As with all things to do with technology, the role of a CIO is also undergoing a remarkable transformation. With growth as their key priority , CIOs are expected to walk a fine tightrope – in order to unlock new growth and save costs, whilst also driving innovation and change - all as quickly as possible.
In this high-pressure environment, cloud can enable CIOs to harness the best transformational tools and leverage data, in an extremely cost-effective manner. So why isn’t every business running on cloud? Despite the technology’s benefits, many businesses remain unsure how to move to cloud – or why it’s important to take the leap sooner, rather than later.
When to move to the cloud?
There are two common scenarios around moving to cloud: when a company is rolling out new capabilities; or when it needs to upgrade existing IT infrastructure due to demand for more capacity or because aging systems need replacing.
Increasingly in today’s cloud-centric world, CIOs are already thinking outside the walls of their data centre box when the business needs fresh IT capacity. Whether it is to support a new IT service or app, or for test and development purposes – many will turn to cloud, especially public IaaS options.
However, for the data centre refresh, it can be a different story. Traditional IT leaders are used to resolving infrastructure issues by using spares or gradually buying hardware capacity. Costs tend to be marginal, and as this is the accustomed way of working, sometimes the fact that this type of gradual growth presents an excellent opportunity for cloud adoption can be overlooked.
Hundreds of man-hours have gone into building the existing enterprise data centre with the capability to host various mission-critical applications. Years of investment in hardware, skills and knowledge have been made. The typical resulting large enterprise IT environment contains comprehensive custom network, storage and computing capabilities supporting one or more, often, mission-critical enterprise applications, tied together by complex vertical integration.
Moving to the cloud requires translating these on-premises layers to software that can be hosted on this new “Software as Hardware” environment, the cloud.
The good news is there are new tools available that help translate the on-premises environment to the cloud. Almost at the push of a button, the time and investment previously required to rewrite legacy applications and map the complex web of compute, storage and networking is removed. Apps can be seamlessly moved to the cloud, meaning there’s no such thing as “not ready.”
The bystander phenomenon Another challenge is that human behaviour tends towards the bystander phenomenon; wait for the change, see someone react and only then (maybe) take action. This response is frequently seen when it comes to ongoing changes in the data centre. As a result, IT leaders are often in no rush to move to the cloud; even as team members within and outside the organisation use their own credit cards to enjoy the flexibility and the speed of provisioning capacity from cloud.
The challenge is that if IT breaks, it can become more costly and more difficult to support. Perhaps more significantly, waiting around also gives competitors a head start.
What should you move?
The typical first inclination for enterprises beginning their journey to the cloud is to start with non-mission-critical applications, or those with scaling infrastructure demands, especially those where there will be sudden needs for large amounts of computing power; such as data crunching and analytics.
This was done previously because no cloud solution offered the capability to take the diverse set of IT platforms – both virtualised and physical – needed to support enterprise class workloads, in their entirety.
But, this is no longer the case. Now, new migration tools and bare metal based cloud solutions are offering the ability to move an application spread across multi-tier VMware virtualized and physical infrastructure “as-is” to the public cloud – accelerating the enterprise’s progress to cloud and mitigating the long migration efforts that were traditionally needed.
This means that there is even less reason to be a bystander in the race to adopt enterprise cloud. There is still the need to take a measured approach to your migration. But by starting to experiment by pushing “low risk environments” test/dev into the cloud, you can both experience an immediate ROI while starting the natural, gradual evolution in to a modern IT organisation.
-By Sekar S, General Manager-IT, Karur Vysya Bank and Subash Nambiar, VP-Cloud Platform, Oracle India
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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