Virtualization Technology News and Information
The New Cloud Era Impacts Every Part of Business

By Michael Wachal, Principal Product Manager at Skytap

The world has moved past the first era of cloud adoption. Companies began by experimenting and testing, then moved to migrating some workloads to the cloud (usually ones like disaster recovery or backups that allowed them to test the waters without much risk). They are now moving beyond these phases to integrate the cloud across their businesses. This is partially due to the fact that the core technology, platform infrastructure and tooling of the public cloud has matured to the point that they can feasibly support organization-wide adoption. Cloud use continues to increase in response; Gartner projects spending on the public cloud will reach $600 billion by the end of 2023.

What Digital Transformation Means in 2022

This new cloud era comes with a new mindset. Many, if not most, organizations now see embracing the cloud as essential to innovation and competitiveness. Digital transformation has become an imperative across industries, as organizations seek greater agility, scalability and resilience. Rather than confining cloud use to specific projects, organizations are attempting to transform processes all across the business from customer experience to employee experience to operations. In practice, many organizations have a trusted systems integrator helping them with their digital transformation as they seek to align IT capabilities with business needs and recognize that more and more technology decisions are being driven by the business.

Organizations of all types see the cloud as essential to improving time to digital transformation. In a recent survey, 93% of respondents said the cloud was important to their digital transformation strategy with 72% calling it very important or critical. Organizations have found that fully migrating to the cloud, rather than using it for select workloads, can add value exponentially by reducing complexity and opening up cloud services. This can:

  • Accelerate product innovation
  • Improve customer responsiveness
  • Improve ability to secure enterprises amidst growing cybersecurity concerns and the increase in targeted security attacks

Some market segments - such as financial services and retail - are seeing more disruption from digital upstarts than others, creating added pressure to modernize. The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated cloud migration plans significantly - 68% of respondents to a survey in 2020 said that COVID had "greatly" sped up their digital transformation plans.

How to Live in, Not Just Visit, the Cloud

We are now moving into a new era, where no part of a business will be untouched by the cloud. Many organizations are at the point where they need to move all workloads to the cloud to get more value out of it - they've already done as much as they can with just some workloads there. But for many organizations, this desire is being stymied by the reality that many of their most important and business critical workloads feel "cloud stubborn." These are applications that still run in the data center on platforms like IBM Power (IBM i (AS/400), AIX, Linux on Power). In many cases, these core applications have been optimized and highly customized over years and even decades. They may not have been included in an organization's original digital transformation strategy because of their importance to day-to-day operations and the perceived complexity and risk of refactoring or rewriting them to be cloud native.

Now, these organizations have begun to realize that the only way to move forward with a comprehensive cloud strategy and fully realize the business value and benefits of digital transformation is to migrate these legacy applications to the cloud as well. The real question is how.

Traditional Must Coexist with Cloud-Native

In this new cloud era, it's essential to find ways for these traditional applications to both coexist with applications that are cloud native and reap the benefits that the cloud offers. Fortunately, it is possible to migrate existing applications to run natively in the cloud. There are solutions that allow organizations to replicate data center environments and enable applications to run in their native form with no or minimal modification.

Once applications are in the cloud, they can immediately take advantage of cloud scale capabilities like capacity on demand and greater reliability/availability. Once these workloads are in the cloud, application value and life can be extended with cloud native services such as advanced data analytics, data visualization, machine learning and artificial intelligence. This is particularly compelling if you think about the amount of data typically housed in siloed, on-premises servers. Many organizations will also want to modernize their traditional applications by rebuilding them natively in the cloud. This is often a long-term goal due to the work required. Migrating these workloads to the cloud in their native form first allows organizations to capture more value in the near term while working on those long term refactoring projects. Having the application in question in the cloud first also allows the refactoring work to proceed at a controlled pace.

The new cloud era is here today. Organizations are no longer questioning whether the cloud makes sense or which parts of their business will benefit from it. With the ability to move traditional applications from the data center to the cloud, there is nothing stopping any organization from fully embracing a digital transformation strategy that encompasses their entire tech stack.




Michael Wachal is a Principal Product Manager at Skytap where he manages complex projects and solves challenging technical procedural problems using empirical data. Most recently, Michael was a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, and he has BS in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Published Wednesday, June 29, 2022 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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