Solving the CIO Dilemma On Application Cloud Modernization Strategy
Digital Transformation | 6 min READ
    
The Dilemma of Excessive Choices – Cloud Migration & Modernization Strategy
For several companies, the pandemic induced an accelerated response to the industry-wide trend of cloud migration. The disruptions caused by travel bans and global lockdowns necessitated employers to suspend IT investments directed towards on-premise capabilities. This came with a concurrent increase in the intent to invest in solutions that enabled remote work, especially on public-cloud infrastructure and cloud-based security solutions. In pursuit of settling on a cloud adoption strategy, CIOs are realizing that a large scale transition to the cloud can be successful only if they optimize for efficiencies, as opposed to a 'lift-and-shift' approach that ends up increasing costs instead of decreasing it.
Jay Dholakia
Jay Dholakia

Global Program Director

Digital Transformation

Birlasoft

 
For many, the first hurdle in the strategizing process is the problem of choice. Over two-thirds of CIOs express a desire to work with multiple providers to avoid vendor lock-in, but few of them end up allocating expenses evenly to realize true, cross-cloud portability. Many companies are spoilt for choice when it comes to settling on a cloud migration strategy, and the decision stress that it brings about is likely a reason as to why many stick to a single-vendor and end up implementing a direct-match integration in the first place. To combat this dilemma, CIOs will have to 'rightsize their way to the cloud' by thoroughly examining the computing and storage practices within the company.
The 5 R's of Cloud Migration
Rehost
Projections indicate that most cloud-spending is bound to come from 'slow and steady' companies that have only toyed with cloud migration strategies before. For such companies that have conservative cultures, and are only just beginning to implement a cloud strategy, rehosting is the way to go. This is essentially a 'lift-and-shift' approach that aims to replicate the existing on-premise stack to a cloud environment.
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Refactor
Arguably the most expensive strategy to adopt, refactoring would require the companies to build their applications from scratch to develop cloud capabilities that might not exist in their current setup. The upside to such a strategy is that they are more compatible with future versions and would contribute heavily towards building business resilience.
Revise
Revising would mean that the company adopts a mix of the two strategies that are outlined above. The first step would be to make modifications to the existing code with the aim of setting up a solid base for legacy modernization. Once this is done, the next thing to do would be to refactor existing options in order to mobilize the cloud. A revision works towards organizing and optimizing the tweaked cloud applications to closely match the cloud attributes of the existing infrastructure.
Rebuild
A more extreme variant of the refactoring approach, rebuild necessitates abandoning existing code (and frameworks) in favor of a completely new ad dynamic variant of the existing application. This would allow for greater feasibility to realize the unique attributes inherent to the provider. This comes with the risk of a complete lock-in, which might not appeal to some CIOs.
Replace
Under select circumstances, companies would fare better by abandoning their existing applications and taking up commercially developed solutions by vendors. Under this strategy, companies will not have to worry about allocating resources towards a development team as there would be no need for one. However, the lack of control arising from such a strategy would result in issues with data accessibility, lock-ins and inconsistencies with syntactic data.
5 r's of cloud migration
5 r's of cloud migration
Top Factors To Consider in the Application Cloud Modernization Strategy
Investment
Skillset
Taking full stock of the skills that the existing team possesses is indispensable in deciding on an appropriate strategy for cloud migration. Low-cost public cloud solutions are seeing many takers due to lower costs, more features, and easier integration. This has led to the market moving towards a hybrid-cloud model, thereby necessitating companies to develop the skills needed to manage a hybrid-cloud setup.
Effort
Ultimately, CIOs need to weigh the proposed benefits of a cloud migration strategy with respect to the volume of efforts that it would require in its implementation. Some of the strategies outlined above are more difficult to implement and might not yield the kind of results that CIOs might expect. Therefore, it is imperative to choose a strategy that works well with the stated objectives and constraints that a company is operating with.
Impact
Operational Savings
When implemented effectively, cloud migration will not only bring about significant reductions in costs but also improve operational excellence, thereby allowing the organization to reduce operational costs. This is indeed one of the main attractions of shifting to the cloud, a phenomenon that is driven mostly by higher utilization rates and lower unit costs.
Resilience
Another major advantage of migrating to the cloud is operational resilience. The pandemic forced companies to realize the futility of backing on-premise solutions and increased their interest in cloud solutions to enable their workforce to remain operational even if they were away from their offices.
Factors to consider as you build your application cloud modernization strategy
Factors to consider as you build your application cloud modernization strategy
Risks Involved
Every possible approach towards a cloud migration strategy comes with myriad risks, some of which could derail the company. For instance, the most common 'lift-and-shift' (or Rehosting) strategy employed by first-time adopters can be incredibly costly, and evidence shows that such companies run the risk of losing most, if not all of the savings that motivated them in the first place.
Apart from reduced visibility and control, organizations will also find themselves seriously compromised due to risks and threats that are unique to cloud-powered operations. For instance, on-demand self-service (an advantage that cloud proponents tout) ends up simplifying unauthorized access, which could, in turn, lead to increased instances of malware infections and or even data exfiltration.
Another major ask for most CIOs from their CSPs is greater support when it comes to regulatory compliance. With the implementation of the GDPR, companies are scrambling to keep up with the industry-specific regulations that are stipulated. Since the GDPR is only under three years old, CIOs would need to invest more towards ensuring that their cloud migration strategy is compliant with the existing data protection framework. Even the slightest failure in this area could seriously jeopardize the company's standing in relation to its customers, as well as the regulators.
Depending on the existing IT architecture, other potential risks include cloud security, data loss, and a lack of control/visibility into workloads.
Level of Urgency
As the economy continues to reel from the effects of the pandemic, all eyes are focused on the path towards recovery. Cloud computing is no longer a far-flung alternative to servers and storage but a model for enabling continuous access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. As cloud goes mainstream, CIOs face added pressure to settle on a suitable cloud migration strategy that would not only bring about the requisite cost savings and operational resilience but also cater to the needs of an ever-evolving market.
The proliferation of cloud computing and a seemingly overwhelming combination of cloud migration strategies complicate the jobs of CIOs seeking to guide their companies towards a cloud model that suits them best. Even after the pandemic, global spending on cloud solutions hasn't been growing any faster. This is understandable as competing business priorities mean that companies haven't looked beyond shifting relatively easier workloads. But the risk of missing out on effective data management is real, and companies that deploy a cloud solution effectively stand to gain the oft-touted benefits of the cloud.
 
 
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