While the initial period of hype for the cloud is long over, cloud migration continues at a rapid pace. Around 20 percent of businesses now host more than half of their applications in the cloud, according to F5 Network’s 2017 State of Application Delivery. And, cloud is emerging as a viable environment for mission-critical legacy infrastructures, thanks to developments in mainframe solutions for the cloud.
However, for many organizations, the decision remains – do we retain some infrastructure on premise or continue migrating to the cloud? And, what are the real benefits of the two environments in the current business climate?
Making the Right Decisions
The decision may be straightforward if security and compliance are the most important considerations, but more complex if the performance of both line-of-business and mission-critical workloads is under review.
The study by F5 Networks, for example, found that 57 percent of respondents felt that Software-as-a-Service was actually making their lives more difficult. Although service providers were responsible for infrastructure and maintenance, IT remained involved in factors such as security, governance and customization. However, lack of visibility into the environment hampered IT’s ability to make decisions if problems occurred.
Migration is unlikely to be a clear-cut decision, so it’s important to balance the benefits and challenges of cloud or premise before committing resources.
A Question of Balance
On the plus side, cloud offers scalability, speed of deployment, reach and the opportunity to move costs from capital to operating budgets. It also reduces infrastructure and associated management costs from the IT budget. These are important benefits when IT has to meet business demands and expectations for greater agility and mobility or improvements to customer and employee experience, while controlling costs.
But, challenges remain. Security is the factor most commonly cited. Some organizations have to retain data on-premise to meet compliance requirements or regulations that require data to be retained in the country of origin. Others are concerned about storing data in shared hosting environments.
The Connectivity Challenge
Connectivity may also be an issue. Some organizations rely on the public Internet with its associated risks to link users with their data and applications. Where data traffic is heavy, bandwidth may not be sufficient to allow fast transfers, creating a poor customer experience.
There are additional problems in providing cloud connectivity to branches using traditional WAN technology. Gartner points out that organizations continuing to backhaul Internet traffic increase WAN latency as well as costs, with backhaul accounting for 50 – 80 percent of MPLS traffic. Improving connectivity and costs will therefore require changes to network strategy to take advantage of cloud migration.
With so many factors to balance, many organizations are turning to hybrid infrastructures. While this enables IT to allocate individual workloads to the appropriate environment, it can increase management complexity and lead to variable levels of performance.
To create a roadmap for future infrastructure developments, VTG recommends a careful assessment of your changing business and operational requirements before committing resources.