IT Focus Area: Cloud
February 28, 2017
5 Keys to a Successful Cloud Transformation
Many IT organizations treat the move to cloud like a move to another data center – believing that designing an application for the cloud is the same as designing for an on-premises, virtual environment.
But this approach can create unnecessary overhead, as you need to invest in tools that don’t directly impact how your application functions. When you move to cloud, you must put the application first. And you can do this by embracing platform-as-a-service (PaaS).PaaS allows you to reduce your overhead while you make your applications more efficient. Developers can take advantage of PaaS platforms such as web apps and containerization. With these services, the PaaS provider handles much of your network, compute and storage responsibility. This allows developers to focus on what they do best – releasing apps quickly.
PaaS allows you to reduce your overhead while you make your applications more efficient. Developers can take advantage of PaaS platforms such as web apps and containerization. With these services, the PaaS provider handles much of your network, compute and storage responsibility. This allows developers to focus on what they do best – releasing apps quickly.
IaaS or PaaS?
Despite the advantages of PaaS, many IT organizations rely on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). They are often more familiar with IaaS, especially if they have years of experience with virtual environments. When they migrate to cloud, they may not have the time or resources to redevelop their apps to run on a PaaS platform. Or they may have strict security or regulatory requirements that can only be met through IaaS.
But a cloud solution doesn’t need to be all IaaS or PaaS. Successful solutions may contain elements of both.
Investing in IaaS makes transitioning to cloud easier. But if you do so without migrating parts of the application to PaaS, you’ll fail to gain benefits that are only possible with cloud.
For example, one of cloud’s biggest benefits is automation. When you leverage cloud correctly, you’ll remove layers of management. You won’t be responsible for data centers, operating systems and hardware. Removing all of these layers cuts your costs and the time you must spend on mundane IT tasks. Instead of maintaining hardware, you can focus on innovation and scaling your applications on demand.
It may be a long time before organizations innovate their applications, so you can gain an edge by migrating parts of your applications to PaaS now. This also allows you to easily increase and decrease your workloads based on demand, so you can quickly adapt to market changes.
The Fast Path to IT and Business Transformation
More enterprises are turning to cloud to reinvent their applications and take advantage of new deployment strategies. The agility that public cloud provides offers the fastest path to IT and business transformation.
Since these benefits aren’t available on premises, it’s no surprise that both the IaaS and the PaaS markets are growing.
In 2015, public IaaS and PaaS services grew at a rate of 51% - the highest growth rate of all cloud services.
Currently, IaaS spending far surpasses spending in other cloud areas. However, PaaS represents untapped opportunity. The PaaS market is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2020, driven by growing investments in app development.
PaaS brings more value to cloud. It can reduce your management overhead and lower your costs. PaaS also makes it easier for you to innovate and scale your services on demand.
Hybrid Cloud: A Flexible Path to IT Transformation
While cloud services such as PaaS can help cut costs and be more agile, you don’t need to move all of your IT all at once to see these benefits. You can still succeed when you take a slow, evolutionary approach to cloud.
Even if you put just one app in cloud, you will revolutionize it. The more apps you move, the more you will revolutionize your IT.
Look for opportunities to take iterative approaches to cloud adoption. You can “lift and shift” to start and then bring in PaaS features that require minimal engineering – such as Database-as-a-Service, application auto-scaling or caching.
Also, look at your apps and decide which ones can be revolutionized in cloud. For example, it makes sense to move an app to cloud if you retire its hardware. Cloud also lets you take advantage of app features that would be hard or expensive to deploy on premises.
You’ll likely find many apps that will perform better in cloud. However, you’ll also likely have apps that you must keep on premises.
In this case, hybrid cloud strategy that combines on premises, private cloud, and public cloud may be your best option.
Hybrid cloud gives you the ultimate flexibility in how you run your apps – opening the door to new opportunities. For example, it speeds your development and testing cycles by allowing you to launch new features faster.
Hybrid cloud also improves your backups and disaster recovery. It’s often expensive to manage these items on premises, so cloud can cut your costs while ensuring that your data is backed up and reliable. Many enterprises move to cloud for these benefits alone.
5 Keys to a Successful Cloud Transformation
A few years ago, having a cloud strategy meant just moving to the cloud.
Many enterprises thought that they had a cloud strategy, but when they peeled back the layers, they saw that their strategies were not well defined.
A successful move to cloud is about the business benefits of cloud.
Enterprises are now developing mature cloud strategies that focus on the business benefits of cloud.
Here are five keys to a successful cloud transformation:
1. A cloud roadmap
Understand how your application roadmap aligns to that of your provider. Cloud providers are adding new features and capabilities all the time. Some of these features may be nice to have, while others may be critical to your application or offer you ways to differentiate yourself in the market. Understanding when these features are available and how they align to your own roadmap is an important aspect of planning for cloud.
2. Moving to cloud is an opportunity to innovate
Cloud offers many capabilities that were either difficult to manage or not cost effective to run on premises. For example, auto-scale, web and mobile applications, data analytics, and containerization are just a few services that many cloud providers offer natively. You can leverage these services to redesign your application or extend its capabilities. Incorporating these things into your application as part of your transition to cloud is a natural fit.
3. Be patient
When first approaching cloud, many organizations think of “lifting and shifting” their virtual machines and leveraging Infrastructure-as-a-Service. While this approach reduces your overall migration time and gets you to cloud quickly, it could also inflate cost and miss key benefits of cloud.
Take the time to understand your cloud platforms and make informed decisions on your designs upfront. Low-hanging fruits, such as resizing services or using native cloud features rather than a third party, could dramatically impact your initial cost and performance. The more time you spend planning and understanding the platform up ront, the better your experience will be.
4. A consistent management strategy
"Infrastructure-as-code" is a key benefit of cloud and a way for organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Use templates to declaratively define your infrastructure and bring their management under source code control. Many of the popular DevOps tools and processes that you use today are applicable in cloud and can accelerate adoption and speed to market.
5. A cloud partner
Moving to cloud is moving to a new platform. It helps to have a partner who has experience with the platform, so you can avoid common pitfalls and take full advantage of all the benefits of cloud. Your partner can help you find opportunities and accelerate your cloud revolution.
Make the First Move to Cloud
A successful move to cloud isn’t about IaaS vs. PaaS. It’s about first making the move from an on premises data center to cloud, while strategically taking advantage of PaaS. A long migration roadmap and good planning will help you achieve value from cloud.
You also need patience to succeed with cloud. It takes time to redevelop your applications and transform your IT. But even taking small steps with a hybrid approach will help you revolutionize your IT in the long term.