Today, IT no longer just supports day-to-day operations. It’s now a primary driver of innovation, growth, and competitiveness. The right technology choices are crucial for business survival. Cloud adoption is one such strategic choice that is vital to business success. Cloud computing has been continually evolving for the past two decades and is speculated to be one of the most sought after technologies in the future.
Worldwide spending on public cloud services will reach $210 billion in 2019, an increase of 23.8% over 2018, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide. The market is set to achieve a five-year CAGR of 22.5% with public cloud computing services spends reaching $370 billion in 2022. Software as a service (SaaS) will be the largest category in cloud technology, with cloud software capturing more than half of all public cloud spending. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) will be the second largest category of public cloud spends in 2019, followed by platform as a service (PaaS). [ CITATION 1 \l 1033 ]
The decision for enterprises to adopt cloud computing has come down to ‘when’ and not ‘if’. Cloud technology is the foundation and an enabler for all other cogs in a business machine. Among the numerous benefits that cloud software has to offer, the most significant ones are on demand self-service, resource pooling, broad network access, measured service, and rapid elasticity. Cloud also overshadows on premise solutions when it comes to flexibility, disaster recovery, SLAs offered by the cloud service providers, customization, cost of ownership and maintenance, to name a few. Cloud service providers should also offer speed and agility, key attributes which every enterprise needs today in the digital world.
Traditionally, the focus has been on IT application migration to the cloud platform. But an even bigger market exists for revenue generating products to be migrated to the cloud. This entails a significant focus on end user experience, high performance capabilities, end-to-end development approach, and finally a direct focus on changing the fundamental business model of on-premise products to subscription-based products.
It is important and vital for enterprises who migrate products to differentiate between the normal enterprise IT approach to product migration vs migration of end products to the cloud platform. A significant focus of software development services needs to be on change management of extreme agile development processes, development to deployment to support integration capabilities, and finally, on driving towards a ‘fail fast’ but ‘succeed even faster’ approach.
Cloud Migration Strategies
It is inevitable for modern organizations to move to the cloud, although it can be challenging without a fail-proof cloud migration strategy. The complexity of migrating existing applications varies, depending on the architecture and business scenario. However, it should not be devoid of the vital steps such as objectives, analysis of the expected outcomes, evaluation of the environment, determination of the deployment model, choice of the cloud service provider, along with executing and monitoring the implementation.
Most common migration strategies adopted by the organizations are built upon Gartner’s 5R model published in 2010.[ CITATION 3 \l 1033 ]
Re-hosting: Moving a virtual machine (VM) to a cloud with resources like storage and network, among others, remaining the same as the on-premise environment, without any changes in the architecture. Gradually, the applications can be made more cloud-friendly without affecting the application, data, or traffic. It is easier to re-architect the applications once they are already running in the cloud.
Re-platforming: Only certain optimizations are done to achieve certain benefits, but the core architecture remains the same. For instance, switching some expensive license software to open a source alternative. Or to reduce the time taken to manage database instances by moving to a database-as-a-service platform.
A large media company migrated hundreds of web servers from on-premise settings to public cloud, and, in the process, it moved from WebLogic (a Java application that requires an expensive license) to Apache Tomcat, an open-source equivalent. It saved millions in licensing costs and gained agility by migrating to cloud.
Repurchasing: Simply put, means moving to a different product. Some parts of the operations are moved to Cloud. In such a scenario, the migration is managed by the vendor.
Re-architecting: Re-architecting is the most complicated cloud migration strategy, yet it’s the one that offers most benefits. When migrating, you choose to tune up your product with cloud-native features. It’s driven by a strong business need to add features, scale, or performance that are otherwise challenging to deploy in the existing environment.
Retire: As much as 10% of an enterprise IT portfolio is no longer useful, and can simply be turned off. These savings can boost the business case, direct your team’s scarce attention to the things that people use, and lessen the surface area you have to secure.
Security risk has become the top concern in 2018. 77% of the respondents in the referred survey stated security as the most significant challenge.[ CITATION 4 \l 1033 ] This is followed by cloud spend management. The on-demand and scalable nature of cloud services makes it difficult to define and predict the costs.
The other challenge organizations are facing today is the lack of resources and/or expertise. With increasing workloads placed in the cloud, and the cloud technologies advancing rapidly organizations are having a tough time keeping up with the tools, and the need for expertise.
Governance/control is the next significant challenge being faced by enterprises. In a cloud-based world, IT does not always have full control over the operations of infrastructure. This has increased the difficulty for IT to provide governance, compliance, risks, and data quality management. Other challenges include compliance with various regulations and management of multiple clouds.
Where the World is heading
A massive shift to hybrid cloud services has been underway for the past couple of years. There’s every reason to think that the hybrid cloud market will continue to expand. Hybrid cloud refers to an IT deployment model that combines a data center or private cloud with public cloud from a commercial provider. Workloads move between the private infrastructure used by a single organization behind a firewall and the public infrastructure. Hybrid cloud gives the security and control of private IT combined with the agility and flexibility of the public cloud. It also allows to plan IT architecture strategically.
Serverless computing is gaining more popularity and will continue to do so in 2019. It is a procedure utilized by cloud users, who request PaaS, and cloud supplier charges for the PaaS as required. The customer does not need to buy or rent services and doesn’t need to configure them. The cloud is responsible for providing the platform, its configuration, and a wide range of helpful tools for designing applications and working with data.
Edge computing is a systematic approach to execute data processing at the edge of the network to streamline cloud computing. It is a result of ever increased use of IoT devices. Edge computing is essential to run real-time services as it streamlines the flow of traffic from IoT devices and provides real-time data analytics and analysis. It is also on the rise in 2019.
Test of confidence in Cloud
Customers of the world’s largest SaaS provider lost hours’ worth of CRM data due to a service outage that lasted over two business days. It was caused due to a database failure on the NA14 instance, which introduced a file integrity issue. It was resolved by restoring NA14 from a prior backup. The data written to the NA14 instance between 9:53 UTC and 14:53 on May 10, 2016 could not be restored.
Analysts don't believe that such incidents will undermine customer confidence in the resilience of the cloud. One of the customers affected by this incident was a technology analyst and business consulting firm. The company found its business offline for a day due to this outage. The CEO and CRO of the firm stated in an email, “The outage undermines my confidence in S********* but not cloud software as I have never had this issue with any other software-as-a-service or even on-premises software where you could control your own issues.”[ CITATION 2 \l 1033 ]
Keeping up with the Cloud
HCL developed an innovative cloud inception framework that helps enterprises plan for digital transformation and embark on a Cloud Native journey. HCL announced new re-platforming and refactoring services to enable enterprises to build and migrate applications to the cloud. The services will be orchestrated and available from HCL’s cloud native labs in London, New York, and Noida, later this year. HCL offerings include cloud strategy planning, application transformation, cloud-native cultural transformation, proof of concept building, and next-generation cloud native software development services.
HCL is collaborating with a long-term partner to offer cloud services to the market. HCL can run enterprise applications on the cloud, with greater responsiveness and flexibility. The range of HCL’s services are widely spread from developing hybrid cloud-based solutions to analyzing a systems’ cloud readiness to a complete migration of legacy applications to the cloud platform as well.
- Retrieved from https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44891519
- Retrieved from https://www.cmswire.com/customer-experience/salesforce-customers-lose-crm-data-in-20-hour-outage/.
- Retrieved from https://medium.com/aws-enterprise-collection/6-strategies-for-migrating-applications-to-the-cloud-eb4e85c412b4.
- Retrieved from https://www.suse.com/media/report/rightscale_2018_state_of_the_cloud_report.pdf.