Optimum results depend on an agile methodology to guide application reforming, cloud environment preparation and automating application requests, writes Dushan Ratnam, senior product manager for hybrid cloud at BT.
It’s a well-known fact that most organisations have moved their operations to a multi-cloud environment, so does this mean cloud migration issues are a thing of the past?
Although 93% of enterprises use at least two clouds, including both public and private cloud services, are they all getting optimum results?
I think there are clear signs that organisations are still struggling to realise the ultimate goal of getting all their applications to run natively in the cloud. For many, their cloud particularly smaller projects, performance right now is like buying a sports car, but only being able to drive it at 30mph, and they’ve got a long way to go to realise maximum cloud maturity.
Here are what I see as the three distinct areas holding organisations back from truly unlocking the benefits of multi-clouds.
#1 Challenges in reforming legacy applications
Many organisations have had their quick cloud transformation wins and are now faced with tackling the heavy lifting of more complex migrations.
They’ve done the straightforward lifting and shifting of some legacy applications into the cloud and have also done the slightly more challenging ‘lift, tinker and shift’ of making minor changes to other applications before migrating them to the cloud.
They’ve weeded out and retired any applications that aren’t needed anymore. In some cases, they’ve made the straightforward decision that an application just isn’t viable for the cloud and needs a ‘drop and shop’ approach, where a replacement service is bought direct from a cloud provider. And most organisations have probably left a few applications sitting on the back burner to wait for a later stage of migration.
That leaves the legacy applications that need such significant modifications it amounts to a rebuild if they’re to run natively in the cloud. These gargantuan applications require reshaping in a radical way and organisations are discovering they don’t have the skills to do it. They don’t have the necessary detailed understanding of public cloud or of how to transform the application to maximise cloud benefits. Refactoring these applications demands intricate levels of planning and strategising.
#2 Failures to prepare for arrival in the cloud
Organisations are struggling to prepare their cloud environments for the migration of their applications and achieve the speed, consistency and secure environment they’re looking for. Moving to the cloud is like moving into a newly built house – the utilities aren’t connected, and you don’t have the things you need to make a comfy home, like curtains and carpets. There are important preparations to make before your moving day.
Similarly, you need to test and prepare your cloud environment to create a ‘landing zone’ or ‘migration factory’ before your applications can be moved. This involves lots of decision making to define and standardise how the application will support your business strategy, your security and compliance requirements, back up frequency, monitoring systems, access control and much more. Only then will you be able to welcome your application through your cloud’s front door.
#3 Hold ups to operating in the cloud
Moving to the cloud is supposed to increase flexibility and agility – so why does requesting a cloud service from a global organisation’s IT department take three weeks on average?
I think traditional ITIL waterfall decision making is still in place, designed to protect the system as a whole with a process that doesn’t move onto the next stage before the current one has been signed off. But organisations don’t have to operate like that in the cloud. Instead, they can bring in automation to fulfil requests within minutes. However, this takes a complete change of mindset and a new approach to service delivery.
To achieve speed, innovation and agility, organisations will need to change their mindset across all levels of the enterprise. At a strategic level, they should look at breaking down historic silos and retraining their infrastructure teams to converge development, network, security, and operations into a single team. At a technology level, they should invest in multi-cloud management platforms which can operate across a multiple cloud infrastructure. And from a customer experience level, they should start building outcome-based customer facing teams that focus on an experience level agreement instead of a service level agreement, persona-based support, and a self-service infrastructure.
Only when you can refactor the applications that remain after you’ve achieved the easy cloud migration wins will you see the maximum benefits of the cloud. At this point, your costs will go down, you’ll be able to scale rapidly and go to market fast. But this must be supported by the right operating environment and automation.
Additionally, look to partner with a reputable provider who can support you with a blueprint for multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud management to help you get there. Your partner of choice should guide you through creating an agile methodology to see you through your journey to the cloud, preparing for your arrival in the cloud and how best to operate once there. Not to mention how to overcome the abovementioned final barriers to multi-cloud success.