Cloud computing’s benefits have been well established — so much so that up to 80 percent of U.S. businesses are moving toward “cloud-first” operations, according to a recent Intel survey. In this approach, the organization always explores cloud options before considering onsite infrastructure.
It is important to note that “cloud first” does not mean “cloud only.” Although there are clear-cut economic and operational benefits to be gained in the cloud, there are still situations in which a traditional on-premises deployment may be a better choice.
Cost reduction is a compelling reason for moving workloads and applications to the cloud. In addition to reducing capital expenditures on hardware and other infrastructure, you can reduce ongoing management and licensing costs. The ability to spin up servers and storage on demand also produces rapid scalability and allows faster innovation.
Cost benefits aren’t guaranteed, however. Cloud services that are priced on a per-user, per-month structure might not be the best choice for businesses that are growing rapidly. When a project or service begins to scale, cloud costs can quickly exceed expectations. Licensing, tax implications, connectivity and other expenses can also impact long-term costs.
The benefits of the cloud can be readily experienced when migrating applications such as email or conferencing. Mission-critical applications that link to multiple other systems are much trickier. Also, compute-heavy applications may experience problems such as slow load speeds, erratic performance and even frequent crashes if the cloud platform isn’t up to the task.
Homegrown legacy applications can present special migration considerations. Some industry surveys show that as much as 40 percent of enterprise apps are custom-built for specific business requirements. They often require frequent re-engineering because they are based on older programming languages, operating systems and hardware. Shifting such applications to the cloud usually requires rebuilding the app using modern frameworks — a daunting process with a high risk of cost overruns and integration issues.
Given these potential drawbacks, any cloud migration project should begin with a thorough assessment. An effective assessment process will identify and prioritize exactly which applications and workloads can be easily migrated, which may need to be redesigned or replaced, and which are better off remaining in house.
The process involves assessing every application across multiple characteristics, including technical feasibility and risk. The assessment also should establish a clear business case for each application, identifying why migration will deliver value and competitive advantage. An assessment will also help determine which deployment model — public, private or hybrid — is most suitable, based on application requirements and business objectives.
Once the decision has been made about which applications to move to the cloud, organizations should determine where each application should reside. Applications can be hosted in an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model that provides a good deal of control, or more fully outsourced in a Software-as-a-Service model. Platform-as-a-Service may be a good fit for organizations with in-house software development teams.
Assessing workloads, designing migration plans and finally migrating to a targeted cloud computing model is a demanding endeavor. RMM Solutions’ engineers and IT professionals have a deep understanding of the various cloud models as well as the assessment and migration processes. We help our customers with the rigorous reparation required to ensure cloud migrations that deliver the desired benefits.