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  • June 7, 2017

Moving Business-Critical Applications to the Cloud

Today's guest post comes from Laura DuBois, Program Vice President for IDC's Storage practice.

Today’s businesses face the challenge of building for the future while supporting the current environment. They need to run the business – and build it – simultaneously. Organizations need to build new applications to do better customer engagement, drive new revenue sources, and develop new products and services. And they need to do this while managing existing workloads that may be legacy and business-critical in nature – and running on a Unix system. The challenge: How do you manage this process, and where do you go with those business applications?

Organizations need to balance steady state while building for the future, but they also need to balance business and IT objectives. Most CIOs want to do three key things: reduce costs and increase efficiency, minimize and mitigate risk, and better align IT strategies with the business. To achieve these objectives, CIOs must consider questions such as:

  • How do you balance and create alignment between investments made in centralized IT and a line of business?  
  • What about data integration and the importance of integrating data that is not only within the confines of a private cloud but also exists in a public cloud scenario?
  • What about the building out of new applications, perhaps cloud-native applications that rely on different things from the underlying infrastructure?

With the rise in the adoption of public cloud, there’s now more choices than ever.  Let’s talk about infrastructures of service in the form of public cloud.  

Cloud Trends

The cloud is not a yes-or-no discussion anymore.  It's about which applications and workloads you move to the cloud, and how and when to move them. It’s about the underlying infrastructure: Do you make these apps/workloads on-premises or put them in a public cloud – and how do you do that?

Cloud is also an opportunity for managed services. After all, not all workloads are easily transportable to the public cloud, and managed services present an opportunity not only for managing a workload that's in a public cloud but helping to migrate that workload to a public cloud.  These are considerations we see firms putting in place around public cloud adoption.

Public cloud use expanded considerably during the last decade. When Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) first emerged, typical workloads included backup, DR, recovery, maybe test-and-dev scenarios. We see those use cases and others: relational databases, non-relational databases, analytics, productivity applications, and increasingly, production. As many as 61% of organizations are using public cloud IaaS for a combination of test, dev, and production-of-use cases.

This expansion follows a curve of evolution and technology adoption as companies grew comfortable with this approach.  Cloud solutions are now more robust in addressing security and scalability concerns.  There’s a broad range of storage options to lower the costs for long-lived data that exists in the cloud. Finally, there's an ecosystem of complementary services in IaaS today -- databases of service, analytics, load-balancing services -- that make it feasible to move more business-critical applications to the cloud. In fact, an IDC survey found that over 60% of companies with business-critical applications plan to evaluate using the cloud (both public cloud and private) in the next 24 months.

Challenges of Moving to the Cloud

That's not to say that there aren't challenges with public cloud IaaS. IDC asked 400 current infrastructure service users about their leading challenges. They pointed to security, performance, and downtime. The second part of that equation is around storage of data and mitigating data breaches, permanent data loss, and data management.

So where do we go from here? How can more customers move business-critical applications to the cloud?  A growing trend is adoption of multi-clouds, the expansion of the use of infrastructure as just one service to a range of services. Another is the growth of features or abilities within cloud service providers that allow for constant evaluation of what's the right service for an organization. However, we also see a need for standardization between both public and private cloud, as well as between public cloud and public cloud, a factor that's driven a lot of interest in OpenStack. And we need service capabilities designed not just for the developer but for the enterprise operations teams as well.

Oracle is well positioned to address these challenges around security, data management, and performance to help companies as they migrate mission-critical applications to the cloud. Oracle offers a unique approach by providing on premises, and private and public cloud options all running on identical infrastructure to better help customers migrate apps to the cloud that focuses on a strategy of consolidation, modernization, and new security measures.

To learn more about this approach, download the IDC webcast, "What’s Next for Business-Critical Applications in the Cloud,” sponsored by Oracle.

Laura DuBois serves as Program Vice President for IDC's Storage practice, which includes Storage Systems, Software and Solutions research offerings, quarterly trackers, end-user research as well as advisory services and consulting programs. Ms. DuBois leads IDC's team of storage analysts responsible for identifying and analyzing vendor strategies, technology, market and customer trends affecting various market segments within the storage industry and data centers worldwide. Ms. DuBois speaks frequently at IDC, industry, and customer events around the world and is often quoted in leading business and technology publications.

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