Migrating to cloud has been one of the top reasons for organizations to thrive during and after the pandemic. There’s no denying that the benefits it brought along have impacted a wide range of industries.
In a recent research study 'Cloud Evolution: Make innovation a habit', HCLTech, along with the Financial Times' research and thought leadership division FT Longitude, unlocks insights from 500 senior executives on the limitless possibilities of cloud.
The research study highlights that 87% of senior executives who have pivoted their business strategy in the past three years say they it wouldn’t have been possible without cloud. Today’s leaders are excited about the potential of Generative AI, but 85% are aware that organizations can't deploy the technology without the right cloud strategy.
These limitless possibilities need the right strategy and are based on a well-architected framework consisting of operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimization and sustainability.
HCLTech has successfully helped organizations migrate to cloud, along with its ecosystem partners like Amazon Web Services (AWS) that created the AWS Well-Architected Framework following the six pillars.
Operational excellence: Based on four best practice areas — organize, prepare, operate and evolve — operational excellence is a unified term that empowers the workforce while supporting and improving existing processes and delivering increased customer satisfaction. This pillar supports development of applications on cloud while running workloads effectively, increasing operational insights and helping teams focus more on new features and bug fixes.
Security: Meant for leaders in technology roles, such as CTOs, CSOs/CISOs, developers, architects and operations team members, this pillar includes security foundations, identity and access management, detection, infrastructure protection, data protection, incident response and application security while designing cloud architectures with security on the top of the list.
Reliability: Traditional on-premises environments, such as data centers, can be risky and difficult due to single points of failure and lack of elasticity brought in by automation. Therefore, achieving reliability needs a framework that applies best practices in design, delivery and maintenance, thereby building strong foundations that support and hold a resilient architecture meant for workloads to perform its intended function correctly and consistently. Elasticity is meant to support consistent change management that includes proven failure recovery processes.
Performance efficiency: With the change in demand and the evolution of technologies, efficient use of computing resources is a must. Design principles, such as making advanced technology implementation easier to access, dividing workloads, using serverless architectures and experimenting with virtual and automated resources can help maintain workloads in cloud. This pillar outlines how focusing on selection and configuration of resource types, reviewing and monitoring on a regular basis, ensuring any deviance from expected performance and making trade-offs in architecture improve performance efficiency.
Cost optimization: It is a continual process of refinement and improvement over the span of a workload’s lifecycle that fully utilizes all resources, achieves an outcome at the lowest possible price point, meets functional requirements and allows an organization to maximize its return on the spending in cloud. This pillar helps organizations practice cloud financial management, provides expenditure and usage awareness, manage demand and supply resources while introducing cost-effective resources that optimize over time.
Sustainability: The discipline and order that sustainability brings in addresses the long-term ESG impact of business activities. This pillar explains how a shared responsibility model helps while building cloud workloads. From design principles to improvement process, sustainability as a non-functional requirement involves understanding the impacts of the services in use, quantifying impacts throughout the entire workload lifecycle and applying design principles and best practices that leave no or very little impact on the environment. For example, the practice of a circular economy reduces these impacts, bringing in the best practices for sustainability in cloud and on-premises.
These six pillars further break down the benefits to subparts, such as, less operational issues, improved performance, cost savings, cloud scalability, reduced capital investment in set-up and hardware, improved consumption management, increased collaboration among teams, ability to innovate faster, continuous operations, and better managing of increased customer expectations.
CloudSMART for AWS is HCLTech’s continuous modernization experience to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation journey. As an AWS partner, HCLTech provides end-to-end AWS Managed Services and AWS operations through ElasticOps.
For example, a leading US-based pharma IT company that monitors and maintains cloud-native enterprise networks needed support to run their operational systems. The client’s core engineering team is responsible for designing and deploying infrastructure services, and the company required help to integrate cloud-technical customers with its complex compliance model and retreat from its existing data centers.
HCLTech matured the client from a proof-of-concept state into a fully secure, scalable, performance efficient and cost-effective cloud environment with approximately 15,000 servers.
