Now that thousands of organizations have experienced cloud migration, we know that cloud migration is not a "set-it-and-forget-it" activity. Cloud migration is ever-changing and requires flexibility to optimize and automate the transformation experience as much as possible.
If Cloud Migration 1.0 occurred at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, then we have arrived at Cloud Migration 3.0. Cloud Migration 1.0 was the rush to the cloud as companies were suddenly unprepared to service customers online. Most fled to one of the big cloud providers: AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure, or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. In their haste, reporting shows that 67% of organizations have repatriated applications back on-prem. Repatriation was Cloud 2.0 — or a correction phase with the respective lessons learned. Cloud 3.0 employs strategies with a deep focus on business outcomes to ensure ROI.
In Cloud 3.0, enterprises mostly fall into two camps: those that have gone through Cloud 1.0 and 2.0, and second, those who waited, observing. As of two years ago, over 90% of organizations use at least one cloud service, yet just 23% of workloads were running on the cloud. Today, in our work with leading organizations, most workloads remain on-prem. This result is neither good nor bad; companies realize that some workloads belong in the cloud and are prime candidates for transformation to cloud-native, while many should remain on-prem. Thus, the actual definition of hybrid cloud trends takes full effect.
Regardless, the benefits of deploying on cloud-native are here to stay. Companies must take advantage of what these cloud providers bring to the table or risk falling behind the digital transformation race. To state the obvious: The cloud helps organizations achieve operational efficiencies, the flexibility to scale capacity, and the ability to surpass competitors by transitioning organizations into digital leaders.
From the start of the pandemic to today, cloud providers have expanded well beyond the Big Four mentioned above. Today, a company might choose between dozens of viable providers to determine which workloads belong in the cloud.
Flexibility ensures that an organization can optimize cloud migration. Below are three suggestions to help an organization flex and adapt to manage cloud migration in today's world.
Assess the Business Need
The first step is to take an upfront assessment of the business need. As an example, we work with a large firm in the financial/investment industry. Their business issues highlight what other organizations can achieve through cloud migration. The company is consumer-facing, and its clients require real-time confirmations of changes in investments and portfolios.
The firm had a clunky, monolithic database lacking flexibility and agility. Processing took several minutes within the app, rather than the several seconds their customers demanded. Speed wasn't there, and agility wasn't there. The firm could not scale as the workload grew, resulting in poor performance, potential downtime, and revenue risk.
The organization needed to change how the application was written, and its thinking about what cloud migration could deliver. It can be intimidating to move legacy, mission-critical applications.
The business need was the catalyst to move to a cloud-native architecture, which provided a significant performance increase. The financial services organization could quantify a tenfold performance increase, a huge boon for them and their customers because now they can operate in real time, enabled by the tools on AWS.
The assessment step is critical to depict your landscape and what blockers need adjusting to make the moves. Historically, this has been intimidating for clients, but with proper guidance, that does not have to be the case.
Take a Holistic Approach
With the assessment, an organization is informed to roadmap its cloud migration. The holistic picture will expose where there are technical breakdowns and what needs to be modernized and help determine the timeline.
Organizations need to review their business needs quarterly to ensure that their cloud strategy, EA model, and migration plan delivers to meet business needs.
With that said, looking at the IT structure holistically, it's just unwise to pick things up and move them to the cloud. There can be existing band-aids within your current processes. If that's the case, those mistakes will also move over to the cloud, negating the cloud's advantages. Migrating to the cloud without a roadmap equates to unnecessary costs.
An organization needs to consider the most effective treatment for their workloads, whether they need to rearchitect them, and how to perform the actual cloud transformation work in a graceful, cost-effective manner to complete migration in months rather than years.
Conversely, a good, cohesive migration plan will be backed by data and driven by business outcomes. A company can assess its applications to determine their suitability for the cloud or use a third party. There are a lot of great partners out there.
Many organizations have been hesitant to take a holistic approach. Many still have those legacy applications that they must protect. But do not be intimidated. Choosing to do nothing is a risk to your company.
Automate Cloud Migration
Enterprise-level cloud adoption platforms exist that can automate most of the actions involved in re-platforming, re-factoring, or re-architecting. These platforms speed and automate the process of intelligently identifying code blockers and inhibitors in legacy applications that will require modification. It alleviates IT teams' need to manually re-code millions of lines of code.
Always keep in mind that cloud migration is not "set it and forget it."