Autodesk Increases Efficiency, Reduces Costs through Large-Scale Migration and Modernization on AWS
Becoming a Center of Excellence
Autodesk is a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. If you’ve ever driven a car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with its software.
As part of an objective to create a more efficient, resilient, and automated enterprise, Autodesk’s IT organization collaborated with AWS to transform from a data center/cloud hybrid model to a cloud-first model. This mass migration and modernization effort would enable it to drive efficiencies, reskill its people, and be more innovative in the services and tools it delivers to the company. With the freedom to save time and resources from undifferentiated work, like managing data centers, Autodesk IT is able to focus on exciting new projects that create frictionless, self-service experiences for employees.
When Autodesk first met with AWS Professional Services, it defined two major objectives: 1) Increase efficiency and reduce cost through large-scale migration and modernization, and 2) Train and certify Autodesk IT employees so they can take advantage of all cloud has to offer.
"We had this vision of being more efficient, resilient, and automated and that included moving most of our enterprise applications to the cloud. And it was a rocket launch; in just two months we were able to train staff and start the migration."
SVP & CIO, Autodesk
How They Did It
- Technology: Autodesk IT’s cloud-first initiative aims to improve application performance and reliability by migrating workloads residing in physical data centers to AWS. Some apps needed to be retired, some apps needed to be migrated, and it needed to be done while protecting business continuity. To migrate technology quickly and effectively, Autodesk IT utilized the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP).
- People: To become a Center of Excellence, it’s not just the technology, but the people who make it happen. Autodesk IT wanted to bring its team members along in the migration process and transform them into cloud experts. Employees participated in upskilling programs that helped prepare them to support a successful cloud transformation.
- Process: Migration teams were spread across the globe and delivered against a set of specific goals and targets. To complete all the tasks needed for migration, Autodesk IT formed a few separate teams of roughly 6-8 people. These teams worked independently to manage their assigned application migrations, and worked directly with application owners to establish migration schedules, execute the work, and coordinate go-lives.
Planning for a Successful Migration
Completing a Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA) is the start to a well-planned and executed migration. The MRA helps you assess your organization’s capabilities, readiness, and commitment to migrate to the cloud. The Migration Readiness and Planning (MRP) phase builds your capability to migrate to, and operate in, the cloud by focusing on operational readiness, skills development, a strong migration plan, and a compelling business case for the migration. During application migration, it’s best to start slow and build up to migrating applications at scale. Autodesk IT and AWS worked together to utilize resources and best practices for an efficient migration. At its peak, the Autodesk team was able to migrate or retire 60 applications in a single quarter.
Autodesk's Tips for a Successful Migration
- Provide a robust learning path/curriculum for employees to transform roles to cloud infrastructure engineering. Leverage AWS resources to help upskill your teams.
- Take time to validate the application inventory within your data centers and confirm application owners early. If needed, invest in discovery tools to validate your data center inventory.
- Communicate early and often: Program benefits, time commitment needed from application owners, clear roles and responsibilities between the migration team and application owners.
- Work with application owners early on migration roadmaps.
- Start slow with migrations. Utilize pilot migrations to help the team gain confidence.
- Partner closely with your security team. Ensure appropriate frameworks and policies are in place early.