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Don't bet on cost-efficiency with cloud migrations

Many organizations move to the cloud with dollar signs in their eyes. However, cloud cost savings aren't guaranteed for every enterprise app.

With better agility, scalability and cost savings in mind, many organizations consider cloud migrations. So moving...

applications to the cloud will save money, right? Unfortunately, while the cloud greatly benefits most applications, not all apps provide the expected cost benefits.

To determine whether it's cost-efficient to move an application to the cloud, it's important to have a process in place. Additionally, enterprise IT needs to understand certain rules of thumb that apply to each application type.

Whether you're moving an existing application or building a new one, create a profile of the workload you plan to host on a public cloud platform. This helps enterprises determine which resources are necessary for operating in the cloud.

Profile types vary greatly. However, as a general rule, enterprises need to define the necessary services for the application, such as database and messaging services. Enterprises also need to consider the necessary resources for the application, including cores, memory and storage, and how they relate to each other. For example, to get a general idea of how many resources a new or existing application will require, one application instance generally needs three cores and 1 TB of storage.

Additionally, organizations should define the overall application architecture, list its core components and define how they work together. This provides a clear understanding of the new or existing application's design and how to properly host it in the public cloud.

Without undergoing major and costly renovations, applications that aren't well-architected are not good candidates for the cloud. Older applications, for example, are typically tightly coupled to data storage. Therefore, enterprises can't easily distribute the application across many public cloud machine instances, which is required to make management more cost-efficient.

The next step is to create a business case. A basic business case for a new or existing application defines the application's benefits and the advantages of hosting that application in the cloud. This allows enterprises to justify the resources required to build or migrate an application to the cloud. A business case typically includes:

  • The direct cost savings of moving an application to the cloud.
  • The direct cost savings of building and deploying a new application to the cloud.
  • The business value of any increases in agility, including time-to-market.
  • Any indirect savings, such as improved user productivity or volume discounts.

Ultimately, there should be a clear benefit for cloud migrations. If there isn't, the applications should not move.

The reality is that all applications should not end up in the cloud. Enterprises need to take into account how effective and cost-efficient the application will be in a public cloud platform, and how much re-development is necessary to make the application truly cloud-ready.clo

About the author:
David "Dave" S. Linthicum is senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners and an internationally recognized cloud industry expert and thought leader. He is the author or co-author of 13 books on computing, including the best-selling Enterprise Application Integration. Linthicum keynotes at many leading technology conferences on cloud computing, SOA, enterprise application integration and enterprise architecture.

His latest book is Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide. His industry experience includes tenures as chief technology officer and CEO of several successful software companies and upper-level management positions in Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including the University of Virginia, Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin.

Next Steps

Building a cloud migration strategy

What to include on a cloud migrations checklist

This was last published in June 2015

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How did your organization determine which apps to move to the cloud?
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Thanks for the post. According to our experience, detailed application architecture is very important for cloud deployment/moving.
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