasted over the years and included several successful migrations, emphasizing the need for SMBs to have a true partner and not just a service provider.
Established in 1983, Bestway Rentals currently has 79 retail storefronts across nine states. The business model offers homeowners a way to rent-to-own anything you need in a home setting, from electronics and appliances to furniture and bedding at affordable costs.
Bill Moore (Enavate): Do you recall the initial migration into our private virtual Cloud? How did it go? Was it successful in meeting your objectives?
Jai Chanani (Bestway Rentals): Absolutely. It's as clear as daylight for me. We were migrating from a system that was almost 30 years old into a new system. That meant training all our store personnel in the new system. We had to make it seamless for our stores as well as the back office. The planning that Enavate offered in conjunction with Bestway and Ideal made for one of the smoothest migrations we have ever seen. Somehow, we did two things at the same time, which was transitioning our point-of-sale (POS) and moving to the Enavate Cloud. The only thing I can say is kudos to Enavate’s team and Bill's guidance. That was flawless.
Moore: There was a lot of risk associated with doing both of those things at the same time. It was teamwork on everybody's part.
What is the Virtual Private Cloud?
A virtual private Cloud (VPC) is a secure and isolated infrastructure, providing organizations with dedicated resources and enhanced control over their virtual network environment. It enables users to deploy and manage their applications and data securely while utilizing the scalability and flexibility of the Cloud.
The true test of any migration consulting partner comes when something doesn’t go as planned. Each Cloud data center migration is different and there are always lessons to be learned that fuel best practices for the next Azure journey. In the case of Bestway Rentals, the snafu was the unexpected Azure virtual private network (VPN) tunnel not routing with Cisco.
Chanani: I've been involved with major data center migrations throughout my life. When I heard from Bill about moving to the Azure Cloud, I was nervous because generally when you do a data center migration, it never goes well. You always will have some issues. This year's number one task was migrating to Azure rather than all the other business objectives that my boss gave me, and I was worried. Everything, literally, our company's health, our financial health, depends upon the systems that run in that Cloud.
But we had a plan, thanks to Bill and Enavate, and part of the roadmap was to migrate on a Sunday because the stores aren’t open that day. The first step is where we had the problem. We could not get our VPN tunnel to work. Our Azure VPN tunnel was not routing with Cisco.
But Enavate guided us in the right direction. We ended up having a conference call in WebEx with Cisco for about 90 minutes and got it resolved. I don't remember encountering any other issues through the entire Azure Cloud migration. We monitored it very carefully. There were a couple of reports running a little slow. A few people complained about latency. We have been in that environment about four weeks now. It's been smooth except for the initial VPN tunnel and some latency in the beginning. But besides that, I can say it was one of the smoothest transactions or migrations we’ve ever done.
The complexities of a critical software switch with a data center migration to the Cloud are high. Bestway Rentals knew the organization faced a major hurdle that, should it go south, could be catastrophically disruptive to this retail organization.
Chanani, like a lot of CIOs, had heard about the benefits of Cloud migration. With the help of Enavate, Bestway Rentals achieved their goals without their customers ever experiencing the frustrations of failed technology. Today, Bestway Rentals serves as a success story for other companies seeking to migrate to the Azure private Cloud.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Azure is a Cloud computing platform provided by Microsoft. It offers a wide range of services, including virtual machines, storage, databases and AI capabilities. Azure allows organizations to build, deploy and manage applications and services on a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers, providing scalability, reliability and security for their digital infrastructure.
Companies often look at modernizing their technology in terms of risks and headaches. We haven’t yet met a company that is taking on this migration just for fun; but we know that the companies we partner with us on their digital journey to Azure reap the benefits.
Instead of owning a tech stack that requires routine and sometimes unexpected, emergency maintenance, Microsoft Azure runs on the Cloud on a subscription model. Businesses know how much to budget for their tech every month and can scale up or down as dictated by their business needs. This cost-effective payment model saves businesses money in the long run.
According to Gartner, businesses spend an average of $1,500/month on their on-premises hardware. For Enavate clients on Microsoft Azure, the average cost is approximately $700/month.
Beyond the actual cost, factor in other ways you’ll save, including less time maintaining your infrastructure and spending addressing issues. You’ll also reap savings from efficiencies gained in the Cloud, as well as less downtime due to disruptions.
Technology is evolving quickly, and with that evolution comes fewer updates for outdated technology.
By keeping up with modern technology, your business has access to updates that keep your operations working efficiently.
Microsoft takes its security features seriously, investing over $1 billion annually in security research and development. In addition to this investment, they employ over 3,500 security experts dedicated to data security and privacy. With the most common cybersecurity breaches occurring in small to mid-size businesses, business owners cannot run the risk of not having top-of-the-line tech security.
To listen to a more in-depth conversation about the benefits of Microsoft Azure, listen to our webinar Top 3 Benefits of Hosting Your ERP in Azure.
At Enavate, our own success rests on the wins achieved by our clients. Bestway Rentals was a clear win, with a smooth modernization of technology into a safer, cleaner environment to benefit their business. As part of continuous improvement, we ask the client to candidly share feedback at the end of every engagement. Here’s what Chanani had to say after the migration was complete.
Moore: Jai, I have one last question. If you had to make these decisions again, would you choose Enavate?
Chanani: Absolutely. Enavate has been a good partner. Again, in any business relationship, you will have bumps. We did have some challenges. But the thought process, the methodology that the Enavate team used, resolved those issues. They stepped up to the plate and helped us overcome some big challenges.
I must share that Bestway Rentals is a very demanding company. We demand a lot from our business partners, but at the end of the day, we are very fair. We like our long-term partners, and we work with them during the bumps to get where we are today. I’m pleased that Enavate and Bestway Rentals have achieved this kind of solid relationship.
For more information about migrating to the Cloud, watch our webinar on-demand, 5 Reasons to Migrate to the Cloud Now. Or contact an Enavate expert to learn more about how your company can benefit from the Cloud.
Bill Moore has spent his entire career helping clients utilize technology to reduce cost, improve productivity and profitability, and enhance security. For the past 10 years, he has helped clients achieve this by migrating applications and data to the Cloud.