Tech teams are urged to look before they leap into the cloud

Cloud technologies do not offer “magic” solutions, and many organisations jump into new strategies without defining a clear plan to realise their benefits

With cloud offerings becoming more complex, IT teams worldwide are finding it increasingly difficult to determine what belongs where when it comes to data processing. In response, global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has published a new blueprint to help IT leaders make more consistent, defensible decisions about cloud services.

The blueprint, titled Define Your Cloud Vision, explores three key areas that IT leaders and their organisations should consider when migrating workloads to the cloud: external and internal motivations for the move, the true value of the cloud for the organisation, and a basic cloud vision and strategy. 

The research notes that as various industries normalise cloud services, organisations should not base their decision to migrate solely on external pressures or as a cost-saving measure. Instead, they must define the cloud's value proposition and create a vision and strategy for its implementation.

"The cloud isn't magic,” says Jeremy Roberts, research director at Info-Tech Research Group. “It's not necessarily cheaper, better, or even available for the thing you want it to do. It requires a bit of effort and thoughtful decision-making to develop a systematic and structured approach to using cloud services."

Cloud users jump first, plan later

According to Info-Tech's findings, many organisations jump to the cloud without defining a clear plan to realise its benefits. For example, many organisations already use the cloud, but these decisions were made ad hoc rather than systematically. The lack of a consistent framework to assess workloads' suitability for the cloud has added to the challenges of creating an effective cloud migration strategy.

To help organisations make better cloud migration decisions, the blueprint suggests evaluating their workloads' suitability for the cloud based on cloud characteristics and then selecting the optimal migration or non-migration path. 

The research also emphasises the importance of identifying potential risks associated with the migration and developing a roadmap of initiatives for actions by workload and risk mitigation.

After considering the value of the cloud, the workloads' general suitability for it, and the proposed risks and mitigations, Info-Tech recommends that organisations define their cloud archetype based on the following categories:

Cloud Focused

  • Cloud-Centric: Providing all workloads through cloud delivery.
  • Cloud-First: Using the cloud as the default deployment model. 

Cloud Opportunistic

  • Hybrid: Enabling the ability to transition seamlessly between on-premises and cloud resources for many workloads.
  • Integrated: Combining cloud and traditional infrastructure resources, integrating data and applications through APIs or middleware.
  • Split: Using the cloud for some workloads and traditional infrastructure resources for others.

Cloud Averse

  • Cloud-Light: Using traditional infrastructure resources and limiting the use of the cloud to when it is absolutely necessary.
  • Anti-Cloud: Using traditional infrastructure resources and avoiding the cloud wherever possible.

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