Cloud or no Cloud?

2022-08-12 |  Roshni Daswani

A move to the Cloud can be part of the answer for organisations dealing with performance and scalability issues. It could also be a solution if there is a need to reduce operational and running costs, improve data security measures, or all of the above.

But making such a move is not an easy decision. There are many things to consider:

  • How do we start assessing our current data hosting landscape?
  • Is our organisation and infrastructure Cloud-ready?
  • How easy will this transition be?
  • Do we have the internal resources and skills to achieve this?
  • What is an acceptable cost-benefit case?

Where should I start?

The first step to shaping the future of your desired hosting strategy is to draw a detailed picture of the current data centre landscape. This is referred to as the discovery and assessment phase, which can be achieved by a manual approach (questionnaires and manual data gathering) or through an automated discovery tool, which is more costly and time-consuming. In our experience, the most effective approach is to combine both techniques through a quantitative and qualitative assessment.

The outcome of this assessment could be to fully move to the Cloud, remain on physical premises, or adopt a hybrid model. While helping our clients through this journey, we are seeing an increasing number of organisations choosing to adopt a hybrid model. Ongoing contracts and prior investments with physical facilities may well drive the decision of retaining some of these physical servers. Rental agreements, maintenance contracts and amortisation periods can also play a part in this decision.

What can go wrong?

Many organisations start this journey without clearly defining their strategy for migration. A thorough road map for implementation is required, right down to the individual application level, detailing a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the current model and the new proposed model. A failure to define a clear and detailed pathway means organisations may find themselves with an increased cost model, or may struggle to align their data and technology strategy with their business requirements.

How much is this going to cost?

Migration to the Cloud can be costly. Relevant metrics will help you evaluate the cost-benefit of your chosen transition, and identify tangible advantages for your organisation. Cloud providers offer multiple pricing models, so these should be analysed appropriately so you can select the model that suits you best.

Is your data secure in the Cloud?

Cloud providers have strong security measures in place to ensure data is safe. However, it is still your organisation’s responsibility to ensure all services and applications have suitable security controls in place. You should develop and implement data governance and security strategies that abide by regulations and laws, identify clear roles and responsibilities for your team members, and outline a new security architecture that protects data from unexpected damage or loss.

What are the different migration strategies?

There are 6 different methods you can use to migrate applications to the Cloud. These are known as the 6 Rs:

  • Remove: get rid of an application that is no longer required
  • Rehost: also known as lift-and-shift, applications are migrated intact without altering the code (it can always be done at a later stage, however, this will likely involve higher costs)
  • Rebuild: the existing applications or codes are discarded, and new ones are built before migration
  • Refactor: this is an approach between rebuilding and rehosting, whereby minor tweaks are performed to the code before migration
  • Revise: requires more dramatic changes to the code and overall architecture
  • Replace: a new external application is selected to replace the current service

We also need to account for those applications that don’t have a clear upgrade path, which may need to be revisited at a later stage.

At PEN, we’re on hand to help our clients through this journey. As current markets become increasingly dynamic, the cost-benefit conundrum is ever more complex as you become more experienced at evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of your Cloud transition. That’s why our primary focus is delivering a logical and structured approach to help you make decisions that align with your organisational strategy.

If you would like to find out more about this or assess where your organisation is currently at, get in touch with our team!

Roshni Daswani


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