January 22, 2021
Why You Should Migrate to the Cloud…Now!
Updated: April 19, 2022
Cloud and distributed computing concepts predate the Internet and have existed since the ARPANET original architecture was created in 1969. However, true cloud computing first became popular with the release of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006, Microsoft Azure in 2009, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in 2013. Since then, all industries are moving to the cloud, which is disrupting how companies operate, and creating a $200+ billion yearly-revenue industry that Gartner forecasts will continue to grow year-over-year.
The accelerated adoption of the cloud is a consequence of cloud providers delivering services that solve several problems most companies encounter when operating in an on-premises (on-prem) environment. Here are some of the major issues:
- Recurrent CAPEX costs based on hardware end-of-life and user concurrency.
- Robust security, privacy, regulatory compliance, and operational resilience, which increases data center costs.
- Digital transformation that increases computing footprints and the required hardware capacity.
- Reductions in time-to-market of new features that increase CAPEX and cost of goods sold.
- A global presence with unique compliance requirements for each country, which implies a significant investment that reduces agility.
Because of the above, the majority of new products—for startups, SMBs, and large enterprises—are natively built for the cloud (mostly on either AWS, Azure, or GCP). However, there are still a few cases where legacy and new products are developed on-prem, which is usually due to special compliance or regulation requirements, government implementations, or legacy solutions used by non-tech companies that haven’t prioritized moving to the cloud.
The Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud
Companies still running their solutions under a traditional, on-prem CAPEX investment may not see the full benefits of moving to the cloud. So the question prevails: Why should you migrate to the cloud?
To help you decide, we’re outlining the major benefits of cloud migration, which are applicable for any businesses partnering with providers that cover the majority of the cloud market share, primarily AWS, Azure, and GCP.
New Technology Enablement
By moving to the cloud, your company has access to the most up-to-date version of the software possible. Service providers push out updates regularly that include security patches, bug fixes, and new feature rollouts.
Instead of waiting a year or more for the new, improved version, migrating to the cloud means that your team is working with current software that also provides insights into how your teams—and your customers—use the products.
In truth, understanding how people use products is one of the most important elements of any web-based solution. Cloud providers already include a predefined set of data analytic solutions that provide—with minimum effort—a useful set of insights to validate outcomes and mature your products.
In addition to data analytics, most cloud providers already have well-established services for AI, Machine Learning, and IoT. For example, AWS features Neptune, a fully-managed graph database service that easily allows you to analyze sources of information with highly-connected data sets (e.g., social media behaviors). Azure Machine Learning, a service that facilitates deploying machine learning models faster, accelerates your time to market. Cloud to IoT Core from GCP is a managed service that connects and ingests data from globally-disperse devices.
Improved Security and Operational Resilience
The three main cloud providers mentioned above have deployed more security and compliance measures than regular data centers. They all guarantee at least 99.9% uptime, but their average surpasses the guarantee. In fact, you can expect numbers along the lines of >99.995% uptime. While 0.095% seems infinitesimal, it can make all the difference when an enterprise-level company begins moving to the cloud.
Simply put, the effort of building in the same security and regulation standards as AWS, Azure, or GCP on your own is cost-prohibitive and would require large-scale recurrent expenses.
While security is an important consideration, even companies with the most stringent and seemingly prohibitive security requirements can benefit from moving to the cloud. Bank of America, Chase, and Capital One are just some examples of large corporations with extremely sensitive data that leverage public cloud providers for their operations while meeting the highest security and compliance requirements.
For companies that require robust operational resilience and uptime under a traditional on-prem model, they would need to invest in a different data center located in a different geographic location with a robust data replication solution. By moving to the cloud, those same companies would need only a low investment in their operational resilience needs. In most cases, this number is $0 or extremely close to it.
Agility and Scalability
One of the most obvious benefits of cloud migration is the ability to immediately provision new resources when needed. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model ensures that you can easily gain access to more licenses on an as-needed basis. More importantly, businesses can automatically spin up those resources using Infrastructure as Code services—while paying only for used resources.
Another important aspect is that in a traditional on-prem environment, scaling up resources means maintaining a baseline cost of the scaled-up resources. Conversely, cloud providers allow customers to scale resources up AND down when not needed:
- Find your company rapidly growing or undertaking a new project and need to give more people access? Simply set up new users.
Wrapping up a project or scaling back use of a specific type of software? Easily reduce your licenses.
- One of the most common scenarios for short-term scaling is when a company releases a new product to market that increases the usage of its cloud infrastructure for a finite period of time but will need to scale down when the workload slows down. Moving to the cloud ensures that this time-bound scaling is a much lower expense.
Additionally, companies move to cloud computing to gain access to a wider array of optional integrations that simplify the project based on needs. Plus, there are usually cost savings options here as well:
- If the pre-set quantities of users are insufficient, enterprises can frequently negotiate for a low per-user rate.
- If estimated use is long-term/ongoing, enterprises can save money on an annual rate. Conversely, if estimated use is short-term or short-term surges are expected, paying by month can offer cost savings.
Lowering costs is the easiest business case to be made for moving to the cloud.
Cloud migration removes all your infrastructure CAPEX. To spell this out, Moving Mmoving to the cloud means your company doesn’t need to manage or invest in managing a data center with a controlled temperature, biometric access control, a disaster recovery site, hardware warranties, hardware renewals, sysadmins, monitoring, spare components, and the usual compliance standards for safekeeping sensitive operational data (ISO 27000, PCI DSS, HIPAA, TIA 942, AICPA SOC).
In fact, one of the biggest benefits of cloud migration is that it allows your company to convert all of the above functions into a predictable per-demand OPEX. If you need specific data points for your company, most cloud providers offer cost calculators to review past expenses and predict future expenses based on your company’s anticipated demand after moving to the cloud.
True cloud migration provides benefits like these to different areas within a company. However, moving to the cloud is about more than a simple software change. Cloud migration can lead to significant organizational and cultural change and requires that all stakeholders from the top down are on board. To receive all benefits of moving to the cloud, the transition must be well-planned with a detailed roadmap and a robust and phased possible exit strategy.
Upfront Planning is a Must
Given the positive outcomes, moving to the cloud is the latest trend in SMB and enterprise organizations. However, only a fraction of those organizations truly leverages the cloud to its full extent because they start their migration journey without the required preparation and upfront knowledge of the desired outcomes. Even though companies likely see the benefit of moving to the cloud, it’s still important to consider every angle of your reasons, including potential roadblocks, incompatibilities, and top priorities.
After all, not every solution works well with cloud migration. There might be a variety of dependencies that dictate when and how you move each piece of software to the cloud. While you want quick wins, it’s critical to deliver a successful migration that produces the desired ROI and agility.
As mentioned earlier, successfully moving to the cloud can lead to significant organizational change, which means that doing so requires a plan to transform several areas of the business, including engineering, operations, finance, HR, and IT. The strategy should include short, mid- and long-term plans for a gradual but steady evolution.
And given that moving to the cloud requires the involvement of several stakeholders across the organization—as well as orchestrating multiple efforts from different areas at the same time—these efforts provide better outcomes when executed by an experienced team that has already leveraged lessons learned from previous implementations involving companies with circumstances similar to yours.
The effort you expend is well worth it. By migrating to the cloud now, your business can reap the benefits sooner, which will play a key role in helping you deliver value to your customers. Contact 3Pillar Global today to learn how we can help you engineer a successful cloud migration for your business.