A game changer for ‘digital first’ businesses

As technological innovation continues full steam ahead in 2022, many emerging technologies are coming of age. These technologies are positioned in a way that could change the course of business transactions. Cloud-based computing is perhaps the most frequently seen item on most companies’ radar. What started as a tactical choice at one point slowly turned into a strategic undertaking.

How businesses could benefit from cloud computing

Cloud computing has become mainstream, but it brings its own challenges and can quickly turn into a double-edged sword. The benefits are enormous, but used improperly they can induce more drag than lift.

Let’s look at this in a more simplistic way. The cloud is nothing more than a computing environment (traditionally known as a data center) available “somewhere”. One can be location agnostic while still being assured of all the QoS parameters that would have been expected from a private data center. The cloud is very unforgiving when subjected to incongruous use cases. It leads to a rapid increase in costs if the chosen use cases do not match what it was intended for.

Cloud adoption in IT infrastructure

IT managers quickly accelerated migrations to the cloud. Moving servers and storage to the cloud quickly earned them the “Cloud-enabled” label. Were they? Not really. The widely held belief that moving servers and storage to the cloud brings multi-dimensional benefits isn’t always true. In many cases, all it did was increase exposure, expense, bandwidth dependency, and shift budgets from Capex to Opex. Most aspects of IT have moved from fixed assets to recurring subscriptions.

Decades ago, the advent of data centers inherently led to the idea that compute infrastructure was cheap. It falsely promoted the idea that it was okay to throw more computation at a software problem. Effective rooting began to take second place.

The Cloud makes this even more acceptable. Getting additional server, memory or disk space is handled in minutes by changing a few settings on a cloud admin panel. Because of this simplicity, the value of the compute infrastructure has quickly eroded.

Cloud subscriptions have a role to play, but only in certain circumstances. Subscriptions aren’t always the answer. More importantly, moving software that isn’t written to take advantage of the cloud to the cloud is an absolute mistake. This can only lead to operational inefficiency. The main advantages of the cloud are on-demand resiliency and high-resolution scalability. When we move monolithic software to the cloud, it defeats the very purpose of migration.

Cloud operation becomes an asset when the software is designed for the cloud and provides the foundation for high-resolution scalability. One example is the use of containers which can scale seamlessly in a cloud environment. Failure to follow these principles leads to brute-force scaling of a monolithic system, which costs more. Cloud migrations must be well thought out and systematically planned. IT wallets are always a mix of critical and non-critical systems. Identifying portfolio items for migration is a qualifying process. The first of these qualifying criteria is whether this system is designed to run on the cloud.

In most cases, we find that cloud migrations have resulted in an exponential increase in IT spending. This is mainly due to inefficient migration selection and planning. Successful cloud migrations require a holistic view and in-depth portfolio analysis to discover where the cloud fits into a company’s overall IT strategy.

The article was written by CP Jois, Chief Technology Officer, Fulcrum Digital Inc.