Friday, 27th November 2020

Covid causes a rush to the cloud

Virtana metrics reveal most applications migrated to the public cloud since March were simply “lifted and shifted” without being optimised.

 As the Global 2000 accelerate the movement of legacy applications to the cloud due to COVID-19, two thirds (66%) are ‘at risk’ for unexpected cost/performance issues as a result of having simply “lifted and shifted” applications instead of optimising prior to migrating them. The remaining one third avoided these issues by right sizing their workloads, modernising applications by upgrading them or rearchitecting them to run in the cloud, and decommissioning unnecessary applications prior to the migration. This analysis is based on hundreds of Global 2000 actual multi-cloud performance and cost metrics measured by Virtana, the leading hybrid cloud optimisation platform for digital transformation.

The cost implications of lifting and shifting applications to the cloud has been substantiated by Gartner. The research firm found that organisations with little or no cloud cost optimisation plans overspent on cloud services by up to 70%.

Shares Scott Leatherman, Chief Transformation Officer at Virtana, “Not surprisingly, the majority of companies had little choice when the pandemic hit. Their data center capacity was not built for the instant tsunami-sized jolt of increased load. Procurement of new on-premises hardware in the timeframe necessary wasn’t practical nor in their long-term plans. Their desire was always to move more to the cloud, but not overnight.”
Accelerated Cloud Migration
The Virtana analysis also revealed that Global 2000 companies were implementing hybrid cloud strategies long before the COVID-19 global pandemic. In working with hundreds of organisations, Virtana found that 80% of large enterprises initiated their hybrid cloud migrations at least three years ago. Yet, in being prudent, they had migrated less than 10% of planned workloads. With COVID-19 as the catalyst, cloud migration has had noticeable acceleration. Virtana had previously projected that it would take five years for 50-60% of workloads to be migrated. The company now estimates that the timetable could be shortened by up to two years. 

Gartner has also substantiated Virtana’s metrics of Global 2000 cloud migration growth, reporting that by 2025:

  • 85% of large organizations will have engaged external service providers to migrate applications to the cloud, up from 43% in 2019
  • 85% of large organisations will use external service providers to migrate data/storage to the cloud  
  • 80% of organisations will use external service providers to move an application/compute infrastructure from one environment to a different cloud environment

Leatherman added, “Public cloud migrations during the past few months have exposed the need for cloud cost optimisation across the board. For their most important applications, organisations are now well aware that they need an investment in re-platforming the application to take advantage of cloud efficiencies. Companies that created and executed a thoughtful cloud migration optimisation plan were able to avoid increased cost and degradation in performance of applications.”

Cloud-Smart versus Cloud-First
In analysing companies’ cloud migration strategies, Virtana found that organisations used either a “cloud-first” or “cloud-smart” strategy. A cloud-first strategy grants broad authority to adopt cloud-based solutions, but only works well for workloads and applications specifically designed for the cloud. A cloud-smart strategy takes a more thoughtful approach, leveraging practical guidance to actualise the full potential of cloud-based technologies while optimising for cost, performance, and risk.

Those applying cloud-smart techniques and tools gained visibility into the following:

  • Application discovery and dependencies
  • Workload profiling
  • Correct instance sizing
  • Workload replay in the cloud to validate performance and cost before migrating

“Most companies that executed a cloud-smart strategy leveraged partners to help with this journey, using their expertise and tools,” said Leatherman.

As background, an early adopter of a cloud-smart strategy was the Federal Reserve. In its June 2019 Federal Cloud Computing Strategy report, The Fed noted: “Cloud Smart equips agencies with actionable information and recommendations gleaned from some of the country's most impactful public and private sector use cases.”

Leatherman concluded, “This recent broad adoption of the public cloud by the Global 2000 is actually a refresh of their infrastructure. The maturity of public cloud providers has reached a point where these large organisations have confidence moving their workload there.  COVID-19 has accelerated the timeframe of those plans, but not initiated them.”

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