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Are The Benefits Of Application Migration Becoming Cloudy?

Posted by Neil Sheppard on April 4, 2024
Are The Benefits Of Application Migration Becoming Cloudy?

Cloud migration is no longer an essential part of digital transformation; in fact, many organizations are reversing their direction back to on-premise. Is moving to the cloud still valuable for enterprise?

At one time, enterprise cloud computing was as ubiquitous a buzzword as artificial intelligence (AI) is now. Cloud was considered the future, and digital transformation and cloud migration were almost synonymous.

In recent times, however, we've increasingly seen companies that rushed to the cloud just a few years ago transition back to on-premise solutions, disappointed with their transition. In fact, a 2022 survey by 451 Research found that 54% of businesses had moved workloads or data away from the public cloud.

There are a variety of reasons for this, including:

  • Performance issues related to physical distance from cloud servers
  • High costs of cloud storage and process, and maintaining bandwidth
  • Regulatory requirements on data safety
  • Large data storage requirements, such as video
  • A loss of control of cloud data

It's easy to see a narrative here where the cloud has not lived up to the potential that it promised. Is that really the case, however?

The Downsides Of Cloud Migration

Cloud migration was once the target of every modern enterprise. Over time, however, the glamor of the cloud has faded and many organizations are favoring a hybrid approach.

It's clear that the cloud has amazing advantages, but they only manifest under ideal circumstances. To leverage enterprise cloud, you need to have a large amount of cloud storage and process, all the bandwidth your users need to access everything instantly, a reliable cloud provider, and no blockers that make the cloud inappropriate for your organization.

On the one hand, heavily regulated industries could be instantly blocked from using the cloud by regulation. On the other, even those organizations that don't have those constraints may find the costs of maintaining an effective cloud landscape spiraling out of control.

While the cloud unlocks amazing capabilities, optimal cloud is often beyond the reach of all but the most affluent organizations. Even large organizations are finding paying for the right landscape to exploit the cloud isn't worth the cost.

Dropbox, for example, completely removed its IT landscape from Amazon Web Services (AWS) between 2013 and 2016 and allegedly improved its margins by 34% as a result. Other examples of major firms moving back from the cloud include Adobe and Walgreens, the latter due to the enhanced security on-premise offers for sensitive data.

So, it seems pretty conclusive that the cloud isn't all it cracked up to be for enterprise. Does this mean we should all rush back to on-premise servers?

Are The Clouds Parting For Enterprise?

So, cloud migration may not be the unmitigated success that it promised to be years ago. That doesn't mean there's no value to be gained from a hybrid cloud approach.

Highly regulated industries, and those that require a great deal of secure cloud storage and are accessing large amounts of that data simultaneously, will be better off keeping their data on-premise. On the other hand, organizations that only need small amounts of public data that's accessed infrequently can find it's far less costly to store that data in the cloud.

Organizations that sit between these two exemplars on the spectrum will find parts of their data estate can comfortably sit in the cloud, while other areas are best housed on-premise. Most organizations will find a balanced, hybrid approach most affordable.

However, there's yet more to consider, as the elements of your landscape that you do decide to migrate to the cloud cannot simply be 'lifted and shifted' exactly as they are. Just because your applications and data work on-premise, it doesn't mean that they'll be effective in the cloud.

To ensure your cloud-migrated landscape is as effective as your on-premise tech stack, you need to rationalize and re-engineer it to prepare it for the cloud before you migrate. That's why we think of the cloud migration process as part of the larger task of application modernization.

Indeed, application modernization doesn't just mean moving to the cloud, it can also mean moving parts of your cloud estate back on-premise when that makes more sense. It's not a migration, it's an optimization and re-organization of your entire IT landscape, and that requires mapping your existing portfolio and planning how to move the pieces around.

How To Succeed In Your Cloud Migration

Leveraging the cloud isn't about lift-and-shift, it's about making purposeful, rational, data-driven decisions

The idea of cloud migration, as it turns out, was an oversimplification of the value that enterprise cloud can provide. It's not as simple as the initial promise of moving your entire IT landscape into the cloud and instantly profiting.

The reality is far more complicated, and requires an extensive understanding of your IT landscape to plan out the optimal hybrid setup with parts of your portfolio in the cloud and parts of it on-premise. Leveraging the cloud isn't about lift-and-shift, it's about making purposeful, rational, data-driven decisions.

Rather than just migrating to cloud servers, your goal should be to consider your entire application portfolio and road map out a plan for optimizing its setup. That will likely mean moving some things to the cloud, possibly mean moving other things back on-premise, and definitely involve re-engineering your tech stack.

Cloud migration is just a small part of application modernization and success is dependent on a clear and comprehensive view of your application portfolio, as well as the right tool to road map your transformation journey. That's why you need LeanIX.

LeanIX: Supporting You In App Modernization

Migrating your applications to the cloud is just one of many approaches to application modernization and portfolio optimization. To maximize the benefits of future-proofing your IT landscape, modernization requires proper planning, management, and tracking.

Using the LeanIX platform, you can document comprehensive data about each of your applications within Fact Sheets, then derive insights into portfolio optimization. Leverage LeanIX to:

  • assess your application portfolio
  • evaluate the best modernization candidates
  • model your target landscape and build a modernization roadmap
  • easily execute transformations and document your changes
  • offer insights to your stakeholders and track your transformation progress

LeanIX can make you both a master of and expert on your application portfolio, so you can make your cloud transformations fast, but not furious. Don't take our word for it, however.

Download Gartner's report on choosing the right approach to the cloud using LeanIX:

GARTNER REPORT: How To Choose The Right Approach For Application Modernization And Cloud Migration

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