Migration to the cloud has become a growing norm in business. However, many businesses that migrate are not maximizing the potential of the cloud. Despite growing cloud adoption, many businesses fail to operate in a cloud native manner, creating inefficiencies in terms of both cost and operations. The problem is that it can be difficult to define what it means to be “cloud native”, and gaps in education keep business leaders from pursuing cloud native as a means of business growth and success.
What is clear is that, when optimized properly for business, AWS offers strong returns of an estimated 637% over five years according to the research firm IDC. These businesses can also expect to see a 51% reduction in the cost of operations, 94% less unplanned downtime, and an estimated $36.5 million in additional revenue annually. With that in mind, let us take a moment to clarify what it means to be cloud native, and translate this into the important considerations for your application migration, including business outcomes.
Defining the Cloud Native Mindset
When it comes to defining cloud native it is almost easier to describe it in terms of what cloud native is not. To be cloud native does not mean creating a one-to-one equivalent of your on-premise data center in the cloud. Instead, being cloud native means analyzing each workload to assess how it can best operate in the cloud. This means, instead of thinking of how the application operates on-prem, it is important to look through the lens of running on the cloud and find the best option for the application. This may mean refactoring or reworking how the application functions to best leverage the benefits of the cloud.
The reason for this approach is two-fold. First, the cloud is being adopted by all, meaning when you take a cloud native approach, you will be keeping with the standards and expectations of your customers and business partners. Thus, operating in this cloud native manner can help improve your market positioning. Second, with a cloud native approach you can improve the efficiency of your application, allowing for greater scalability and reliability, often at a fraction of the cost.
Steps to Application Modernization
There are a number of important considerations once you decide to make your applications cloud native. First and foremost is understanding your application architecture. This not only means thinking about which AWS services to deploy your application against, but also thinking through how to manage availability, scalability, performance, and cost. Thankfully, AWS has a set of best practices as well as example templates to consult, meaning rather than starting from square one there are guidelines for what will make your architecture run efficiently.
Even when engaging a consulting partner like Onica, establishing your architecture takes some up-front time. At Onica, we utilize a migration method known as Migration as Code, which automates migrations on an application-by-application basis through CI/CD pipelines. This method encourages cloud native thought more than a traditional lift and shift migration and can lead to greater cost savings in the long run. However, it may involve a slower start, as more strategic planning is involved in picking the right services and the best ways to set up the environment. The result is applications that embrace the cloud, leveraging services for more effective results.
Special considerations should also be made with regard to security and compliance. No matter your industry, security is a major concern for cloud consumers. By following AWS’ Well-Architected Framework Guidelines, you can ensure a cloud architecture that meets your security needs, even if they follow a specific standard like PCI, HIPAA, or have requirements like GDPR.
Finally, the right architecture is imperative to maximizing performance while keeping costs low. These efficiency gains come from minimizing unused resources, rightsizing the infrastructure, and designing applications to scale seamlessly.
Business transformation in the cloud is rooted in the leveraging of cloud services. It is not enough to move your on-premise servers in a one-to-one fashion. In fact, this can prove detrimental to finding success in the cloud. Instead, businesses looking to capitalize on their change in infrastructure should adopt the cloud native approach and focus on the adaptation of applications to meet cloud best practices without limiting them to on-premise functionality. By choosing to leverage automation, scalability, and flexibility, it is possible to not only maximize cloud ROI, but significantly impact growth and opportunity as well.