Moving your applications to Cloud: the journey or the destination?

With cloud computing now well over a decade old, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are rapidly becoming the “new normal” as businesses increasingly take an application-centric approach and use a mix of cloud vendors and platform to best meet their application needs.

Often, there is no single end point or destination for application deployment in the cloud. As Tristan Rogers wrote in an earlier blog post here at the Hybrid Hive: “Hybrid…means…you can now strategically place your applications across your infrastructure platforms based on the business outcomes you require“.

If those business outcomes change, you must be able to re-locate your applications accordingly. A recent survey of IT decision makers commissioned by Fujitsu revealed that almost 80% of respondents want to be able to move workloads more easily between clouds.

Take your enterprise applications on a cloud journey

Instead of a destination, we see three main phases on a journey to cloud and believe that most enterprises will use a combination of these, depending on the needs of individual workloads.

Cloud-hosted applications

IT departments essentially just rehost applications in a new environment, making no changes to the application itself. Relatively simple to implement, this “lift and shift” approach is usually cheaper and less disruptive in the short term. However, it offers little in longer term cost savings, increased agility, and greater transparency and governance. Rehosting can be a good starting point in your journey to cloud, but is unlikely to be a good end point.

Cloud-aware applications

Replatforming or even refactoring applications should provide increased performance, governance, manageability and other benefits in the cloud. These are also excellent ways to rationalize and standardize applications as you move to cloud. The downside is that certain applications cannot easily be replatformed without a complete code re-write.

Cloud-native applications

Often seen as the “holy grail” of the cloud journey, building cloud-native applications using agile methodologies and DevOps processes (the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity) offers the biggest potential upside in the long term.

You can build, test, release and maintain applications more quickly, accelerating release processes and harnessing collaboration to increase enterprise agility and innovation. Of course, this approach can also be the most complex, disruptive and expensive in the short term, requiring the biggest cultural shift within your business.

Enterprise Cloud Journey: From Legacy to Cloud-Native Applications

Many businesses will of course continue to run certain applications in a legacy data centre for the foreseeable future, due to architecture, compliance, licensing or other reasons. This makes it essential to master Hybrid IT—a two-speed approach which aims to provide a “best of both worlds” scenario by running applications in the cloud (or in multi-clouds) alongside those in traditional data centres.

Hybrid IT helps you increase IT agility and innovation to meet your business and customer needs, while letting you manage and control the governance, risk, compliance and security required for certain workloads.

Are your application delivery processes up to the task?

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately in reality, application delivery processes are often ill-equipped to handle the complexity of Hybrid IT environments, which typically combine legacy data centres with multiple IaaS and PaaS cloud platforms (Fujitsu’s survey revealed that 57% of respondents deal with between one and three IaaS vendors, while almost 20% deal with between four and ten. And that’s just IaaS vendors.)

This throws up a number of challenges that organisations need to overcome. In a future post, we’ll take a look at some of these challenges, and talk about how you can meet them head-on.

In the meantime, take a look at our brand new white paper on Enabling the Enterprise Cloud Journey with Hybrid IT Application Automation.

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