Businesses across the globe are experiencing unparalleled change today across operations, services, fulfilment and customer experience, at the core of which is technology. Yet, not many businesses harness the power of technology fully and continue using legacy systems. Legacy systems are simply systems that are outdated but still in use. Legacy software and hardware are not reliable and run slowly or may not at all be supported by the vendor. In this article, we talk about why and how you can harness the power of the cloud for your business.
What is cloud migration?
It simply is the process of moving digital operations to the cloud. It’s like a physical move, but instead of goods, data, applications and IT processes are moved and much like a physical move, a lot of advance work is required but it ends up being worth the effort by resulting in high savings and flexibility. Sometimes it might also mean moving from one cloud provider to another for added benefits.
What if I am creating a new system?
In that case, a business should opt for a cloud-native approach. Cloud-native is an approach that exploits the benefits of the cloud delivery model. It is more about how the applications are created and deployed rather than where, which is implied to be the cloud. Cloud-native uses open-source software stacks in a containerised fashion. The architecture is more micro-service oriented for agility and maintainability. Using these modern tools in an agile fashion improves the performance of your system by many folds.
Different strategies of adapting to the cloud
Gartner, a technology research company, lists 5 strategies for businesses to migrate to the cloud, commonly known as “5 Rs”
Re-host - Re-hosting is having the same applications on cloud-based servers. Companies doing this select a cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services or Digital Ocean and recreate the application architecture on the cloud provider. In terms of a physical move, this means shifting your office to a new but empty flat and recreating the interior just as before.
Refactor - Refactoring would mean that companies use the existing code and frameworks but run it on a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider. In our office shifting analogy, this would be something similar to telling an interior designer to make a similar office for you, but not doing the work yourself. This makes the process of deployments abstract and makes the developers more productive.
Revise - This strategy includes partially rewriting or expanding the code and architecture then deploying using re-hosting or refactoring. This will help in addressing the limitations and drawbacks of the current system and tapping the advantages of the cloud system. If your new physical office had 100 sq ft. of extra space, your new plan would obviously take that into consideration.
Rebuild - Rebuilding would involve starting from scratch as the name suggest. The entire application must be rearchitected and rewritten from the ground up making it a tedious process, but this process ensures that the application is written in a way to exploit all the features of the cloud. This would mean breaking down the new office you buy entirely and make it in a newer design for more benefits.
Replace - Here, you discard your current application and switch to an existing Software-as-a-Service solution. This would mean shifting your office to a fully managed office space or moving to a co-working space.
Benefits of moving to the cloud
Improved customer experience: Customers don’t care about what goes on under the hood. In the end, they want a reliable system with maximum features. Developing on the cloud makes releases faster and more scalable. Better monitoring techniques also help in lesser downtime in case of a failure. These factors improve the customer experience many folds.
Lower Costs: Cloud saves you cost in maintenance and upgrades since the provider takes care of them. Cloud also releases you from the shackles of vendor lock-ins that traditional providers have, charging you by the minute instead, thus giving you more predictability of costs. Using modern methods of deployment such as a microservice architecture and containerization further lowers costs.
Easier compliance: With new privacy and data protection laws coming up in each country, it is extremely important to comply as soon as possible to serve customers in those countries. Major cloud providers already comply with standards such as GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 1 and more to take that trouble off your heads.
Depending on your needs, you need to create a strategy to move to the cloud. Some companies choose a single cloud provider, for simplicity, others use multiple providers to get the best of all worlds and yet others have a hybrid cloud-on premise model, which might need tight integration. Regardless of the strategy, you choose, we can handhold you during the transition and till a point of self-reliance. Comment below which strategy you think would work for your business and feel free to reach out for more guidance.