Opinion article by Emil Constantinescu, Senior Specialist Lead, Deloitte Romania, and Krzysztof Gabrych, Customer Engineer, Google Cloud
Technology, when used in a proper manner, has the potential to transform the way organizations do business. For emerging technologies such as those related to cloud, organizations face challenges related to the solutions themselves but also to the multiple connecting layers which bind the emerging technologies. The key in addressing these challenges is being open to activate multiple layers of cloud architecture. But there is no “one size fits all”, as the process of transforming a business through cloud technology requires more than its mere adoption and it is forged by strategical thinking and an overview intricately carved before initiation. There are three steps that companies need to consider before making any decision regarding the migration of their business to the cloud.
Step one: initial analysis
Taking time and preparing the stage to ensure that the migration to the cloud is returning maximum benefits to business is the first step. Therefore, organizations need to think beyond the simplistic “lift and shift” scenario, which mainly involves rehosting an application and its associated data to a cloud platform without rearchitecting it. Instead, they should pay more attention to reviewing the cloud migration options by mapping the “as is” environments and performing a 3 to 5 years total cost projection of the technology to ensure that the return of investment is in line with the expectations, as infrastructure is just one piece of the puzzle, and otherwise, a silo approach will not bring the expected business benefits.
Step two: the right technology
Organizations need to consider using cloud technologies that are versatile and that can allow them to approach the cloud environment according to their needs when deciding to migrate.
The hybrid cloud model, which features interconnected public, private and multi-vendor clouds working together, sharing data and unifying processes to perform the desired task, might be the next superior option for organizations that are trying to find solutions to augment their existing cloud strategies. For businesses that are confronted with strong industry regulations, the need of having critical data and primary machines on-premises is understandable from an independence perspective regarding technology concentration risk, chained outsourcing risks or vendor agnostic preferences. However, hybrid cloud offers a range of benefits that cannot be questioned, such as reducing the above mentioned risks, running more complex architecture, simply enhancing availability through geographical distribution or applying unified and reliable business continuity policies for the business.
For more complex data processing, a multi-cloud scenario, regardless of where they are hosted, will ensure a high degree of disaster recovery capability and improved systems resilience throughout the built in features of the hyperscalers’ clouds, consolidated by best practices developed over years of experience gained from the collective behavior of multiple hosted organizations. According to the latest edition of the Deloitte Future of Cloud Survey, this type of approach can do more than that. It can also offer access to more choice in terms of cloud services (85%), provide application and data processing scalability (84%) and increased flexibility and negotiating leverage for new migrated workloads (83%). In short, it can allow the organization to use the best services and products from each of the hyperscalers. Some of them even offer a no vendor lock-in approach which accelerates the movement and supports the scenario to ensure the most demanding needs are fulfilled.
In order to manage the complexity of the multi-cloud approach, some enterprises are beginning to simplify it by integrating management in a single panel control, offered by an additional virtual layer on top of the cloud, known as the metacloud, hypercloud or supercloud, which can provide an unified approach to a range of services, such as data security, governance, development or deployment for the various cloud platforms that an organization uses.
Step three: cost optimization
In the early stages of the migration – specifically the phase of architecture and process mapping, initial right-sizing analysis and set-up of the migration strategy -, it is also advisable for an organization to assess the option of optimizing their cost for migration and system run into the cloud. Observability, a new emerging trend in cloud and a core part of the metacloud especially, as suggested by the latest edition of the Deloitte Tech Trends report, might have the potential to boost this right-pricing analysis in the early stages of defining the strategy. Its main objective is to offer companies the means of getting the complexity of this domain under control, thus providing the possibility of finding insights based on multiple past data under various scenarios and creating the perfect architecture setup for the right cost for the migration and system run in the cloud.
Additionally, evaluating the total costs of the transformation can be highly impacted by initial strategic decisions regardless of the systems that companies will want to use. For instance, the system’s geographic location is one of the decisions that should be judiciously evaluated in the initial analysis of the migration, as usually cloud data centers offer different pricing for the same system depending on the geographic location, influenced by the local costs, such as electricity, local workforce etc.
Companies need to think about cloud migration in an orchestrated manner that can ensure the expected benefits of using such technology. Adopting a strategic thinking, paying attention from the beginning to decisions that can influence the entire migration and cloud run process, and accessing best-in-class knowledge are the tools with which any business must equip itself when embarking on such endeavor.