Developing a cloud strategy: weighing up both sides of the coin

MIROSLAV PIKUS 21. 06. 2019

The age of the cloud is here. The economies of scale associated with cloud computing not only allow IT services to run more efficiently, but also create entirely new possibilities for their functionality, development and operation.

Many organizations migrate to the cloud spontaneously, their decision to take the leap usually being motivated by a single factor, like an ageing server. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it would be better still to adopt a more systematic approach. Any first-time migration project should start with answering the following questions: How will my applications benefit from cloud computing? What is the target outcome and how can it be achieved?

Starting out: Assess the benefits

A good migration strategy begins with a careful analysis of the benefits that the cloud brings. First, you should examine the current state of your hardware and software infrastructure, application by application. Does it meet availability, security and performance requirements? Does the current in-house operation come with significant issues or costs? Based on your findings, think about how each application will benefit from migrating to the cloud.

IT services can benefit from cloud computing in many ways. It enables dynamic resource allocation and can scale quickly, thus supporting organizational agility. It eliminates the need for significant IT investments and often lowers TCO significantly. Cloud providers offer better security and availability than what most organizations have the resources, experience or even time to build themselves. All of these potential values of the cloud should be taken into consideration and, ideally, quantified.

The cloud transforms IT services, and more

The success of your first steps inside the cloud also depends on how you choose to walk in. Simple one-to-one re-hosting of virtual servers requires little effort, but may not bring about the desired changes. Consider making the application more cloud-aware, by using platform services, instead of bare virtual servers. Change monolithic applications into horizontally scaled ones, replace block storage with object storage. Only then will you unleash the real power of the cloud.

Completing a simple one-to-one migration is like moving between houses and placing old furniture into new rooms in its original layout: You may be missing a big opportunity to improve and innovate. The cloud is not just another house, either: It represents the most disruptive change in computing since the arrival of the iInternet, and a whole new way of “living”.

Sometimes, it may be more effective to migrate to the cloud by completely replacing the IT service with a new SaaS application. Are you thinking about re-hosting on-premises eExchange servers to? Why not just switch all of your mail to O365 or G-Suite?

Difficulties and risks of cloud migration

The operational and transformational benefits of the cloud, however, are just one side of the coin. The decision of whether or not to migrate should be made by weighing up these benefits against the associated difficulties and risks. The latter arise from the fact that the cloud is distant, has a different, shared architecture and is owned by a separate entity – its provider. The migration process itself brings change and therefore carries a certain degree of risk.

While security is clearly one of the cloud’s major benefits, it is also the shared responsibility of the provider and customer to design and implement a secure cloud infrastructure accompanied by appropriate access mechanisms. Possible technical issues associated with a migration include older operating systems not being supported, as well as problems with custom code such as hard-coded IP addresses or file paths and custom configurations. Software licenses are sometimes tied to specific hardware, which can create licensing issues. Connectivity is another particular risk, as some applications may require high network bandwidth or low latency. In many cases, IT staff also needs to be trained to use cloud-based tools.

It is also smart to build brand new applications right into the cloud. Save everyone the future migration hassle. The cloud era is clearly here: New apps should be cloud-based by default, and if not, there should be a clear reason why.

What else is needed for a successful cloud strategy? Oh, just some minor things like management support, solid in-house knowledge of the cloud, and a taste for trying out new things – but a competent partner should be able to help you with all of that.

 

DISCLAIMER

The information contained herein is strictly private and confidential and being furnished to a limited number of prospective investors who have the necessary professional experience of participating in private equity, unregulated schemes and other such sophisticated investments, to high net worth individuals, companies and associations and to other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, (all such persons being referred to together as ‘relevant persons’). Any investment, or investment activity to which this document relates is only available to relevant persons and all persons who are not relevant persons should not rely or act on this document. This is not an advertisement and is not intended for public use or distribution. This document may not be reproduced, redistributed, or copied in whole or in part for any purpose without NKB GROUP AG’s prior express consent.

This document has been prepared in good faith, however the information contained herein is subject to change without notice and is provided as of the dates indicated. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is given by or on behalf of NKB GROUP AG, or any of its affiliates, directors, officers, employees, advisers or any other persons as to the accuracy, fairness or completeness of the information or opinions herein and save in the case of fraud, no liability whatsoever is accepted by any such person for any loss, howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from any use of such information or opinions or otherwise arising in connection herewith.

This document is intended for discussion purposes only and does not purport to contain all information that may be required to form the basis of an investment decision. Nothing in this document constitutes any type of recommendation or investment, account, legal, regulatory, tax or other advice. Recipients should consult their own professional advisers regarding the potential consequences of participating in any investment opportunity referred to in this document, including but not limited to the potential legal, regulatory, credit, tax and accounting impact of such an investment based upon their individual circumstances.

No action has been taken to permit the distribution of this document in any jurisdiction where any such action is required. Such distribution may be restricted in certain jurisdictions and, accordingly, this document does not constitute, and may not be used for the purposes of, an offer or solicitation to any person in any jurisdiction.

In considering any performance data contained in this document, note that past or targeted performance is not necessarily indicative of future results and the value of investments and the income derived from those investments can go down as well as up. Future returns are not guaranteed and a total loss of principal may occur.

NKB Group AG. is registered in Austria with registered number 486551t.  NKB Group Holdings UK Limited is registered in England and Wales with registered number 11314202 whose registered office is at 1 Connaught Place, London, W2 2ET.

 

Miroslav Pikus
Chief Technology Officer


MIROSLAV PIKUS 21. 06. 2019

More reports