How to decide which technologies should move to the cloud

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While many enterprises are contemplating their move to the cloud, most cloud strategies are still a work in progress and often involve technologies from on-premise datacentre investments.

It’s not strategically valid to rush into a cloud service simply due to price. Organisations should evaluate cloud plans to ensure they align with actual business needs and the goals set to meet those demands.

Understanding the right steps for cloud deployment will help keep track of what enterprises require to create a technology plan that aligns with the organisation’s infrastructure both now and in the future.

When assessing a cloud strategy, businesses should consider their existing infrastructure investments, as computer, network architecture, storage and application portfolios all play a role in efficiency and cost implications. Organisations evaluating the benefits of a migration should consider current utilisation and costs associated with existing datacentre investments compared with the costs on other public and hosted cloud platforms.

There’s a significant investment associated with an on-premise server beyond licensing costs, such as power, cooling, physical capacity and human management resources. However, outsourcing a server’s data and functionality to the cloud may lead to abandoning on-premise investment, unless these servers can be re-purposed.

As server hardware becomes obsolete, so do support agreements and amortisation spans beyond the standard three- to five-year window. Some organisations deal with this by adopting a hardware lifecycle policy, which can also be done for cloud migration, if a cloud services roadmap is integrated into an IT policy.

In IDC’s 2016 Enterprise Cloud Computing Survey, researchers found that the top business goals driving cloud investments were primarily three-fold: lowering the total cost of ownership; replacing on-premise legacy technology; and enabling business continuity.

Hardware scalability is key when moving application servers to the cloud. Cloud services are ideal for hosting hardware-intensive workloads as they generally offer high and almost unlimited scalability. However, this scalability comes at a price, even when a service provider can scale its offerings to meet even the most demanding workloads.

Organisations should contemplate the risks and benefits of cloud migration. In many cases, it will make sense to immediately move certain services to the cloud while continuing to operate others on premise. A full cloud implementation is a complex and ever-evolving matter so flexibility is important.

Stuart Mills, Regional Director, ANZ, CenturyLink