Cloud migration is one of the essential components of digital transformation helping businesses enhance efficiency and generate lucrative revenue. Gone are the days of legacy systems which are not only expensive to maintain but also are less efficient as compared to cloud services and software. We often come across the notion “The older, the better” but technology doesn’t conform to such principles. Cloud computing is the new normal these days. It is far more convenient to use than on-prem services, yielding more benefits.

Businesses are seen to be more inclined towards cloud computing as they have been shifting infrastructure, workloads and applications to the cloud. However, some of the enterprises still are clinging to legacy systems for their operations because some systems are hard to replace especially the ones which are performing core business processes. Another reservation related to cloud migration is the loss of control over the data as it is then managed by the third party. These businesses pay a hefty amount to maintain these systems despite other options available in the market.

The cloud-first strategy is one of the strategic approaches towards digital transformation. It has been welcomed by many businesses into their IT operations. Cloud-First Strategies utilize shared infrastructure making it more cost-efficient as compared to the traditional on-premise solutions. The shift to the cloud-first strategy may feel like an abrupt transition from traditional setups to the agile ones which can be heavy on the budget but keeping the benefits in mind it is worth the investment.

Should your business opt for cloud-first strategy? Let’s dive deep into the topic to find out if it’s the right choice for your business or not.

What is a cloud-first strategy?

Cloud-First Strategy refers to the operations strategies where most of the infrastructure is migrated to cloud-computing platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. It serves as an organizational commitment to evaluate cloud-based solutions before other alternatives. In this framework, cloud services are utilized to a considerable extent. The rationale behind the cloud-first strategies is to make business operations cost-efficient and effective.

Cloud-first is not a new phenomenon. It was officially introduced in the U.S. government in 2010, and enterprise IT teams integrated the concept in the years following. Since then, the cloud-first strategy is on its way out. As more and more businesses are moving to the cloud, it is better to adopt a better course of action and consider appropriate cloud solutions for their workflows and operations.

Cloud-First Vs Cloud Only Strategies:

In a cloud-first model, the cloud-based solutions are considered first by the enterprise before implementing a new IT system or replacing the existing one. As mentioned earlier some of the business still prefer to keep their legacy systems while migrating other components and operations to the cloud. Legacy systems are still in place because of the concerns related to data security and governance. In this scenario, a cloud-first strategy is a viable option for such companies.

On the other hand, the cloud-only approach eliminates the possibility of other solutions and requires businesses to implement cloud-based solutions to all of their systems and services. It is estimated that by 2025 all of the businesses will opt for a cloud-only strategy as a cloud-first strategy have already started to seem as outdated.

How to plan an effective cloud-first strategy?

“If you have not developed a cloud-first strategy yet, you are likely falling behind your competitors”

Elias Khnaser, VP Analyst at Gartner:

Cloud has become an essential component of today’s business operations. It enables not only to gain competitive advantages but also paves way for agile business transformation. Enterprises that focus on their cloud strategies and are struggling to enhance it day by day have been seen to make remarkable progress. Gartner in a report recommends that organizations continue to mature their cloud-first strategies — where the cloud is primary, prioritized and promoted.

Here is a guide towards developing an effective and mature cloud-first strategy:

  • Develop a cloud-first strategy embraced by the whole organization
  • Reassess workloads at regular intervals
  • Focus on multiple aspects of the cloud maturity process.
  • Choose a multi-cloud strategy
  • Prioritize the used of cloud platforms native toolset.
  • Evaluate multi-cloud SaaS integration requirements.

How to plan an effective cloud migration strategy:

It is obvious that a cloud-first strategy can’t be implemented on traditional on-prem services. To achieve the desired benefits of cloud-first strategy it has to be made sure that cloud migration has been done effectively. It is seen that most of the companies do not get the anticipated return on investment despite the cloud migration.

Following are some of the tips that businesses need to consider before cloud migration:

  • What are you moving?
  • Why are you moving it?
  • How are you moving it?

These three questions set an appropriate plan of action and thoughts to leverage the desired goals. It is also important to keep the key migration patterns in mind that are:

  • Lift and Shift (Rehosting)
  • Move-and-Improve (Re-platforming)
  • Rip-and-Replace (Re-platforming)

Why go for a cloud-first strategy?

Every business has a unique set of requirements that completely differ from others. There are many reasons to choose a cloud-first strategy keeping your business needs in mind. It is not necessary that the benefits that other companies are reaping out of this approach might also be beneficial for yours. Here are some of the common benefits of the cloud-first strategy:

Cost Efficient:

Every business whether working on a legacy system or cloud services looks for saving cost and earning profit. Most of the times business avoid adopting cloud-first strategy because of the upfront cost neglecting the long-term benefits. Cloud services provide the incomparable advantage of renting the products and services from a third party reducing the cost of maintaining an on-prem server. The cloud migration fee is very much less as compared to the cost of maintaining a legacy system. Also, it speeds up the processes making the business processes agile.

Scalability:

Auto-scaling is one of the most celebrated features of cloud computing. Whenever your business faces a problem that is beyond your domain, cloud service providers automatically upgrade your system according to the requirements and do not let the customers down. For instance, it tackles the problem of big traffic spike on a website by upgrading your server hardware. It will cost more but to keep it in a broader picture it is much cheaper than adding another server.

Reliability:

The problems of server outage and power failure are very common with legacy systems. Cloud-first strategy eliminates the chances of such unfortunate incidents. Cloud computing providers maintain the availability of applications no matter what the circumstances are.

Configurable operations:

Cloud-first strategy saves businesses from the hassle of getting a new service online. As the hardware is controlled by the cloud computing platforms, getting a new service online only requires your approval for the cost. A cloud-first strategy allows your team to determine what they need for their software and let a build pipeline handle the tedious parts for them.

No human error:

It’s easy to forget to schedule a backup of your data, delete a file you wish you could bring back, or make an accidental file change you can’t go back in time and undo. This can be avoided by using cloud back up.

Cautions to be followed while approaching the cloud-first strategy:

The cloud-first strategy might be appealing for most of the business yet it has to be integrated with consideration. It is not necessary for your business needs to always align with the cloud-first strategy. It has to be made sure that your cloud-first strategy doesn’t turn into cloud-only strategy as there are other options available that might be favourable for your businesses. So, it is better to do proper research before going for a cloud-first strategy.

Looking for a trustworthy cloud partner?

CodeNinja is the best choice for your business. We understand your demands and assess all viable solutions to provide you with better options. Reach out to our cloud strategy experts and we will support you through your journey of cloud migration.