In an age of rapid innovation and digital transformation, more companies are starting to see the real benefits of migrating their systems and applications to the cloud. Cloud is arguably the most important component of any company’s digital journey. However, moving from a traditional data center environment to the cloud can be daunting. Where do you begin? What vendors and partners should you work with? How do you meet business goals with a cloud migration while navigating the constraints of a legacy tech stack?
Migrating to the cloud began in earnest more than a decade ago, but recent recession and inflation fears have prompted even more companies to get off the fence. According to Gartner, the ongoing pandemic and the surge in digital services are making cloud the centerpiece of new digital experiences. Over 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025. Or more simply put, “There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy.”
While the benefits of the cloud are clear, companies are finding that it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition. The uniqueness and complexity of every enterprise, coupled with the current challenging talent and economic landscape, seems like a daunting task.
There are plenty of missteps to make during a migration – from not fully understanding the investment of time and money involved, to attempting to move the largest, most complex systems first, rather than starting with simpler ones. Therefore, companies need to work with partners that can provide a comprehensive cloud offering backed by 360-degree partnerships with cloud providers, from training, development, certification, and managed services. This is also why companies need to employ outcome-based models for cloud migration from the start to minimize disruption to business operations and ensure business outcomes.
See also: Extending Data Warehousing to the Cloud
Best Practices of an Effective Cloud (or Multi-Cloud) Migration
Many companies don’t have the time or expertise for a cloud migration process. Some even find that they’re spending more money on the cloud. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are often called in to assist and can even help navigate multi-cloud migration. Other than cloud MSPs, here are four other considerations for optimizing costs, both during and after migration:
The early days of migrating to the cloud saw “lift-and-shift” models (like old data center moves), where applications went to the cloud in the same structure they were in before.
It is one of the more expensive ways for companies to operate in the cloud. Without leveraging cloud-native services, they’ll spend more time and money on basic operations and can’t quickly scale up or down. The cloud has an unlimited supply of computing resources, so companies that choose to optimize their migration strategy with cloud-native services will save on time, money, and performance issues down the road.
A step beyond leveraging cloud-native services is to move beyond virtual machines (servers); it’s more efficient to extract existing applications from servers and modify them to run natively as cloud containers. Containers are software packages containing all the dependencies and configuration information needed to start up quickly and run efficiently on the cloud. With auto-scaling, the application can scale to meet demand peaks. Later, container instances reduce when demand goes down, optimizing spend, keeping users/customers happy while avoiding idle infrastructure.
Historically, product development and operations teams have been siloed. Development would build applications and then hand off to operations to deploy on production servers. DevOps combines these teams into a single process. Cloud adoption and DevOps have great synergies. DevOps brings a lot of automation around building and deploying applications. In partnership, the cloud provides modern infrastructure that is self-service oriented and can scale at the pace the organization needs. While continuous build and deploy (CI-CD) focuses on automation around App, Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) focuses on automation of (Cloud) infrastructure – initial creation, ongoing maintenance and eventual decommission.
All this automation enables organizations to develop and update products more frequently with better quality and seamlessly using DevOps and a templated approach. It has now become somewhat easier to ensure that security and regulatory requirements are met when new infrastructure is deployed.
4. Environment Management
The cloud is an enormously dynamic environment, and it’s easy to spin up costly resources. This is where cloud Financial Operations (or “FinOps”) play a role. FinOps is the practice of bringing cross-functional financial accountability to the cloud. It enables engineering and business teams to make the best use of cloud resources. They also ensure that unused and abandoned resources are not inflating cloud run rates. Much like how DevOps breaks down silos, FinOps is all about “empowering engineering teams to deliver better features, apps, and migrations. In addition, it facilitates effectively managing the costs.”
Exploring New Heights When Migrating to the Cloud
The world is well beyond discussions over “if” companies should make the cloud a key component of their infrastructure. IDC estimates that global cloud spending (including hardware, software, supply chain, and MSPs) will surpass $1.3 trillion by 2025. Those companies still in migration mode must now focus on fine-tuning, optimizing, and long-term outcomes because there’s no sign of the clouds parting anytime soon.
Nitha Puthran is Senior Vice President, responsible for the Cloud, Infrastructure & Security service lines at Persistent Systems. Nitha has close to two decades of demonstrated success spanning core infrastructure and cloud services, managed data center services and digital transformation. She has been instrumental in leading and implementing complex non-linear initiatives for key clients focused on reducing cost of operations and providing excellent client experience. She is responsible for driving key CXO level business relationships and advisory for Persistent’s clients. Prior to Persistent, Nitha led the Global Infrastructure and Cloud business for BFSI vertical at Wipro. Subsequent to her role at Wipro, Nitha worked at Avanade as a Managed Services Business Executive helping them in transforming engagement models. Nitha has a bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Mumbai.