It is increasingly accepted that at least some of an enterprise’s applications can benefit from residing in the public cloud. For cloud service providers, many of your customers will already understand this, and may well be open to cloud computing as an idea – organizations under pressure to move to an Opex, rather than Capex cost model, or those growing faster than capital investment budget can allow, are strong contenders.
They may however be at a loss as to where to start. Should all applications be migrated to the cloud, or only some? In which order should the applications be moved? Also, implementing any new concept within a business carries an element of risk – how best to ensure that any such risk is planned for and mitigated?
It is one thing to appreciate something as an academic idea, one that analysts and journalists will continue to discuss at length for the foreseeable future – quite another to take the plunge and apply this to a customer’s own business. If your customer views cloud as a long term strategy, you will need to ensure a positive first impression, therefore these early stages are key.
Consider where your customers’ existing applications would sit on the differentiation spectrum: at the left end would be their most commoditized applications, e.g. web, collaboration applications etc.; at the right would be their most highly differentiated, business critical ones, such as legacy, bespoke applications or those most affected by local compliance regulations. Generally speaking, a left to right approach makes most sense, i.e. proving the cloud computing concept for your organization with lower risk, more standardized applications, eventually moving to the more critical ones when it makes sense to do so. Left-of-spectrum applications with highly fluctuating demand are particularly good candidates.
That being said, not all of your customers’ applications may be suited for the cloud, at any stage. Thought should be given to:
- The application’s lifetime: if the application is due for heavy redevelopment, or possibly even for decommission, the budget may be better spent on a fully cloud aware equivalent
- Complexity: the more complex the application’s interdependencies the higher the likely cost of migration
- Compliance and privacy concerns: is there a requirement for a particular level of datacenter security?
These cases are however thankfully rare; with the correct level of consideration even the most demanding applications usually have an available migration path.