The Decade of the Cloud
Cloud technology has swept the IT world over the past decade. A recent study by Intuit and Emergent Research predicts that over 80% of small businesses will have moved to the cloud by 2020. An article at searchcloudcomputing.com points out that "migrating to the cloud is often touted as a no-brainer". But looking beyond all the current cloud hype, not all workloads can benefit from the move. The decision to migrate from on-premise servers to the cloud is far from a "no-brainer" as we shall see.
For businesses considering the move, the benefits of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) provided by the cloud could make it quite tempting to use the "rip and replace" method to move all on-premise server applications immediately to the cloud.
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For startups the decision to move to the cloud is easy. They can be up and running with enterprise-class capabilities they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. But established businesses in the enterprise-class already have a substantial investment in on-premise hardware. For those businesses, a thoughtful cloud migration strategy is needed to determine which, if any, of their existing applications, are cost-effective candidates for the move to the cloud.
Despite the cloud's reputation for "computing on demand" versatility, when considering migration of workloads there is no "one size fits all" solution. There are technical and financial conditions to be considered by each individual business before making the decision to move from on-premise servers to the cloud.
- What current workloads are being handled by the servers?
- How large is the company's current investment in infrastructure?
- Are current applications cloud compatible?
Let's take a look at some of the factors that can help businesses determine if they are a good fit for a move to the cloud.
Evaluating On-Premise Hardware
Even the best server hardware eventually becomes obsolete and many organizations have developed life-cycle policies to retire servers after a set period of time. If existing servers are nearing that retirement date a company may find itself at the most opportune time to move to the cloud. Rather than moving to new hardware, the IT team can begin the orderly migration to the cloud.
For companies with large on-premise data centers, abandoning that investment and outsourcing to the cloud can be a daunting decision. They'll need to factor in the ongoing costs of maintaining on-premise hardware such as licensing, resource consumption, software upgrades, and support.
Companies which have grown beyond current data handling capacity could consider the versatile scalability of the cloud as an enhancement to the existing infrastructure. It's important to remember that migration to the cloud is more than an "all or nothing" option.
While the total "rip and replace" move might not make financial sense for companies with a large investment in on-premise data centers, outsourcing certain server-side resources to the cloud could still be beneficial. This is especially true when existing hardware can be repurposed to use resources freed up by the cloud in a productive way.
Application Performance in the Cloud
Architecture and the Cloud
Not every application will perform well in the cloud which is a factor which needs to be evaluated before migration. In an article at APM digest, app industry expert Russell Rothstein points out that applications require the right architecture to function properly in the cloud.
Russell cites as examples where performance is likely to degrade in the cloud, those applications with "too much chattiness" or back and forth communication, and complex applications with large numbers of tier dependencies. Conversely, applications with high levels of transactions or resource volatility are likely to show an immediate improvement in performance.
Application Service Profiles
In the APM article Steve Harriman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at ScienceLogic, advises that data center applications should be cataloged, with service profiles developed for each one. Determining those applications with dependencies on horizontal scale or high resiliency can distinguish the best candidates for migration to the cloud.
Migrating to the Cloud With TCS
At Total Computer Solutions, we have years of experience helping businesses successfully migrate all or part of their data, applications, and services to the cloud. Our expertise in network architecture strategy, design, and implementation can help you determine if your organization is a good fit for moving to the cloud so don't hesitate to contact us today at 336.804.8449.