Cloud computing has been one of the more prominent technological phenomena in recent years, seeing companies across geographies and industries turning to cloud services to access a range of features and capabilities that augment their products, simplify management, improve ROI, reduce capital expenditure, and significantly improve scalability to meet rapidly growing demand.
In a company’s quest to unlock these benefits, organizations are embarking on their own cloud migration journeys. As each journey is unique it’s important to realize that cloud adoption isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Realizing the benefits of cloud computing will depend on each organization’s unique business model, timeline, and other dependencies portrayed by their legacy software and applications. Companies must carefully consider their objectives when adopting the cloud: what migration path will help you fulfill your goals and what considerations lie beyond technological adoption?
There is more than one path to cloud adoption
After considering the viability of the cloud for your business objectives, the next step involves assessing the various paths of cloud migration that differ in speed, comprehensiveness, and outcomes. As we explore the spectrum of cloud adoption approaches, we’ve identified several distinct approaches that organizations tend to follow — each with their own benefits and tradeoffs.
- Lift and shift: Copy and paste legacy workloads and processes to the cloud. This approach will get you to the cloud quickly but comes with very few actual cloud benefits.
- Refactor: Identify “low hanging fruit” to modernize with minimal effort. Easily replace legacy infrastructure with cloud PaaS services.
- Containers: Modernize server management and configuration and automate application deployment with no rewrite required.
- Serverless: Manage code only, no servers required. With this fully managed approach, you pay for only what you consume, not what you provision.
While the lift-and-shift approach may sound like the path of least resistance, this method yields much fewer benefits of the cloud and carries forward much of the same fragility and static nature found in the data center. On the other end of the spectrum, companies may choose to go fully cloud-native and use infrastructure technology such as serverless computing or containers, refactoring their applications to work effectively on these environments. This approach may require more upfront considerations but will yield significant improvements in scalability, reliability, portability, efficiency, and ROI in the long run.
As these approaches veer towards cloud native infrastructures, they tend to require an upfront investment of increased time and effort to manage the initial complexity, however, the payoff is realized in the long-term benefits that offer a well structured migration that is future-proof and offers access to greater sets of advantages derived from the cloud.
The Benefits of Cloud Native
If your business can greatly benefit from the cloud’s unique capabilities, going cloud native and adopting technologies such as Containers and Serverless computing to host your applications can yield the greatest value. Your organization’s data, now stored on data lakes, can not only be fed to your applications and workloads, it can also be fed into machine learning and data analytics algorithms to derive insights that can help you improve business processes and discover untapped opportunities. Furthermore, cloud native approaches enhance tasks such as security monitoring and application development, streamlining and accelerating them through automation and agile development workflows.
Going cloud native allows you to leverage event driven architectures so that you only pay when events are triggered, minimizing expenditure on idle resources. The pace of innovation is also significantly improved through accelerated iteration releases and new feature development. By representing services and infrastructure as code, environments become repeatable and can be launched in minutes; development teams can therefore spin up environments concurrently and perform tests without having to wait for procurement, allowing them to quickly verify, package and send new application versions into production.
Evolving Beyond Technology
Adopting a cloud native strategy means that changes must be implemented beyond just the technology. Organizational changes across people and processes are necessary for an effective and prudent migration.
A company’s teams must be organized to follow an agile approach, removing blockages and hurdles wherever possible. Teams may also need to take application ownership from development to production and new skill sets may need to be acquired to develop effectively on the cloud. Processes such as agile delivery, DevOps culture, CI/CD, and rapid iteration in weekly sprints must be employed to avoid creating process bottlenecks when trying to achieve the full pace of delivery afforded by the cloud. Finally, automation must be implemented, utilizing pipelines such as Migration-as-code and Infrastructure-as-code, as well as automating application testing to maximize the acceleration of innovation and time to production.
The next step is to choose a strategy to move your workloads and applications effectively, minimizing disruption and maximizing realized benefits. These can range from developing a cloud foundation for proof-of-concepts to deploying existing applications into best practice defined landing zones. Using migrations as code pipelines, large scale migrations of many applications can be undertaken in a controlled but expedited manner. For all-new applications and development, greenfield application development allows you to leverage all the powerful and unique cloud native features such as continuous scalability, and flexibility to event driven architectures upon which you only have to pay for the resources you utilize, realizing savings when workloads are idle.
To gain more insights on the optimal cloud migration path for your business, download our 4 Paths to Cloud Migration Whitepaper. If you’re ready to begin your journey to the cloud and would like to know how Onica can help, get in touch with our cloud adoption experts today!