Let the app dictate the cloud

Read time 3min 20sec
Dave Funnell
Dave Funnell

Cloud operating models need to be informed by the applications, the business value in moving them to particular environments, and the overall business strategy.

This is according to Dave Funnell, Cloud Provider manager at VMware, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Jeff Jack, principal practice head for cloud at Dimension Data, who were speaking at a VMware virtual round table held in partnership with ITWeb.

Funnell and Jack noted that the cloud should not be seen as a destination, and that migrating to the public cloud would not necessarily simplify the delivery of IT services.

“There are still a lot of misconceptions about what the cloud is and what it will do for you,” said Funnell. “Business can tend to think the public cloud will take away all their IT problems, but this is often not the case. In many cases, a private cloud is the solution, eliminating the issues associated with migrating to a public cloud. Adding multiple public and private clouds in a hybrid environment can add to the complexity and cost of the environment. Migration, replatforming, and managing and applying different security policies across multiple environments can be very complex, and sometimes there’s no business value in migrating to the public cloud.”

The cloud journey has to be application specific, and you have to understand what it is you want to achieve for each application.

Some long, drawn-out migrations to the public cloud have ended up being repatriated to private clouds as organisations discovered they had misjudged the costs of public cloud and that private clouds were significantly cheaper,  Funnell said. "There are benefits to using the hyperscale clouds for certain workloads and projects, so the optimal architecture lies somewhere between on-premise, private cloud and public cloud. You want to make sure your workloads are in the right environment, which is secure and offers control, predictable costs and performance.”

Said Jack: “Organisations need to take a pragmatic, application-led approach. Some applications aren’t easy to move because of their dependencies and where they are in their lifecycle; while others are necessary for innovation and a digital first approach. Organisations need to categorise them and understand factors such as the operational requirements and the investments involved.”

“Funnell added: “If you devote too many resources to the migration of ageing traditional applications, you’re not able to devote the resources and energy you should to the new cloud native apps that differentiate your business. That’s the value of the private cloud: all the benefits of the public cloud: an opex model, flexible billing, scaleable resources and on-demand consumption, but with the controls and predicable performance required by enterprise IT. Additionally private cloud provides for a more rapid, successful and lower cost migration strategy for existing applications, due to the fact there is no refactoring of the applications and existing skill sets can be deployed.”

When developing a cloud operating model, organisations should migrate workloads and applications to where they saw business value, the speakers said. “Understand whether you will see value, proof the concept and go through an iterative process in which you move over time. They need to consider ‘Is the juice worth the squeeze?’ Should I repurchase, go SaaS, or go cloud? They need to look at the TCO, be pragmatic and then start moving forward,” Jack said.

“Part of the problem is that many people think the cloud is a destination. The cloud journey has to be application specific, and you have to understand what it is you want to achieve for each application. It’s not about getting from A to B, it’s about the application,” said Funnell.

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