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Cloud Adoption to Enable Application Modernization

Satish Gungabeesoon, CTO at Next Pathway, shares his insights into key factors to consider when adopting the cloud to enable application modernization.
cloud adoption modernization migration


Today’s consumer expects to engage with businesses digitally, anytime, and anywhere. To fulfill current and future demands at scale, organizations need to modernize their enterprise services and build on infrastructures that can provide the necessary availability, resilience, scalability, and resource elasticity, with the ability to react promptly to frequently changing business requirements and market pressures.

Organizations adopting a cloud-first strategy are well-positioned to respond to the challenges posed by the demands of the modern consumer. Instead of managing complex proprietary IT infrastructures, the enterprise stays focused on its core competence, modernizing its legacy applications to stay competitive. The benefits of adopting a cloud platform for application modernization are summarized under the following performance indicators: improved customer experience, increased scale and business agility, and reduced IT costs.

To capitalize on the cloud as a platform, an adoption strategy, which spans several key areas, serves as guidance for execution. Key factors to consider when adopting and migrating to the cloud:

Assessment of the Application Landscape:

Before starting a cloud transformation journey, it is necessary to conduct an initial evaluation of the legacy application landscape, review the workloads to be modernized and migrated, and flag the applications nearing end-of-life. The assessment is used to scope and define a prioritized backlog for the migration. The review process also identifies orphaned applications that can readily be decommissioned, eliminating idle capacity when moving to the cloud, and providing immediate cost savings.

Profile of the Workloads to be Migrated:

A deeper analysis should deliver the compute and storage requirements of workloads prioritized for migration. By allocating workloads with predictable resource requirements to cloud instances purchased under reservation plans, organizations can take advantage of committed-use discounts offered by cloud providers. Unpredictable workloads, with sudden traffic changes on spiky demands, can leverage the resource elasticity capability characteristic of cloud infrastructures, auto-scaling up and down as needed. When migrating to the cloud, organizations do not need to provision for peak capacity, they only pay for what is consumed. Proper workload planning allows cloud resource utilization and costs to be reduced to the optimal level.

Cloud-Native Application Patterns for Application Refactoring:

Legacy applications will not run as-is on the cloud and leverage its full capability. Modernizing for the cloud requires application architecture and code to be refactored, with an understanding of standards and best practices for developing and deploying cloud-native applications. Automation and standardization at various stages of the transformation have proven to be the key ingredients for an accelerated and risk-mitigated journey. (For details on the key factors to consider when transforming applications for the cloud, please refer to an earlier article in the same series entitled Accelerating Digital Transformation for the Cloud.)

Migrated Workload Monitoring:

To ensure that service level agreements continue to be met, IT needs to have deep end-to-end visibility into the cloud-deployed applications by monitoring their health in real-time, with the ability to diagnose performance and availability issues. Organizations will need to migrate away from legacy monitoring technologies and adopt modern tools that can auto-scale in step with the elastic cloud infrastructure. The monitoring tools should deliver comprehensive execution observability seamlessly across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Cloud Governance:

Cloud adoption triggers financial, security, and technical risks affecting business outcomes. The risks introduced are related to budget overruns and over-allocation of cloud resource usage, protection of digital and data assets in a physical platform that is not directly owned by IT, control of identity and role-based access beyond the internal network, and workload resource consistency to avoid SLA violations. The cloud guardian, an expert-level specialization of the senior cloud architect, drawing on technical insights and business acumen, provides thought leadership to the Cloud Advisory and Migration teams. The guardian mitigates risks by defining actionable corporate cloud policy statements that function as guardrails to guide business and IT decisions.

IT Organizational Alignment:

Cloud adoption involves complex technical and cultural changes within the IT organization. Adopting a cloud mindset for application modernization means lining up focus on cloud-native thinking vs. lift-and-shift, lightweight microservices vs. overloaded monolithic apps, incremental and continuous service-based deployment vs. scheduled maintenance windows, cloud security vs. traditional security, and embracing the eventual shutdown of proprietary data centers. A cloud center of excellence helps accelerate the adoption by educating and modernizing the IT organization, ensuring reusable and secure deployments according to policies, enforcing the usage of cloud-native tools, and promoting standardization and automation of components and solutions. The emergence of new technical skills for cloud adoption necessitates a detailed end-to-end roadmap defined early in the journey to help establish the required readiness across technology teams.

Incremental Cutover:

Deploying the modernized application services should be conducted incrementally, requiring migrated services to coexist with those that are still implemented in the legacy application. Coexistence of the new and the old needs to be built into the transitional architecture, with the ability to easily cut the ties with the legacy code piecemeal. While a big-bang cut-over may make for a great announcement within the organization, it prevents risk mitigation through iterative feedback and course corrective actions. Cloud adoption does not need to wait for all workloads to be modernized. The ability to cutover incrementally, with a coexistence strategy, is one of the major cornerstones of a successful migration.

Strategic Partnership with a Cloud Practitioner:

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will have migrated to a cloud infrastructure. Do not go it alone, having access to subject matter experts well-versed in cloud transformations will de-risk the journey. By collaborating with an experienced in-house consultant or a consulting firm, organizations can safely expedite and deliver an end-to-end modernization and migration. The consultancy draws on a wide range of adoption experiences and case studies, advises on best practices, technically oversees, and accelerates the execution of the migration, recommending course corrective actions as needed.

Checkout Cloud Migration Guide: Re-Point & Translate Legacy ETLs

About Next Pathway

Next Pathway is the Automated Cloud Migration company. Powered by the SHIFT™ Migration Suite, Next Pathway automates the end-to-end challenges companies experience when migrating applications to the cloud. For more information, please visit nextpathway.com.

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