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Cloud Modernization Strategy

Cloud modernization strategy is a groundbreaking approach to IT infrastructure management. It has transformed the way businesses operate in the modern world, granting them access to tools and solutions previously thought impossible. With the emergence of new and improved tools on a near daily basis, there’s never been a better time to migrate to the cloud.

But what is a cloud modernization strategy? In a nutshell, cloud modernization is the process of updating and transforming an organization’s IT infrastructure, applications, and operational models by leveraging cloud environments. This transformation might involve moving away from traditional on-premises systems to more recent cloud services. 

There are several reasons businesses modernize their IT resources. First, they’re hoping to achieve greater efficiency. Cloud environments are much easier to access and navigate than static, on-premises infrastructure. They’re also more scalable and cost-effective than traditional solutions. 

Before undertaking this process, however, it’s important to have a cloud modernization strategy in place. This strategy serves as your roadmap, detailing how you’ll shift from your current state to a modern cloud environment. Having a strategy is necessary to minimize interruptions and ensure a smooth transition. 

Imagine attempting to build a house without blueprints, or setting out on a journey without a map or GPS—the outcomes can be disastrous. In a similar way, cloud modernization, without a well-thought-out plan, can lead to costly errors. To take advantage of the full spectrum of cloud modernization benefits, organizations need a structured outline of how they’re going to achieve the transition. 

So is there a one-size-fits-all approach to cloud modernization? No. What works best for one organization might not be suitable for another, which is why it’s important to determine the best cloud modernization strategy for your specific needs. It should align closely with your business objectives while addressing any potential challenges with the process. 

It’s equally important to work within a proven cloud adoption framework or cloud governance framework. These provide a structured approach to managing and overseeing an organization’s cloud operations. They clarify roles and responsibilities and provide guidance on how to reap the maximum cloud benefits.

Cloud Migration

Migrating to the cloud allows businesses to leverage the scalability, flexibility, and efficiency of cloud environments. Here are the steps involved in this journey: 

  • Cloud Adoption and Migration Strategy Development: First, organizations must define clear objectives and goals for their migration. Do they want to achieve cost savings? Or is the primary aim to drive innovation and agility? Once these goals are set, businesses can decide on the best strategy to adopt, whether it’s a re-host (lift-and-shift), refactor, re-architect, rebuild, or replace approach.
  • Assessment and Planning: Before embarking on a migration, it’s important to understand the current IT landscape. Businesses should carry out an in-depth assessment of their existing applications, infrastructure, data, and operational processes. This assessment aids in identifying potential challenges and understanding the scope and complexity of the migration.
  • Cloud Modernization vs. Migration: Next, companies should determine whether it’s modernization or migration they want. While cloud migration typically involves moving existing applications and workloads to the cloud, cloud modernization is the process of updating and enhancing these applications to better leverage cloud-native capabilities.
  • Selection of the Cloud Platform: Organizations have a plethora of cloud platforms to choose from, such as Azure, AWS and Google Cloud. Each platform offers its unique set of services and pricing models. For example, a business considering a cloud migration to Azure would need to familiarize itself with Azure’s specific tools and services.
  • Establish a Cloud Migration Framework: A cloud migration framework provides a structured approach to transition workloads to the cloud. It encompasses best practices, and tools tailored to specific migration scenarios.
  • Legacy Data Migration: Legacy data migration is one of the most critical aspects of the cloud migration process. Old systems might have data stored in outdated formats or databases. Transferring this data to the cloud requires careful planning to ensure data integrity, security, and accessibility. Tools and services can help facilitate this process.
  • Cloud Infrastructure Migration: This entails moving the core infrastructure components such as virtual machines, databases, storage, and networking configurations to the cloud. Cloud infrastructure migration may require adjustments to adapt to the cloud platform’s best practices. 
  • Application Migration: Applications often need adjustments, especially if they are part of a cloud modernization initiative. Some undergo minor tweaks, while others are entirely rearchitected to become cloud-native.
  • Phased Cloud Migration: Instead of migrating everything at once, some businesses choose to adopt a phased cloud migration approach, or moving workloads in phases. This allows businesses to learn from each phase and reduce risks. 
  • Testing: Once applications and data are in the cloud, comprehensive testing is paramount. This ensures everything operates as expected. 
  • Implementation of a Cloud Modernization Framework: A cloud modernization framework is essential for organizations that want to take full advantage of the cloud. They might adopt DevOps practices, set up CI/CD pipelines, or integrate IoT.
  • Training and Change Management: Cloud adoption and migration introduces new tools and processes. Staff and stakeholders need to be trained on these so that they’re comfortable with any new changes to business operations.
  • Monitoring and Optimization: Post-migration, continuous monitoring is essential. It helps in identifying potential issues before they escalate. Over time, as cloud services evolve and business needs change, optimization becomes even more necessary for keeping the environment cost-effective and efficient.

Application Modernization Strategy

Modernization is key to thriving in today’s tech-driven world. Modern businesses must adopt cloud-friendly tools and practices in order to remain competitive and efficient. This allows them to remain aligned with stakeholder standards and expectations.

But what is cloud application modernization? In this context, modernization refers to the process of updating applications to be compatible with cloud environments. Because the cloud offers such a high degree of scalability and security, an increasing number of businesses are opting to migrate legacy systems to the cloud. There are also solutions such as Skytap that let you “lift and shift” workloads to the cloud as-is to extend application life and usage without incurring risk. 

For a better understanding of how this works, consider an application modernization example where an organization still uses an old inventory management system built two decades ago. This system, while functional, doesn’t support real-time analytics or integration with modern tools the company has adopted over the years. By modernizing this application, the company could introduce all these features, drastically improving the system.

One challenge that often arises during application modernization is legacy data management. Older applications frequently operate with outdated data formats or databases, and managing and transitioning this data without loss or compromise is vital. It ensures that the underlying data–often a company’s most valuable asset–remains accessible and intact. 

These challenges can be more easily tackled with an application modernization strategy (sometimes referred to as app modernization strategy). Without a well-defined strategy, organizations risk making hasty decisions, overlooking critical elements, or misallocating resources. A good strategy addresses potential challenges and provides a roadmap for the entire process.

Many organizations adopt special frameworks to help curate effective strategies. An application modernization framework offers a structured approach to modernization, including best practices, methodologies, tools, and guidelines specific to the organization’s needs and industry standards.

Frameworks also include detailed instructions for legacy application migration, where older systems are transitioned to new platforms or architectures. For instance, a monolithic application might be broken down into microservices, or a desktop-only software might be redeveloped to support mobile devices. 

A good example of legacy modernization is a financial institution transitioning its decades-old customer management system to a cloud-native, API-driven solution. This solution might offer real-time analytics and integrate seamlessly with other banking tools, enhancing operations across the board. If an organization is not yet ready to re-build an application cloud natively, a good first step would be to “lift and shift” it to the cloud  and then modernize at its own pace.

Cloud infrastructure services provide diverse tools and platforms that facilitate application modernization. In other words, rather than having to maintain their own physical data centers, organizations can leverage cloud platforms to host and manage their modernized applications. 

One of the popular services in this realm is cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). IaaS delivers virtualized computing resources over the internet, allowing businesses to rent virtual machines, storage, and networking capabilities on-demand. This type of service can be especially helpful for businesses facilitating legacy application migration to Azure, for example. 

Cloud Modernization Strategy with Skytap

Skytap offers valuable cloud IaaS services for IBM Power workloads, allowing users to choose between Microsoft Azure and IBM cloud. With Skytap, businesses can enjoy easy setup and get started on their journey to cloud modernization.

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