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Blog | Jun 22, 2017

The Five W's of Modern IT Infrastructure: What's in Your Cloud?

Our blog series discusses the foundational questions to consider for building your hybrid cloud environment today.

Author: Dan Robinson, Senior Engagement Manager, TriCore Solutions

When evaluating your portfolio of applications to migrate to the cloud, it can leave you second guessing on where to start and how to formalize an adoption process or strategy. However, this fear is not worth stalling the process. Timing is of the essence to stay competitive and it’s essential to understand what is needed in your cloud before it all begins.

What's in Your Cloud?

Below are four developments to keep top of mind before diving into your migration strategy:

1) Demand for cloud-based applications is higher than ever. According to a recent 451 Research report highlighted in Forbes, 59 percent of enterprises predict that cloud-based software and applications will be their most significant investment over the next five years to reach their business goals. Deep application knowledge is needed when migrating to the cloud – not to mention managing once there. That’s why so many enterprises are seeking external support. While it may seem as though cloud providers primarily offer infrastructure services, another 451 Research report found that only 31 percent of IT budget spending on cloud goes toward infrastructure. In contrast, 42 percent is spent on application services.

The biggest factors in determining whether an application will be well suited for public cloud are: 1) What is the workload? and 2) Where is the best place to run it? Making the decision to “go cloud” or not must be assessed on an application-by-application basis. Contrary to popular belief, cloud related performance issues aren’t a concern with new applications. As mentioned before, application usage is very important, whether it’s publicly available application or for internal use only.

For example, a university with a  PeopleSoft environment for class registration will primarily use the application twice a year. On the other days, it remains untouched. The answer may not always be this clear cut, either. Certain applications, like financial applications, may be used regularly enough to make deciding between the merits of public and private cloud difficult. At this point, you must evaluate altogether the following factors: the size of the workload, how often it is used, the level of security required, and the amount of talent available to support it. Weighting these factors in a way that helps make the decision between the two options more concrete and justifiable.

2) The changing landscape of cloud-based ERP. Bringing ERP systems to public cloud used to involve several steps, updates and upgrades however, this is quickly changing. Real-time data analysis and machine learning are making a large play across digital transformation initiatives. While traditional tasks may no longer be needed in the future it doesn’t mean that your IT department can wrap up and go home. In fact, other challenges will present themselves as TriCore’s recent survey has indicated. As Dan Sundt, principal at Deloitte, stated in The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal, “Because of the inherent complexity of ERP solutions and their tight link with day-to-day business operations, there’s less margin for error. Companies have to get these deployments right. Their businesses literally depend on it.” For this reason, strategic planning with trusted experts is needed to get cloud-based ERP right.

3) Becoming platform ready can be easy. Microsoft Exchange is one of the best examples of a platform ready to move to the cloud. When companies consider hosting Exchange, they don’t immediately default to Office 365. Though they’re regularly used, everyday business applications, email and collaboration tools likely belong in the cloud as companies adapt for the future of work. And, with upgrades on the horizon, many platforms will require the move sooner rather than later to keep systems current.

4) Public cloud providers offer core benefits to IT teams. The advantages are clear as companies seek to scale by leveraging public cloud. However, users – especially developers – still rely upon monitoring services as a part of their typical routine. Regardless of where their infrastructure is, IT teams aren’t abandoning the tools they’re using now simply because they’re in the midst of migrating. In fact, developers take great pride in custom integrations, so monitoring and alerts suit their specific needs. What matters is that IT teams can be confident that they’re thoroughly monitoring their environments, as they become increasingly complex, and keeping up with the tools that support the monitoring process is only one part of that equation.

As you get closer to fully migrating to the cloud, you’ll need to also determine the where, who, when and why of your cloud environment. As the series continues we will be breaking down “How to Migrate to the Cloud” where we will layout a checklist that will propel you to start the best process of evaluating your cloud usage options.

Interested in learning more? Download the 5 W’s of Modern IT Infrastructure eBook here.

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