It seemed not so long ago that we were still sending Word documents around companies in chain mails that could go on for miles. Technology and progress today has made it possible for multiple users to edit the same document at the same time because it happens in the cloud.
Businesses everywhere are making the next great migration: data-center to cloud.
But why? What’s so great about the cloud that a full 94% of enterprises anticipate migrating to the cloud within the next five years?
based on a survey of 489 companies in this O’Reilly eBook, "Cloud Native Evolution: How Companies Go Digital"
Here are some benefits that businesses enjoy after moving to the cloud:
- Increased Efficiency and Flexibility: When all your data is hosted on the cloud it is far easier to scale up or down depending on your needs. Need N degrees more instances hosting your infrastructure? Realized you’re running too many instances? Cloud-computing can adjust this for you quickly and easily by spinning up, managing and destroying ephemeral virtual machines, which is simply impossible in traditional data centers with physical infrastructure. This is accomplished by cloud deployments through immutable infrastructure.
- Disaster Mitigation: If your data-center goes down, how will your applications continue to operate? Can they? Businesses that are cloud-native often use the best practice of multi-cloud deployments to ensure that their applications live on multiple cloud platforms. Not only does this help them avoid vendor lock-in, it additionally functions as a way to redirect traffic in emergency situations.
- Reduced Server Management: In the cloud, your server instances are updated quickly and protected by the supplier. Managing your server is no longer your responsibility which also frees up capital because most cloud platforms have a “pay as you go” model, allowing you to micromanage your server expenditures. Although renting infrastructure in the cloud can feel more expensive than buying it and putting it in a data center, a full analysis needs to include the benefits to the business of lower server management headcount and increased ability to respond to business opportunities and challenges as they arise.
- Collaboration-Friendly: Just like the comparison with Word documents versus Google Docs or Dropbox’s Paper, moving to a cloud-based workflow allows your teams to edit and access projects and applications from anywhere. This allows application teams to own their deployment pipelines in a self-service manner compared to the traditional “developer vs. ops” misalignment. Doing so allows developers to move faster while the operations team optimizes for stability further reducing downtime and broken SLAs.
- Agile Competitiveness: By moving to the cloud, your business is adopting an agile edge that allows for quicker iteration and changes. Doing so gives you the leverage you may need to stay competitive in the short and long run. As your company’s ability to deploy software starts to define your ability to compete in a software-first world, making continuous software deployments a core competency may very well define your ability to successfully compete over the next decade.
Are there reasons I shouldn’t move to the cloud?
There are some, and we’ll address them here:
- Your applications are not cloud-ready: This can be a problem for businesses that have applications that were not developed with the cloud in mind. While most applications can be virtualized and migrated to the cloud (called “Lift and Shift”), some applications simply cannot be moved to the cloud, or cannot undergo a transformation to become cloud-native without being redeveloped from scratch. Armory can help you evaluate whether or not your applications are cloud-ready.
- The most sensitive data: Sometimes, data is so proprietary it should not be accessible from anywhere but on-site. Although keeping data on-prem can feel safer than moving it to a public or private cloud, this is not always the case, and a full evaluation should be done to really understand where your most proprietary data is safest.
- You do not plan to scale your business: If your business does not expect to scale, it may be less cost effective to invest in moving to the cloud. However, if a business plans to scale we believe that adopting the cloud earlier will save the business a lot of technical debt in the long run.
Armory recommends businesses with any of the above concerns to take a hybrid-cloud stance: migrating the applications most ready for the cloud while still retaining data-centers for applications and sensitive data that should stay in place.