Cloud migration primer and trends: Understanding cloud architecture and your needs
Why migrate to the cloud?
Cloud has become the new normal as companies of every size have realized the benefits of the cloud. For most organizations, the question isn’t “if” anymore; it’s “how fast can we move?” and “what are we moving first?”
There is more of a shift toward operating expenditure versus capital expenditure, or there is a stronger desire to reduce overhead and operational complexity. Cloud computing helps with these goals, and for many companies, moving to the cloud simply becomes the best infrastructure option.
Benefits of cloud
According to Accenture, more than a third (36%) of organizations that have adopted the cloud have improved their time-to-market — a major driver — by using the cloud, and one-third (33%) are seeking app development skills that likely will help.
Business value of cloud migration
While calculating the ROI of a particular migration to the cloud will vary widely depending on a number of variables, major cloud providers have published studies that have reported significant business benefits.
For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) commissioned IDC to interview 10 organizations from a cross-section of industries about their use of AWS for business-critical workloads and applications. According to the study, customers who switched from on-premise or hosted implementations to Amazon AWS cloud platform reported the following benefits over five years:
- ROI of 560%
- 64% lower TCO
- 68% more efficient IT staff operations
- 81.7% less downtime
While results will vary, moving to the cloud is an important business and IT decision that can make up for the upfront and ongoing costs of migration.
Types of cloud services and deployment models
There are three major cloud service types, covering the three major components of an IT system: the application (software), the operating system (platform), and the infrastructure.
Cloud providers can offer organizations any or all these components “as a service,” allowing organizations to shift the management of these platforms and lower operational costs, become more agile, and focus on their core competencies instead. Before you can plan a cloud migration, it’s important to understand cloud architecture and how it will affect your cloud computing needs.
Cloud solutions can be designed in three ways:
- Single-server cloud architecture: A single server is often utilized by small businesses to process and store all data, eliminating the need for a dedicated team and on-premises infrastructure. This kind of cloud solution offers the benefits of the cloud without a large investment. A single server cloud solution is ideal for small organizations that require minimal apps and are looking to keep management simple and costs low.
- Single-cloud architecture: As businesses grow and expand, their data processing and storage needs change. In a single-cloud solution, one cloud service provider furnishes all apps and cloud services under a single umbrella. On the plus side of single-cloud deployments, the cloud service provider generally provides APIs and tools that allow businesses to integrate various services on one platform, offering a streamlined user experience. This is common with large providers, which offer associated services such as email or productivity suites. The downside of a single-cloud solution is vendor limitations. When organizations opt for a single-cloud structure, they risk locking themselves in with a single vendor, leaving them subject to cloud service provider outages. Also, if a needed service or app is retired, businesses may be forced to seek an alternate cloud solution or new provider.
- Multi-cloud architecture: Multi-cloud solutions are quickly becoming the default option. A multi-cloud structure is a flexible solution where organizations select services from multiple cloud vendors. The upside is that organizations can select the services that are most beneficial to them. The downside is that these services often require additional configuration to communicate with each other and end users be able to use the tools of various platforms.
After determining a cloud structure, you need to decide which cloud service provider has what you need.
Cloud solutions and service providers
Businesses often seek to find the best cloud solution to fit their unique organizational needs. A large part of this decision is selecting a cloud service provider. There are four primary cloud service providers that control the majority of global cloud resources. However, there are other lesser known cloud solutions that offer specific services to niche markets. The four most widely used cloud service providers all offer SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and many other cloud services on a global scale.
Cloud migration trends
According to Gartner, there are four major trends impacting cloud migration in 2020.
- Cost optimization takes hold. Cloud vendors and third-party cost optimization firms will expand their offerings to help organizations lower their migration and operational costs. Companies should develop the talent and processes early to take advantage of savings provided natively by cloud vendors and the third-party analytics tools, especially in multi-cloud environments.
- Multi-cloud will grow. Multi-cloud reduces vendor lock in and reduces the service disruption risks of a single vendor. It is expected to be the architecture of choice for two-thirds of organizations through 2024.
- Distributed cloud to expand service availability. Cloud vendors are expected to offer distributed mini cloud implementations to address low latency requirements of some applications or to increase temporary uptick in data demand in certain high traffic locations.
- IaaS talent in short supply. Through 2022, insufficient IaaS talent is expected to delay half of enterprise cloud migrations by two years or more.
To overcome the challenges of this workforce shortage, enterprises looking to migrate workloads to the cloud should work with managed service providers and SIs that have a proven track record of successful migrations within the target industry. - Gartner
References: Gartner, 4 Trends Impacting Cloud Adoption in 2020; IDC, Quantifying the business value of Amazon Web Services Accenture, Enterprise Cloud Computing Unlocks Deep Strategic Value Through Increased Business Agility: High Adopters Reap More Benefits; CompTIA, What is Cloud Computing; A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Types, Solutions and Vendors McKinsey, Creating Value with the Cloud CloudTech, If you’re planning a major move to the cloud – ask these 13 questions first