As pointed on the previous article, internal resistances often turn out to be a hurdle on the way to the cloud. A lively dispute ensuing over how to deal with legacy systems operated on-premises in cloud migration. Experts agree that a lift-and-shift approach without code modification is insufficiently suitable. Applications and workloads can be quickly loaded into the cloud as a first step, but they still need to be modernized and partly completely reprogrammed. Bringing applications with outdated or bad code one-to-one into the cloud is self-prohibited. This does not provide any added value for the business and delays application modernization unnecessarily.
Those who bring legacy systems to the cloud via lift-and-shift must also be aware that they are not yet receiving native cloud software. Whether the approach is appropriate at all also depends on the expectations that would be attached to it. In some cases, it may be useful to remove individual processes from a legacy system and optimize them for cloud operations, for example by converting them to microservices. Together with the legacy systems, the desktops can be moved to the cloud.
The experts deliver several suggestions on how to manage a cloud transformation efficiently. One recommendation was to harvest the low hanging fruits first and to find out which processes and applications in the cloud and which on-premises offer the greatest benefits – the hybrid model. However, the complexity of distributed systems in particular must not be underestimated.
To define the objectives and added value associated with cloud migration, an assessment is appropriate. In this context, a variety of questions need to be answered, including whether it makes business sense to continue to operate your data centre, which cloud scenario is optimal in this constellation and so on.
In addition, each company must determine which support and service level agreements (SLAs) it needs. For example, while public cloud providers guarantee the availability of applications by the agreed SLAs, this is sometimes handled a little more shirt-sleeved in the private cloud environment.
A successful move to the cloud is also a matter of organization. Cloud initiatives are a top priority and need the commitment of top management and management. An important step for the success of a cloud transformation is to involve the relevant stakeholders from the operational areas, IT, finance, legal and compliance departments at an early stage and, if possible, to merge them into a Center of Excellence (CoE).
Legal requirements and compliance guidelines must be complied with when using cloud services. Whether the individual business units in the company should decide on the use of the cloud on their initiative by the governance guidelines can be a controversy. Such a “polyglot” approach is, after all, not entirely unproblematic. It would be necessary, for example, to clarify which minimum requirements should be met about the SLAs, how responsibilities are distributed and who should have the decision-making authority. Otherwise, there is a risk of a proliferation of different clouds, which undermines IT control and poses a significant security risk.
When it comes to the public cloud, experts warn against tying themselves to a single hyper scale. Such a vendor lock-in is at the expense of the flexibility of IT operations, especially about the use of cloud services, and impairs the high level of platform independence. As a means of choice, a multi-cloud strategy is recommended to benefit from the best of two or more cloud worlds, for example in terms of services. Applications and databases can thus be operated and executed exactly in the cloud that is best suited for this purpose.
Last but not least, a cloud transformation also requires special know-how in the company. Since experts in the cloud-native environment are scarce, it requires forward-looking human resources management, which complements the expertise of IT employees in terms of applications, networks or IT security with cloud skills and certifications. However, there is still some catching up to do here.