Cloud-based infrastructure is becoming more and more prevalent, with an overwhelming majority of businesses having at least some of their resources in the cloud. But the question of whether or not migrating to the cloud is a cost-efficient measure doesn’t always resolve to “yes.” Before a migration, a number of factors need to be taken into account.
Cloud resources – whether storage, applications, infrastructure, analytics, or other services – have a number of native advantages. Cloud providers are able to take advantage of scale-based discounts, for example, and they frequently have the capacity to allow businesses to purchase computing power or disk space on an as-needed basis. This flexibility reduces the risk of a business tying up resources on capacity that will be used infrequently.
Cloud providers benefit from seeing a wide variety of use cases and are able to develop solutions for common business challenges. This means that off-the-shelf solutions for everything from load balancing to machine learning may be available, without a costly outlay of IT hours.
But businesses, especially those with high data generation or many years of legacy data, may have applications which are simply too cumbersome to migrate easily. Or perhaps they employ home-grown infrastructure solutions which were built using a previous era’s best practices, and aren’t designed for the new sensibilities of the cloud. Or their applications may touch upon so many business processes that migrating one part to the cloud would mean a complete overhaul in how the company operates at an IT or data level.
What Makes a Cloud Migration Economically Viable?
There are three factors to consider:
- Would an application run more efficiently in the cloud?
- What would the cost of migration be?
- What is the expected longevity of the application in question?
Not all applications benefit from a move to the cloud, but many do. And with the surging interest in cloud resources, the efficiency of the cloud is likely going to continue to increase. When making a decision, a business should carefully analyze what cloud resources are available, and whether or not their application would be more efficient. If it would be more efficient, that gain in efficiency should be translated into cost savings.
Depending on how good the savings are, a migration might be an expense which pays for itself in short order. But for marginal improvements in efficiency, the initial cost may be more than would be recouped for some time. The cost of migration, including indirect costs such as time spent in re-training employees, should be estimated, and the length of time required for the migration to pay off should be calculated from that.
Finally, business owners and CIOs should look carefully at the expected longevity of the application. For some legacy applications, it may be that the application is on its way to depreciation. For others, the application may be a core business process that is expected to endure indefinitely. If the application’s expected longevity is significantly longer than the migration’s savings payoff length, a migration makes sense. If it’s shorter, or if the question raises serious doubts, a business may do well to hold off.
As it stands, cloud computing is growing, improving, and not going anywhere. To discuss whether or not a cloud migration is right for your business, contact us today.