A phenomenon often seen with truly pioneering technology is that it tends to arrive in waves. Typically, the first wave is something new offering the cheapest and easiest way to accomplish a task. It’s the second wave, however, where the innate advantages are put to use.
What we’re seeing now with cloud computing is a similar occurrence: The second wave of cloud migration.
In the beginning, businesses wanted the quickest, lowest-cost, easiest way to move their applications and data to the cloud. That first lift-and-shift wave was simply to move less-critical, not-so-complex, non-strategic applications to the cloud by re-hosting virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises. What you had before in a traditional data center is what you have today in cloud, but now it’s running as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model on a public cloud platform, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure,or Google (News - Alert) Cloud Platform (GCP).
Although cloud infrastructure services were sometimes less expensive, there was no change in technology, no application enhancements or optimization of resources. The first wave of migration to cloud left many businesses asking, “Is this all there is?” or “Why do my infrastructure services cost the same, or even more?” or “I am now running in cloud, but why am I no more efficient and agile than I was before?”
Cloud computing has evolved substantially over recent years. As the second wave of cloud computing takes shape, companies now want to take advantage of added capabilities to bring new ideas and products to market faster.
Here are some things you need to know to reap the benefits of today’s cloud services.
The Second Wave: Cloud-Native Applications
Cloud-native is all about how applications are created and deployed, not where. It’s about developing new modern applications using native cloud services or re-architecting and re-factoring existing applications to take advantage of all features that the cloud can offer beyond the infrastructure level, both functional and non-functional services. With speed and scale, companies can accelerate time to market and reap significant savings of development cost, sometimes up to 50%.
Tips for the cloud’s second wave
Create the roadmap.
As with any application transition or migration, a solid plan and strategy is required. Determining which applications make sense to move from cloud-hosted to cloud-native is key. Will you gain benefits such as cost savings, efficiencies in application lifecycle management, quicker deployment and more features? Keep in mind that a cloud-native approach may not always be cost-effective for your entire application portfolio. Applications that are strategic and are involved with products and services that reach your customers are the ones to invest in and move onto the second wave. Non-strategic applications may not have sufficient value to warrant second wave migration.
Design a detailed architecture to take advantage of the cloud.
Moving monolithic cloud-hosted applications to a cloud-native microservices architecture requires principled design and architecture. Standard components of the cloud-native application delivery model are available to implement the following concepts:
- Containers are a way to package application code, configurations and dependencies into a single object. They provide efficiency and speed, compared with standard virtual machines.
- Microservices are an architectural approach whereby an application is developed as a collection of smaller, combinable services. Each component implements specific business capabilities, runs its own process, can be assembled in various combinations, and communicates independently from other services.
- Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) allows individual application changes to be merged and released as soon they’re ready, thus reducing time to market.
- DevOps are collaboration tools shared between software developers and IT operations with the goal of automating and streamlining the software delivery process.
Get developers on board with cloud native.
Cloud-native applications are developed and deployed on a cloud platform in a much different way than with legacy monolithic applications. By using techniques like serverless, developers no longer have to worry about the underlying infrastructure on which they are deploying applications. Now, they can treat cloud like a true utility – always available and ready to serve their needs. Re-skilling your existing developers, hiring new experienced cloud-native developers and/or bringing in experienced resources from service providers is a requirement to implement the most effective cloud-native approach for your applications.
Cloud-Native Is Both A Mind and Model Shift
Companies should keep in mind that merely re-hosting legacy applications and data to a public cloud is not driving out any operational costs or realizing the depth and breadth of efficiencies available to them. The second wave of cloud migration is upon us, so get ahead of the curve and your competition before it’s too late. Before you know it, the third wave of cloud migration will be here.
Siddhartha (Sid) Chatterjee
Edited by Erik Linask