According to Forrester, hybrid IT environments are becoming increasingly common as cloud adoption continues to grow. However, maximizing a combination of on-premises assets alongside private, managed, and public cloud services can be challenging. The key factors impacting the decision for a cloud migration are outlined below.
Cloud is no more a risky bet with a lot of enterprises migrating mission critical applications to the cloud and also using cloud based SaaS application for front end functions of high business exposure and risk. Enterprise application providers — like Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, and others — have invested in software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, and companies are buying the same as well. But you’re still responsible if the mission-critical app goes down, no matter where it runs.
If you already use third-party apps on-premises and you’re considering switching to SaaS, look closely at the vendor’s reliability history as compared with your own. If your mission-critical app is proprietary, high migration costs may makethe risk question moot unless you have the support to do a complete lift and shift of the application from OnPremise to the Cloud platform: Switching to a third-party SaaS solution might be a good option as well based upon how old the legacy solution is and how easily it can be replaced by a packaged SaaS offering with minimal tweaks. And if you’re constrained by law or regulation, that may limit your options. If you’re considering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS), then you still control those cloud-based components and you benefit from the agility, resiliency, and safeguards that are (or should be) the provider’s value-add. Ultimately, migrating mission-critical software or resources to the cloud is a cost vs. risk vs. opportunity decision unique to every business..
Continuous and transparent monitoring is possible only within your ownership boundary: Beyond that it’s a black box. With IaaS or PaaS, you can fully instrument resources as if they were your own, so look for monitoring solutions that discover these dynamic topologies, integrate them with your on-premises or hybrid topologies, and track changes in real time. To minimize administrative burden, look for solutions that also integrate with orchestration tools for automated instrumentation/configuration of dynamic components. To monitor SaaS or cloud APIs, look for a solution that monitors against your provider SLAs and alerts you to noncompliance
The security risk of cloud is real but manageable. Reputable cloud providers invest heavily because they recognize security and privacy as top customer concerns, possibly protecting your data better than you do. But keep this in mind: Cloud providers only protect the data in their possession. You are legally responsible to your customers for security end to end, top to bottom. Migration to the cloud does not relieve you of security concerns; in fact, it adds the burden of ensuring secure transport to and from the cloud service provider. Don’t scrimp on developing a comprehensive cloud-aware security plan. Better yet, consider the fast-growing market of cloud security solutions purpose-built for this challenge.
True cost is much more than CapEx versus OpEx. Evaluating IaaS and PaaS true cost vs. benefi t is fairly straightforward. However, determining true cost to migrate legacy proprietary software is more complex. The fi rst step is an assessment to see if migration is technically feasible and worthwhile. Will it run faster, just as fast, or slower in the cloud? Will it need to be redesigned or rewritten for the cloud? What is the cost to redesign/rewrite and are resources available to do that work? Will it be worth the wait? Migration may also change the terms and costs of licensing and maintenance and create additional security costs, and it will never entirely eliminate the ongoing costs that you bear today. Even with retraining costs, switching to a third-party SaaS equivalent may be a more costeffective solution than migration. And never dismiss the possibility of changing nothing — so long as it’s a well-researched and fully informed business decision.
The challenges are numerous when it comes to building and maintaining a hybrid mix of on-premises and varied cloud components. While this consideration alone could span multiple pages, here are a few key highlights and relevant references to consider:
- Data and application logic is spread across different packaged and custom-built applications on-premises, on managed infrastructures, and in the public cloud. Maintaining consistency is a challenge that hybrid integration vendors strive to address. The Forrester Wave: Hybrid Integration, Q1 2014
- Rapid release cycles of SaaS components may not match cycles of on-premises components, creating potential calendar and functional incompatibilities. The Hybrid² Integration Challenge
- Network communications becomes a critical factor for performance and security and grows vastly more complex. Beware The Pitfalls Within Networking For Hybrid Cloud.
- Organizational silos and political power threaten effective data and process governance, posing functional and legal risks to the business. The Hybrid² Integration Challenge
Despite these challenges, cloud adoption continues to rise among enterprises. However, few will ever reach a pure cloud state. Hybrid cloud will be the rule — not the exception — for years to come. The key to successful hybrid cloud migration and management is to take a cautious and conservative approach after thoroughly weighing the costs and risks suggested here. And revisit the decision often, as improvements are emerging at a breakneck pace.
OrbITPeople makes monitoring and managing a pure or hybrid cloud or on premise environment easy and less expensive. The OrbITPeople IT monitoring team allows you to comprehensively monitor resource performance and availability across the entire stack, including network, storage, applications and more, regardless of physical or virtual location.