By Roshan Subudhi, Cognizant
Cloud plays a very important role in our clients’ technology strategies, and there’s no longer any real debate over this point. The advantages of migrating enterprise workloads into the cloud are clear and compelling, and the costs of maintaining legacy approaches are too high.
We see evidence of this shift in Gartner’s projection that the market for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow more than 35 percent during the 2017-2018 period. This category is a major part of the investments that enterprises are making as a first step in a cloud migration strategy.
Many Paths to the Cloud
The fact that everybody is moving to the cloud doesn’t help a CEO or CIO decide how to plan a successful cloud journey for their enterprise. Most organizations can’t uproot and transplant all of their workloads into the public cloud at once. Aside from the resources required for such a colossal effort, consider the variables that often impact an application’s cloud readiness:
These and other variables dictate how different applications often will follow very different paths into the cloud: some migrating to the public cloud, and others transitioning to a private cloud. Many applications also will remain on-premises for varying lengths of time—either to accommodate higher-priority applications or because some legacy applications present special challenges to re-architect for the cloud.
Cloud Infrastructure: Making Choices that Matter Most
The task at hand, then, involves crafting a transition strategy that satisfies three imperatives:
1. Keep legacy applications available and accessible in their on-premises environments, while still making the most of opportunities to run them more efficiently.
2. Choose the simplest and least disruptive cloud migration path when the time comes.
3. Give the organization the runway it needs to execute a migration strategy on its schedule and on its own terms.
At Cognizant, we help clients to craft their own cloud migration strategies. We view an open, modern, cloud-ready IT infrastructure as a key requirement for any successful cloud migration. An organization’s IT infrastructure choices—including its server, storage, backup and recovery, and networking capabilities—can all have a make-or-break impact on enterprise cloud migration projects. As a result, while any organization must take a number of steps to ensure a successful cloud migration, getting its infrastructure house in order is typically the first step—and often the most important step—on this journey.
The standards that define when one organization’s “house is in order” may not cover another’s infrastructure needs. In general, however, a truly cloud-ready infrastructure is one that:
The Open Infrastructure Imperative
The elements of a modern cloud application stack, and the tools used to build and deploy those applications, consist largely of open source software. The ability to pair open infrastructure with open source applications is extremely important today.
As quickly as technology changes now, change will be faster in the near future. Openness ensures that a cloud infrastructure will remain agile and versatile enough to adapt, evolve, and create business value. Innovation is happening right now around a group of technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Predictive Analytics, and Edge-to-Core, cloud-enabled data storage architectures.
It’s impossible to overstate the value of these technologies to businesses that view innovation as a competitive advantage and the reality that you can’t take full advantage of them without cloud infrastructure.
3 Questions to Begin Your Cloud Infrastructure Journey
When developing a cloud migration strategy, the following points can be useful in your conversations with internal and external experts and to help you establish benchmarks and assess your progress.
At Cognizant, it’s not uncommon for the firms with whom we work to achieve cost savings of 40 percent or more as they adopt a modern cloud infrastructure upon which to implement their migration projects. We also typically see TCO fall by 20-to-30 percent, even as the same firms gain time-to-market and performance gains in excess of 30 percent. This type of performance is the very definition of a win-win scenario.
There are, of course, many factors that contribute to these gains. They range from the benefits of shifting investments from CapEx to OpEx as an organization’s public cloud footprint grows, to the direct business impact of faster times-to-market for new products and services.
The good news here is that a modern, open cloud infrastructure actually simplifies the change process for many stakeholders. For example, it can do so by minimizing disruptions and downtime during cloud migration.
Nevertheless, there are groups for whom infrastructure upgrades actually involve direct changes in how they work. Bringing in key stakeholders, including your firm’s executive team (or at least the CEO and CIO), as well as product managers and senior members of your software engineering team, is a good start.
Also bear in mind that infrastructure modernization will accelerate the need to fill new roles. This can include engineering managers with DevOps experience, site reliability engineers, and developers with experience using and refining DevOps methodologies.
There is value in working with cloud technology professionals who have helped organizations complete similar infrastructure upgrades. Consider the value of partnering with experts who have “seen it all” when it comes to implementing cloud infrastructure—They bring with them an immense body of accumulated experience to tasks that many IT practitioners have performed rarely, if at all.
In the case of Cognizant, we focus on helping clients rapidly obtain value from their Oracle Cloud platform and infrastructure investments. This includes migrating Oracle and non-Oracle enterprise workloads to Oracle Cloud environments. We also assist clients with application inventory, assessment, code analysis, migration planning and execution, and post migration support.
During a typical engagement, the Cognizant team might start with an in-depth inventory of a client’s current enterprise landscape—collecting data that feeds into our cloud assessment tools. These tools, in turn, help us to determine an application’s most appropriate location among public, hybrid, and private clouds. This process also helps predict the most appropriate model for migrating a client’s environment to cloud—using either Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings.
Selecting a modern, open cloud infrastructure may be the first step on a cloud migration journey, but it certainly isn’t the last one. The decisions your organization makes here will have an impact across countless projects, and possibly years into the future.
About the Author
Roshan Subudhi is VP and Global Delivery Leader of Oracle Solutions Practice at Cognizant. He has 20+ years of experience in the Consulting and System Integration space with a focus on Oracle. He has deep understanding of Innovation, Solutions, Automation, Delivery and Execution around Oracle Enterprise Products. He has driven the Oracle Business with industry-leading growth and enabled exceptional market positioning. Prior to joining Cognizant, Roshan was the Global Practice Head for the Oracle Practice at Infosys.