By Ajay Ahuja, Director and Head – India Systems Sales Consulting, Oracle
Most large organizations are far from being fully cloud-ready, with only 6 percent of their workloads currently running on cloud infrastructure, according to a report by 451 Research. Given their prior investment in on-premises IT infrastructure and reliance on these, often business-critical workloads, no wonder most find it hard to move to this new computing paradigm in one go. Regardless, most want to leverage the benefits that come with a modern cloud infrastructure, and to do so as soon as possible. So, how can they balance the risk and walk a middle path, without losing their way?
Are enterprises cloud-ready?
Technology has become a virtually inseparable part of our lives, yet only a small number of people realize the remarkable evolution that is currently taking place in the underlying IT infrastructure powering it all. I am one of the few technologists to have witnessed this evolution – from legacy mainframe data centers to today’s on-demand, scalable and agile, cloud architectures. Cloud is the new normal and it is impacting every business in every industry, and in every geography. It has changed how we behave and consume services. It is a new model that redefines how services are created and consumed.
As such, today, businesses are demanding cloud for its ability to deliver speed to market, agility, innovation and performance. With it they can create and deliver compelling applications that give better end user experiences, workflows, security and analytical capabilities to help grow revenues and reduce costs. They want to be freed from their traditional legacy IT infrastructures, which in contrast, have become siloed, costly and complex to manage and maintain, are prone to ever-increasing security risks, lack flexibility and do not provide real-time insights.
This shift is causing most enterprises to re-evaluate their architectures and application landscape.
While some are ready to move completely to cloud, most desire a step-by-step approach – moving applications, one-by-one, to the public cloud, while retaining some mission critical workloads on-premises. This is particularly true for larger enterprises in banking, insurance, telecommunications and Government domains, which are more restrained by tighter rules and regulations around data privacy and governance.
In search of the right blend
The question is just how best to travel this journey, especially when, in most cases, enterprise customers want the best of both worlds – maximum ROI from legacy investments and the advantages of a modern, scalable, secure cloud infrastructure.
Indeed, a blend of on premises and different models of cloud will be a key part of most companies’ cloud journeys for some time to come. While Public cloud adoption is on the upswing, with it set to achieve double-digit growth this year according to IDC, the same analyst report also states that 58.7 percent of infrastructure spend this year will still stay in on-premises data centers.
Getting cloud ready
As such, in the first instance IT leaders today should concentrate on optimizing their existing infrastructure and becoming cloud ready, by simplifying, standardizing and modernizing existing on-premises infrastructure.
Modern, converged systems that in some cases are architecturally compatible with those powering private cloud and public cloud services can deliver dramatic improvements in performance, availability, security, and efficiency while lowering operating costs, by replacing older, multi-vendor servers, storage, and backup. As well as offering a ‘platform approach’ compatible with some providers’ cloud services, these purpose built systems or appliances, are in some cases optimized to run particular workloads, and also include benefits like built-in security, faster response time, more capacity, reduced environmental and management costs, greater flexibility, improved price/performance.
Most importantly, they propel the company forward into a state of readiness for their path to cloud – a clear option to move to public cloud seamlessly, without any change or need for applications to be rewritten.
De-risk the move with Cloud Insurance
From this ‘cloud ready’ state, the next move is to look at the company’s mission critical workloads to see which make sense to move to cloud and in what order.
Increasingly organizations have the choice as well as the flexibility to deploy workloads as necessary: on-premises within their data centers as a private cloud, migrate to the public cloud or bring the public cloud within their own data center, behind their firewall – an option not many CIOs are aware of. In some cases, these deployment models are designed using the exact same architecture, management tools and processes, empowering workloads to shift between the different cloud models, and future proofing on-premises investments supporting this early step towards moving to the public cloud. This is what I refer to as “Cloud Insurance”.
So what I would say to organizations looking to get started is this. Mull these options over and evaluate what stage of the cloud journey they are in, and whether their on-premises infrastructure is cloud ready, secure and compatible with public cloud options. Then approach the transition in a cloud insured manner. In this way, they will ensure the best chance of a seamless transfer to public cloud, whenever they are ready for it.