A Guide to Cloud Migration Trends and Strategies – DevOps.com

For several years, we have witnessed widescale cloud adoption as a software infrastructure growth and maintenance strategy. Spending on cloud application services (SaaS) continues to grow as monolithic applications are replaced by microservices-based apps and monoliths become relics of the past. In 2021 alone, companies spent $410.9 billion on public cloud services, and Gartner expects this number to rise by 20.4% in 2022 to reach $494.7 billion. But as this movement continues to evolve, engineering leaders preparing their cloud migration strategy must be up to speed on the latest key trends.

Is Migrating to the Cloud Cost-Effective?

For companies migrating to the cloud now, the process is no longer a simple transition from on-premises to remotely hosted servers. Cloud service providers now offer a wide variety of options, and companies run the risk of overspending in the cloud marketplace.

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A lack of clarity of their business and product needs or submission to shiny object syndrome can drive companies to spend on non-essential services, especially during migration. It is easy to fall into this trap; companies only realize it after they have committed and try to undo the damage by reversing the process.

Although many public cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing, companies often purchase more services than they use. When companies are unclear about their objectives, such expenditure is more extravagant than the utility. This awareness of cloud spending has encouraged companies to take stock of their needs and expenses, and when they do not add up, to consider partly shifting back to on-premises.

But Isn’t On-Premises a Thing of the Past?

Not yet, but gone are the days of mindlessly unloading entire infrastructures into the cloud. Increasingly, companies are aware of the costs of pulling their data from the cloud.

For many, security and control concerns motivate them to keep data on-premises. The public cloud has its benefits, but private storage has its place, too, especially for some components of your software. All in all, on-premises is here to stay, as companies continue to acknowledge and appreciate its value despite their reliance on public cloud environments.

Why Do Companies Choose Cloud Migration in 2022?

Cloud technologies can potentially deliver faster and better-performing experiences to end users, while innovations are giving rise to new services that cloud vendors can capitalize on. Various use cases are surfacing as companies understand the cloud better and see its potential. They are pushing the boundaries on how they can use the cloud, and cloud service providers are keeping track of the changing nature of the demand.

For example, cloud-based gaming platforms like Amazon Luna are seeing significant growth. The cloud is also of great value to artificial intelligence and machine learning efforts, and these are often intertwined.

The Great Resignation phenomenon also drives some companies towards the cloud. Although some knowledge is needed when moving to the cloud, cloud services offer automation and require less employee supervision in the long term.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a catalyst for accelerating cloud adoption, making resiliency a priority. Companies can stay afloat in an emergency if their workloads are moved to the cloud. It comes at a cost, sure, but allows companies to outsource time-consuming responsibilities and focus resources elsewhere. While this was most significant in 2020 and 2021, this logic remains relevant.

Cloud computing is also helping companies improve performance, efficiency and scalability. In addition to AI, the cloud will be instrumental in the development of more powerful augmented and virtual reality apps.

Approaches Defining Cloud Migration Today

The possibility of these approaches or facilities also motivates companies to migrate to the cloud:

Containerization: The process of compiling and storing a service, along with its dependencies, in a container. Due to their small size, multiple containerized applications can run on a server, allowing for easier and cheaper shipping of the service. According to CNCF’s 2021 Annual Survey, containerization is now a mainstream practice, and Kubernetes, for instance, is a heavyweight in this domain, with 96% of companies employing or evaluating it.

Security: In Q1 of 2022 alone, 90% of data breaches had their origins in cyberattacks. Mindful of this alarming trend, companies are factoring security concerns into their cloud adoption strategies. We are also witnessing a shift in businesses’ approach to security via DevSecOps: Incorporating security as a continuous practice from the beginning of the software development life cycle instead of relegating it to the back-burner until the last moment. Additionally, frameworks like secure access service edge (SASE) and customized cloud disaster recovery strategies are becoming essential elements of cloud adoption.

Sustainability: Sustainability is becoming a key component in most business models. Companies are eager to adopt practices and models that reduce their carbon footprint. This impetus is also emerging from business partners and investors who are beginning to employ sustainability as a critical factor when deciding which companies to work with. When a cloud migration is planned carefully, chances are that you will retire certain services in your infrastructure and make decisions about what to migrate and what to retain. By optimizing your migration strategy, you are likely to only run and pay for the services you need, ensuring that your energy expenditure is under control.

Edge computing: Edge computing, a $176 billion market in 2022, emphasizes the importance of building data centers locally; i.e., closer to where they are needed for storage and computational purposes. It solves any bandwidth and latency issues. Improved security is another added benefit of this practice. Edge computing has a bright future as it attempts to compensate for some of the pitfalls of using centralized servers in the cloud.

Cloud-native applications: Cloud-native applications are easier to work with on the cloud, as they are designed and built on the cloud itself, not rearchitected to ensure compatibility with cloud services. When compatibility is not a concern, they can leverage various benefits offered by cloud services. As a result, scalability, flexibility and resilience are built into these applications. With cloud adoption, companies are increasingly in favor of cloud-native applications. This subsequently informs their migration strategy as they decide which services to retire, rearchitect or build anew once the actual migration is complete.

How Does the Hybrid Cloud Fit In?

Hybrid computing is on the rise as it leverages the public and the private cloud to deliver maximum benefit to companies with little to no compromise. The public cloud offers scalability, flexibility and speed, while the private cloud provides cost-effectiveness, security and compliance with regulations. While sensitive data can rest on the private cloud, frequently accessed data can be stored in public servers like AWS and Google Cloud. Investing in a hybrid cloud strategy from the point of migration itself can go a long way in giving companies access to the best of both worlds.

Similar to a hybrid cloud environment, a multi-cloud strategy where companies distribute workloads across multiple clouds put some control into the company’s hands and ensures additional flexibility. By working across cloud services, companies can pick and choose which services are most compatible with their application’s components. These can include services offered by different cloud providers.

Cloud Providers Seeing Growth, and What They are Doing Differently

Serverless cloud environments: Cloud vendors like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are pushing serverless cloud services. Although these continue to rely on servers (despite the name), companies don’t rent servers or pay fixed charges. Instead, the storage and bandwidth infrastructure scales with the software as and when it requires it. Companies do not need to concern themselves with technicalities and can focus on innovation and improving their existing applications. An added advantage is the provision of safe testing environments that encourage developers to tinker with cloud services and develop solutions for potential failures or outages. Serverless cloud solutions are also beneficial for smaller companies that need not invest large amounts of capital to ensure growth.

Partnerships: To meet the soaring demand for cloud services, partnerships among cloud providers are also on the rise. By partnering with other service providers, companies can offer more services by leveraging the resources and reputations of one another while strengthening their competitive edge in the cloud market.

Industry optimization: Cloud adoption is not limited to software companies. Businesses across industries like healthcare, finance and retail are migrating their infrastructures to the cloud. This variety in demand has encouraged providers to customize their services to meet the specific requirements of each industry. Often, these include regulatory compliance needs in these sectors.

The cloud is only getting bigger and better. You can develop a well-curated transition strategy with the knowledge of current cloud migration trends. Additionally, identifying your requirements at an early stage will go a long way in leveraging the cloud to your advantage.

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