Why the Cloud Must Do More for Traditional Enterprise Applications
We all know that public cloud adoption is on the rise. Numerous analyst reports share data validating this shift. But the hockey stick growth many of these reports chart looks very different when it comes to enterprise adoption, particularly regarding the migration of traditional applications. While research continues to tout skyrocketing percentages of apps moving to the cloud (and, similarly high numbers for apps being “born” there) the number of monolithic, on-premises apps making the jump is increasing at a snail’s pace in comparison.
If Jon Gold at NetworkWorld is right when he says, “There’s a cloud option out there for almost every IT workload,” then why aren’t more enterprises embracing the cloud for traditional workloads? One obvious answer is complexity. The on-premises dependencies and constraints around these apps make them far more difficult and time-consuming to migrate. But as established vendors like Dell and Oracle, and newer players like Docker, all line up to “take aim” at traditional apps, why do enterprises still pass on these solutions, and continue investing in and maintaining on-premises systems?
Choosing to move traditional applications to the cloud, given the requirements that many cloud providers put on getting them there hasn’t always been a popular choice, although, studies indicate the trend is slowly changing. CIOs are tasked with accelerating innovation and reducing costs, but often struggle to do so when as much as 80% of their budget is tied up in maintaining existing systems. Due to their mission-critical nature, it’s no surprise that so many enterprises continue to make large-scale investments in traditional applications. But, those same investments can further intensify the bottlenecks and constraints of legacy on-premises infrastructure. When those bottlenecks limit the agility, time to market, and pace of innovation required to compete in today’s market, it’s no surprise that CIOs and IT admins are stressed out.
So the question must be asked: is the cloud ecosystem doing enough to help enterprises migrate their core applications to the cloud? The current answer appears to be “no,” with few viable options designed to migrate and modernize traditional applications without millions of dollars and months (if not years) of time spent rewriting or re-architecting them first. Even for organizations who can afford the cost of redevelopment, many underestimate the time and resources required to do so, and even fewer will justify the risk of disrupting the lines of business those core applications support.
In an interview with TechTarget, analyst David Linthicum echoes the same conclusions that many CIOs reach when deciding what will be moved to the cloud and what won’t. Says Linthicum, “Applications that are tightly-coupled to a database, or that would require a large amount of redevelopment work to run efficiently in a cloud provider, are workloads that are best left running on-premises.”
There’s a lot of debate about whether enterprises are “ready” for the cloud, and if standard public cloud providers are enterprise-ready themselves. Many cloud platforms and service providers are racing to add new security features, integrations, and capabilities for applications once they’re in the cloud, but have ignored the high barrier to entry for getting them there.
The current “cloud wars” are far from over, especially when such a large percentage of the enterprise application portfolio remains on-premises. And, while there are obvious cloud frontrunners today, it’s clear that a better path to cloud-driven modernization for the enterprise applications that matter most is an urgent market need.
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