The adoption of cloud-computing by all types of enterprises is increasing, and completely transforming the way those enterprises deliver services to their customers. It has become, over the past decade, absolutely central to every enterprise technology strategy.
Now the concept of purchasing compute resources through the cloud is standard and accepted. Every web service we access as consumers online is utilizing services powered through some form of public, private or hybrid cloud. To all of us, that now seems fairly obvious. But what is not fairly obvious is that companies who are not themselves equipped with technology intelligence—like Amazon, Google or Microsoft— face the complexity of picking the right cloud strategy for their own business. And, further, how they build a migration plan that addresses the unique and particular challenges of their business.
Developing a Migration Plan is Challenging
Developing a cloud migration plan that mitigates risk, minimizes service interruptions, remains secure, and doesn’t cripple the business with untenable costs is extremely challenging. The landscape is confusing. Standards have not yet fully consolidated. And fears of runaway costs haunt the bottom line.
"Every web service we access as consumers online is utilizing services powered through some form of public, private or hybrid cloud."
The landscape is set to become more confusing as enterprises align their cloud strategy with their overall digital transformation to embrace IoT.
Cost Containment a Challenge and Increasingly a Focus
Cost containment in cloud initiatives has become a top priority. RightScale says that the priority of cost containment depends on the maturity of the phase of adoption. For example, for cloud beginners, the #1 priority is moving more workloads to the cloud, implementing a cloud first strategy, then optimizing costs. But for cloud explorers and cloud focused organizations, cost containment is #1 priority. Among all cloud users, they report that 53 percent indicate cost containment is the top priority, with even more — 64 percent — among the mature cloud users. One cost containment strategy involves moving from private to public. But cost savings do not always result from such a move and cloud cost wastage is sometimes under-estimated. RightScale reports, for instance, that while respondents report 30 percent wastage, the company itself measures the number to be higher — between 30 percent and 45 percent. At Encora, we have seen examples of public cloud setups that not setup for optimal cost containment, for example, where resources are left running unnecessarily, resulting in needless expense.
Cloud portability for the avoidance of vendor lock-in is also a cost containment strategy. Cloud portability is the ability to move applications from one cloud environment to another with minimal disruption. Applications can move from a private to a public cloud instance, or between two totally different cloud service providers. This can be a very leveraged strategy for containing costs, and avoiding vendor lock in. Though this can also be quite challenging to achieve. Finally, there are always options for lower-cost clouds or regions, and as cloud adoption matures, cloud service providers are open to negotiation and are now offering a broad range of pricing models, with discount plans and pre-purchase options.
Building an Optimal Migration Strategy
There are common challenges enterprises and ISVs are likely to face with their cloud migration. But those challenges may have varying levels of acuteness, depending on the stage of migration. We believe there are three broad stages a company fits into with their cloud migration—Early, Mid and Mature. The challenges, strategies, tools and tactics will be different in each of those stages. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to cloud migration. Each company must build its own set of tools, services and strategies that fits its business challenge. But typically, phases move from early tactical experimentation, to strategic implementation where real, measurable business value is achieved.
Encora’s Approach is to Help Clients Maximize Their Results with the Cloud
To deal with the complexity, we have written a white paper that looks at the trends being seen in the market for cloud adoption and migration, and concludes with recommendations we commonly make to our clients as we advise on, and implement, complex cloud migration projects.