Workload migration: what should go to the cloud first?
There’s no longer any question: Cloud is winning, and the on-premises data center seems doomed to a future of declining relevance. The results of a recent survey by LogicMonitor confirm this, suggesting that 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020, while on-premise workloads will shrink from today’s 37 percent to 27 percent two years from now. The business advantages of the cloud over a data center are well understood. By moving their operations to the cloud, organizations of every description may liberate themselves from the costs of buying and maintaining hardware, as well as replacing it every few years. A move to the cloud allows companies to focus their resources on strategic initiatives and on driving innovation. The cloud also brings obvious advantages from an innovation perspective. It allows IT organizations to become more agile in adopting new tools and technologies because cloud vendors develop, adopt and integrate innovative technologies into their offerings at a rate that would be far beyond the capacity of an individual IT department. It gives enterprises access to automation through cloud-native technologies such as microservices, containers (that help deploy and run distributed applications without launching an entire virtual machine) and Kubernetes , (an open source tool for automating, scaling and managing containerized applications). Moreover, it allows for quick, painless and affordable scalability and elasticity as computing needs expand or shrink. It enables seamless data integration right across a business. Plus, it paves the way for autonomous operations in the future. With all these points in its favor, one may wonder why every organization doesn’t already host all their workloads on the cloud. The reality of making the move to cloud isn’t always that simple. Some of the workloads may already be optimized on premises, making migration not worth the time, money or effort. In those cases, it’s reasonable to let sleeping dogs lie, at least for now. Given the potential benefits you stand to gain from deploying workloads on the cloud, what actions could you take today to start reaping its benefits? If you have some under-optimized workloads, you might want to start there. While moving to the cloud results in massive savings over the long term, the upfront costs might dampen your enthusiasm for a wholesale migration. You might also encounter internal resistance to a migration plan that moves too quickly. So, the question arises: Which of your workloads should be first in line for early cloud adoption? Which will benefit most from the strengths of the cloud, thus giving you the most bang for your buck? To arrive at your answers, consider these four criteria for migrating any workload:
- How easy is it to migrate this workload? Some workloads are mercifully easy to simply “lift and shift” to the cloud. Other applications will require re-platforming, and possibly even rewriting. You’ll need to do a thorough analysis of security issues, the technical footprint and many other data points before you make the call. Once the analysis is done, though, you might decide to start with the most portable workloads first.
- Does this workload have good growth potential? The cloud’s fast and infinite scalability makes it the perfect match for workloads facing unpredictable traffic. This flexibility is crucial for e-commerce sites, and it might be important for your corporate website as well.
- What is the burden on internal resources? On-premise applications can drain a lot of time and resources from your IT people. This is especially true of back-office apps like email. Switching to SaaS is a simple and affordable way to make better use of the IT professional’s time.
- How much does this rely on integration and internal collaboration? A good Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) workload integrates data from all the processes of your organization. As such, your ERP should be cloud-based in its entirety. In practice, though, the HR functions of ERP still tend to run on-premise with outdated legacy systems. The realities of the digital age call for collaboration right across the enterprise and the modern workforce requires HR to be a player in that collaboration. Which means, simply stated, HR belongs in the cloud.