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A cloud-first strategy is increasingly seen as the standard way to achieve efficient business operations. As the favoured approach of new start-ups and expanding businesses wanting to benefit from the flexibility and resilience of the cloud, it’s little wonder that foundational cloud services saw a revenue growth of 38.5% in 2021 according to IDC.
It looks like a fantastic package from the outside. Faster data analysis, more reliable systems, enhanced security, lower spending on maintaining on-premises architecture – cloud-first provides numerous benefits for any business or public sector organisation.
But what if you aren’t a fresh start-up beginning with a clean slate? Established businesses with a set of unique applications and processes can struggle to move these processes onto the cloud. Here a simple ‘lift and shift’ doesn’t work, and that’s where the simplicity of a cloud-first approach begins to unravel.
Getting the best of both worlds
What the big cloud providers don’t tell you is that public cloud migration is not ‘all or nothing’. It is perfectly possible to benefit from the assured costs and operations of on-premises systems while reaping the rewards of public cloud’s increased agility, adaptability and elasticity for the data and applications that require it. And the process alone can be highly beneficial to your overall IT health.
Hybrid cloud refers to a combination of public cloud and private cloud, where applications run on various environments. Deciding what runs where means gaining an accurate view of your IT infrastructure to determine what can benefit most from cloud migration, which also identifies any ‘zombie’ assets you may have.
Hybrid cloud allows your business to benefit from cost cutting in both worlds, in the increased efficiency of private cloud infrastructure and the increased competitiveness of public cloud –savings which are set to continue as both services improve in efficiency, technology and structure.
Security is also a frequent concern for poorly managed cloud infrastructure. Gartner predicts that 90% of those businesses which fail to control public cloud use in their companies will inappropriately share sensitive data by 2025. This concern can be mitigated by continuing to keep such data stored on your own infrastructure and safely in your control.
Further, established businesses frequently have unique elements in their IT set-up that they continuously use, sometimes as a result of a creative IT team, sometimes a direct measure to overcome a specific difficulty the company faced. These elements can be difficult to move directly to the cloud, especially if they fall outside a cloud provider’s standard definitions. That can mean spending precious resources on re-engineering relatively minor parts of your infrastructure with no major benefit.
“There’s been a cycle of public cloud is the answer, what’s the question?”
Public cloud migration is not the answer to all IT problems.
Moving to the cloud is no easy task. While there are benefits to full system migration, it is an expensive process, and not one that every business can afford – this is especially true for those who rush the process without fully understanding their systems. Keen to benefit from cloud advantages, Gartner predicts that 60% of Infrastructure and Operation leaders will encounter public cloud cost overruns that negatively impact their on-premises budgets, all the way to 2024.
Beyond the simple matter of migration, businesses face the challenge of preventing cloud overspend or sprawl. The Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report found that 32 percent of cloud spend was wasted. Wasted spend is less than ideal for any business, but for one who has just made a significant investment in updating their on-premises systems – it’s a drawback they need to be aware of before the move is made.
Another secret the big cloud providers don’t want to tell you – getting tools and visibility to properly manage cloud spending is difficult and time consuming.
If you get your cloud move wrong, you can lose visibility and understanding of your key technology and end up with a weaker control of costs. You also need to think about your organisation’s skills and how well you will be able to manage and develop the new infrastructure. The reality is many businesses will not be 100% public cloud ready within five years. This is not a failure – it’s simply something you need to plan and invest for.
Pulsant can help here with a workload assessment to run a detailed analysis of your existing systems and resources. That transparency can help identify potential cost savings and begin creating a truly strategic cloud policy.