Over the last decade, we have seen a huge spike in businesses moving to the cloud. Gone are the days where on-premises infrastructure could fully accommodate the ever-changing technologies businesses needed to stay competitive. We are now in the age of the Cloud Revolution that better enables application modernization through rehosting, refactoring, replatforming, and more.
However, transitioning to the cloud doesn’t happen overnight. Most companies facilitate their cloud journey in two phases. In this blog, we will talk about each phase and how its benefits can help organizations modernize and optimize their business.
Phase 1: Moving from On-Premises to the Cloud
Prior to moving to the cloud, most companies operate using on-premises infrastructure. As technologies continue to become more complex, many organizations find that their on-premises infrastructure is no longer equipped to handle their business needs. To combat this, they lift and shift their existing workload to the cloud. Rehosting in the cloud provides several benefits including:
- Velocity: In today’s environment, people want the newest and best immediately. Cloud migration allows organizations to deploy applications and updates quicker to their end users, reducing their overall time to market.
- Reliability: In addition to instant access, people also want constant access. The cloud provides a level of reliability and to users that cannot be achieved on-premises. If an application has an issue or a bug that is hindering user access, the cloud makes it easier to issue a patch or update to fix it. Limiting downtime of critical applications will help reduce lost revenue from an inaccessible application.
- Resiliency: By hosting applications in the serverless architecture of a cloud platform, organizations can avoid downtime caused by issues with their on-premises hardware.
- Cost-Effective: Finally, utilizing the cloud can provide significant cost savings. Organizations no longer have to spend money to update and maintain the physical hardware that is associated with on-premises infrastructure. Additionally, the cloud allows organizations to utilize a consumption-based pricing model wherein companies will only pay for what they use to meet demand (especially relevant for short-term spikes), rather than a set amount that would come with on-premises hardware (aka capacity-based pricing).
Phase 2: Innovation in the Cloud
Transitioning to the cloud is not the end of the journey. Once there, businesses have several ways they can continue to expand their modernization strategy, and they all center around one common theme: innovation. (See our Cloud Solutions)
Cloud Native Applications
Utilizing cloud native applications comes with a host of advantages. When building an application in an on-premises datacenter, organizations are faced with certain constraints. When it comes to capacity, the application will need to be built to accommodate the largest volume of users that may be using the system at a time. Even if the high point of capacity will only be utilized for a short time, the application must be built to sustain this capacity for the duration of its life. Conversely, when modernizing applications using cloud native architecture, there is significantly more flexibility. Through application development features like elastic scaling, organizations can scale their cloud infrastructure and service capacity to meet demand at any moment.
Beyond elastic scalability, cloud native applications also offer high availability. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) like Microsoft Azure or AWS have platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings that provide high availability with little time investment. For example, in Azure Cosmos Database, organizations can easily decide what geographic regions the database will be available in by simply checking the corresponding boxes.
Finally, cloud native applications reap security benefits from their CSP. Microsoft, for example, heavily invests each year to ensure that Azure is a secure place for companies to host their applications. Additionally, organizations can build other tools into their PaaS offering that further enhance security. These tools would have traditionally needed to be custom built to fit into on-premises infrastructure.
In addition to cloud native applications, organizations can also build hybrid applications (these are applications that are not fully hosted in the cloud). Using edge architecture, hybrid applications will have components that are cloud-based and components located near where data is being collected. Edge architecture allows companies to filter data so not all of the data that’s collected or generated needs to be in the cloud. Processing some data locally (instead of sending it to the cloud) helps reduce costs. It also creates a more dynamic experience for users by analyzing data in real time and immediately giving users intelligent feedback.
Modern Data Platform
When it comes to innovation and modernization solutions, one area that businesses often overlook is data. For most organizations, data comes from many different sources and is often siloed. It can be difficult to combine that data into a single place, like a data warehouse, because it requires a lot of transformation. A major benefit of cloud adoption is that data, whether structured or unstructured, can be brought together into a data lake where it can be reviewed and curated. This business value is difficult to achieve on-premises because the infrastructure required is often more expensive that a company’s budget will allow. With the cloud, many of the available data tools are consumption-based, so it becomes more affordable.
Once data is organized and digestible, organizations can begin looking at data as an asset and something that can be leveraged for personalization. Using data to implement automation and create robust reports can often provide organizations with new insights that can help them solve problems and even create new service offerings for their market. A great use case of this can be found in the healthcare space. As data is compiled from different patient experiences, providers are able to get insights into that patient’s health that they might not have seen if the data had been siloed.
Having organized and curated data in the cloud provides organizations with an opportunity to further their digital transformation by applying machine learning (ML). ML can use data to enhance the overall customer experience by helping identify patterns, create predictive analytics, and even suggest product recommendations for clients or customers. While you can apply ML to many areas of a business, it’s important to remember that it is only as good as the data that feeds it. If data is outdated, inaccurate, or incorrectly sourced from legacy applications and legacy systems, ML will not be able to provide useful insights to benefit a business. Therefore, ML requires a modern data platform to give organizations the insights they want.
Cloud Modernization is a Competitive Advantage
In the age of the Cloud Revolution, where most organizations are operating at least partially in the cloud, it’s more important than ever that you are taking advantage of all the benefits offered by the cloud to meet your business needs and compete in your industry.
At Core BTS, we understand the importance of modernizing and innovating to ensure you stay competitive. If you’d like to learn how your organization can create a cloud strategy roadmap to make the most out its cloud environment, contact our team today.
(This blog was excerpted from Andy’s Catalyst presentation. To watch his full presentation, click the image below.)