How do I know what I can move to the cloud?
Sometimes when you read a lot of what is written about the cloud you get the impression that if your organisation isn’t there, right now, that you must be missing something - everything can go in the cloud, right?
In fact the answer to the question - what can I move to the cloud? Is not as simple as people are led to believe. There are a few different factors you will want to look at which we’ll explore here.
The cloud works best for modern applications that are based around modern internet based architecture using technologies such as HTTP, APIs etc. In other words if your application runs out of an internet browser it may be a good candidate for being hosted in the cloud. There are a significant portion of business applications that predate such technologies though. These may require some form of installed client or a text based interface, or perhaps they’re mainframe based.
There are many ways to make even these types of technologies work on the cloud. The question though is whether it makes sense to? Just because you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. You may be better off asking whether you have a business case that supports migrating from these types of legacy applications to something that is native to cloud rather than trying to make that legacy application work there. In other words it’s a cost/benefit equation where you’ll likely need to work through a number of different scenarios to decide whether it’s worthwhile for your organisation.
Another area of worthy of consideration lies around business applications that have a striking number of integrations (point to point or mediated in some way). Depending on how those integrations work and the ability of the application(s) at the other end of a given application to handle change, the complexity involved in moving a given application to the cloud may be considerable. This is often tightly linked with issues around security and authentication as well.
For example, if your application operates in a Windows environment as does the application(s) being integrated to, it may be that authentication is being handled via Active Directory and the Windows domain the applications belong to. If one of those applications is moved to a cloud server, that can cause all sorts of challenges depending on how the networking has been configured.
The takeaway from this is that understanding how your business applications are integrated together is very important. Once you start thinking about migrating to the cloud, you may find that you need to move multiple parts of your landscape together to not break how things work currently.
This area is somewhat related to integration complexity, but worth considering on its own. Some business applications generate a significant amount of data that is then used for reporting and analysis. When your applications are hosted on the same network and/or server infrastructure, moving relatively large amounts of data around is fairly painless and doesn’t cost much.
However, if you were to move your transactional data generating application to the cloud, and not also move your reporting & analytical platform, what you may find is that the cost of continuing to operate how you were is more than you may have expected. The reason is that most cloud providers charge for data ingress/egress as well as for the resources you are consuming such as compute, storage etc. If your business application is therefore hosted on a cloud platform and your reporting & analytics are not, you need to shift data from one location to another, which has a corresponding cost associated with it that. That cost can be significant, depending on the quantities involved and the cloud platform you’re using.
The final reason worth considering carefully is whether the infrastructure or application you’re considering moving to is subject to any kind of regulatory restrictions with respect to where data can be stored. This is an area that is changing rapidly as governments adjust legislation to address the increasing predominance of the cloud. However, depending on your industry there may be certain types of data you need to store locally. Or, it may be that certain parts of the world are off limits to you which means you need to be aware of where your cloud provider’s data centres are and their policies with respect to how data is stored, backed up etc.
Organisations that have spent time putting together a cloud strategy and a clear roadmap for how they will migrate their applications to the cloud will generally avoid or at least figure out a plan to deal with the areas described above. This is an area that Cyma are experts in, so if your organisation is considering moving infrastructure to the cloud, and you’re looking for some advice, we’re happy to help. Fill out the form to let us know any questions you might have, and we can answer them for you.