It reduced server provisioning time from one week to a few minutes in cloud, offered the pay-as-you-go model to clients for added flexibility and agility and helped enterprises migrate from on-premises infrastructure to a virtual private cloud in AWS.
What is a pay-as-you-go model?
Cloud migration, in simple terms, means the process of moving digital operations to the public cloud or how the software is made available. It involves transferring legacy infrastructure (from an organization’s office) or from on-prem datacenters — where software and hardware are installed — to cloud.
The next step is determining who can access the data in cloud and how. This is where the three types of cloud services and accessibility models come in, that are designed to meet specific business needs.
First, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that’s available via vendors on the internet such as Dropbox. Second, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that provides tools for application development. AWS Elastic Beanstalk, for example. Third, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a computing infrastructure that cloud-based platforms use on a pay-as-you-go model. AWS EC2 instances and EBS volumes, for example.
In terms of accessibility, the first is public cloud, which makes digital assets on cloud publicly available using the internet. These assets are either free or offered on subscription via PaaS or SaaS offerings. Next is private cloud, meant for a particular organization, also known as “corporate cloud”, and is inaccessible to unauthorized users. The final one is hybrid cloud, a mixture of public cloud, private cloud and on-prem infrastructure. This is typically used to keep important data private while making various support-oriented services public.
“The evolution of cloud has revolutionized business operations in today’s experience-centric world. Businesses need to balance agility, flexibility, scalability, compliance, and security needs with the most optimum economics, which can only be achieved with the right mix of people, process and technology in a hybrid mode,” says Rampal Singh, Global Business Head - Hybrid Cloud, HCLTech.
“HCLTech’s hybrid cloud services span the entire breadth of consulting, migration, modernization, systems integration, operations, management and consolidation. Enabled by our strategic ecosystem, intelligent automation and artificial intelligence, we provide sustainable offerings, full stack observability and differentiated consumption models that let organizations focus on what matters – innovation, business growth and customer-centricity,” he adds.
Cloud adoption also reduces the carbon footprint, simplifies IT, delivers immediate business results, gives better work-life balance, increases agility and flexibility, faster time-to-market and is more secure. It also supports security standards and compliance certifications, eases increasing resource demands, makes everything easily available anytime, anywhere with everything as-a-service. Finally, it is less complicated and easy to implement, and allows an employee using cloud to be anywhere.
Migrating to cloud generates business benefits that drive continuous modernization and accelerate progress. Organizations no longer must invest in physically hosting their datacenters and can scale output according to market conditions. However, there are some problem areas as well that the survey identified.
Approximately, 24% of the organizations participating in the study believe in “repatriation” and indicated that they are planning to move a proportion of their data — apps and workloads — from cloud to datacenters over the next three years.
“Repatriation is more of an infrastructure workload conversation. It’s not a business value conversation. If your goal for moving workloads to the cloud is transformation and modernization of business processes then repatriation is not a viable option,” says Kalyan Kumar, Global CTO and head—ecosystems HCLTech.
“Organizations that haven’t modernized the applications may consider repatriation, because they aren’t saving the money they expected to by choosing cloud as a lower-cost alternative,” he adds.
Of the respondents, 70% of senior executives say skills shortages limit how effectively they use cloud. Executives in healthcare are most likely to respond in this way.
“The problem facing the industry is that there are lots of newly qualified people with required skills, but they lack experience,” says Siki Giunta, HCLTech Executive Vice President responsible for the company’s CloudSMART Strategy and Industry Cloud Consulting Recruiting.
“These candidates come with the knowledge that you are investing in the future. It’s a necessary step in building a technical workforce that is well trained and experienced. You are making the investment today to realize the value in the future,” she adds.
Security and privacy risks
Of the respondents, 41% of senior executives say security and privacy risks are a top concern when using cloud to achieve business goals and executives in IT are most likely to say this. One explanation is that confidence in the ability of cloud to secure data and protect depositors may be affecting financial services companies’ evolving cloud strategies.
Read the report to find out more about how to get past these problem areas and how HCLTech can help you in the transition.