Cloud Migration Challenges & Benefits

For organizations that have established and functioning hosted IS, the question that senior management face is that of deciding which applications or processes to move to the cloud. The answer has to follow from both sound technical and business logic, requiring careful thought and planning. The following are some reasons why moving applications to the cloud may not be suitable.

Cloud Migration Challenges

The following are some reasons why moving applications to the cloud may not be suitable.

Tight Coupling Between Hardware and Software

Some legacy applications were written to tightly integrate with the hardware on which they ran. Applications on mainframe computers of past decades were written to take advantage of any special features of the hardware, such as specially designed storage or a special buffer, to improve performance. These software applications cannot be, in most cases, moved easily to other hardware environments and cannot be targeted for moving to the cloud.

Applications That Do Not Scale

A key feature of the cloud is its ability to enable scaling – it allows the software to run faster and process more. However, if the application was not designed to scale up, there would be no point in moving it to the cloud.

The Cost is Not Justified

The cloud promises that provide low-cost computing. However, this has to be seen in context. Legacy applications are often assets that are fully depreciated and have already provided a return on their investment. Purchasing cloud services, which may appear to be cheaper, may cost more when compared to the very low costs of running legacy systems.

IT Staff May Not Have the Relevant Skills

For organizations that have an IT department, it is quite likely that the skills required for working with the cloud are not available or are sparsely available. Since cloud technologies are relatively new, few of the older workforce would have familiarity with them. In such cases, unless reliable outsourcing vendors are available, adopting cloud solutions would be risky.

Security is a Key Concern

In situations where an organization is strongly concerned about the security of its data and applications, it may hesitate to adopt the cloud. Though cloud vendors assure strong security of their data centers, buyers are sometimes worried about having their core data vulnerable to theft by hackers.

Besides theft, a key concern is also Internet-based attacks that slow down server performance and affect the functionality of cloud-based applications. In such cases, firms are prone to host applications on their premises, rather than on the cloud.

The above are reasons why moving applications to the cloud is not advisable. However, there are some compelling arguments as to why moving to the cloud is an advantage and, sometimes, a competitive necessity.

Benefits of Adopting Cloud Computing

Five major reasons for adopting the cloud are summarised here:

Applications That Have Volatile Demand

Applications that are likely to grow suddenly and significantly are prime targets for moving to the cloud (even those whose demand is likely to shrink), as expanding scale rapidly and smoothly is possible on the cloud.

Low Business Risk and Commodity Applications

Applications that are not crucial for the business, and yet take up some management resources, are good candidates for moving to the cloud. Infrastructure for managing them is handed to third parties and host institutions can focus their resources on core activities.

Applications That Require Collaboration

Some functions require collaboration across departments or regions, and these can be moved to the cloud, as collaboration is easier over the Internet. Sharing of data and files is facilitated by cloud-based applications.

Big Data Storage and Analysis

Applications that have large data streams with variety and high rates of accumulation are best stored on cloud servers that can accommodate the scale. Further, if analysis of these data streams is required, cloud facilities are the most appropriate for performing this.

Capital Available for Infrastructure is Low

In situations where start-ups or innovators have low capital to build infrastructure for their applications, renting cloud facilities is the best option, as large-scale and high performance can be obtained rapidly and with low cost. This is also applicable for fast time-to-market considerations, where start-ups want to set up quickly and reach their markets in a short time. Here, renting cloud facilities is the quickest option.

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