The business value of cloud modernization cannot be underestimated. Whether you need to cut down maintenance costs or shorten deployment cycles, the cloud-powered upgrade can ensure all of that. According to the AWS report, around 40% of organizations that have moved to modern cloud services admit a reduction in IT spending. Moreover, 28% of respondents have experienced an increase in organization revenue.
However, despite numerous advantages, a cloud modernization journey is not with is not without its challenges. How to avoid them and drive cost-efficiency at all project stages from Product Discovery to release? Discover the answers to these questions in our article.
What are the key cloud modernization benefits?
Going for cloud modernization services can help you optimize your budget, decrease time-to-market, and get rid of outdated IT infrastructure. But what else do you gain by implementing an effective cloud strategy? Let’s take a closer look at how you can unlock your full business potential with cloud:
Reduce infrastructure costs
Maintenance costs of hardware infrastructure are often sky-high. With cloud computing, enterprises can save budget on the constant support of equipment. How? First of all, keeping your business data on cloud storage servers requires fewer direct physical devices, if any. In other words, you won’t have to pay for unused infrastructure. What’s more, the cloud provider takes responsibility for any hardware-related needs, such as costs for its repair or replacement.
Storing information in large data centers is far from cost-effective: they take up a lot of physical space and energy. Therefore, migrating to the cloud will considerably cut your expenses on storage space and utilities.
The implementation of hybrid cloud environments also drives cost reduction. When utilizing both on-premise infrastructure and cloud services, you can switch between the options and adapt to the changing workload. That way, you minimize the oversupply of IT resources and, consequently, save costs.
Guarantee robust security and regulatory compliance
Cloud modernization adds up to the protection of your sensitive data since most public clouds integrate with advanced breach-resistant tools and security features. Some cloud solutions can delete a device’s data and access to it in case a user loses their device. A single incident can take a toll on customer experience and the brand image. So, by implementing a cloud modernization strategy, you safeguard both the personal information of users and your business reputation. Also, cloud-native software usually operates under strict security protocols to ensure that a third party doesn’t interfere with sensitive information during data transit.
In addition, hosting on cloud ensures compliance with a wide range of standards, including GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, FedRAMP, NIST 800-171, and FIPS 140-2. Therefore, cloud modernization allows you to receive certification from any regulatory agency avoiding legal challenges and fines.
Upgrade compatibility with third-party apps
One of the main cloud modernization benefits is interoperability with cutting-edge technologies. Once you change your hosting environment and improve the code, you will be able to integrate a wide variety of innovative cloud-compatible software. These apps can unlock an extended range of important features for your users, such as credit card processing and reporting.
Build resilient infrastructure
Migrating your solution to the cloud might considerably enhance your system’s resilience. Let’s take cloud automation testing as an example—with continuous monitoring and cloud management any data breach in the system will be handled automatically. In addition, you can seamlessly handle any server failure. In case of incidents, the workloads will be moved to temporary servers in other places so that your system keeps working without interruptions.
What is more, in cloud computing you can choose an optimal architecture for your workloads that would best suit business resilience needs. There are five resilience patterns that vary according to design complexity, implementation costs, operational effort, and other factors. Depending on your request, cloud specialists can help you choose the right architecture strategy for a resiliency boost. For instance, implementing the Multi-Region active-active pattern will allow you to simultaneously run the workload in several regions. You might also consider other architecture strategies are multi-AZ, multi-AZ with static stability, application portfolio distribution, and multi-AZ deployment.
Increase business competitiveness
Cloud app modernization will boost your technological maturity and help you get ahead of the game. Unlike hosting on-premise, keeping your data in the cloud lets you utilize the latest versions of platforms and advanced technologies faster than your competitors.
If you want to save efforts and costs on the configuration of additional services, cloud computing is an optimal solution. With cloud implementation, you often get a wide range of useful built-in services such as Apache Airflow, ElastiCache, Kubernetes, and others. Therefore, you might not worry about setting up and configuring extra system components.
Additionally, you will be able to integrate Data Science and Machine Learning systems that are usually only compatible with cloud-enabled solutions. For instance, some Machine Learning platforms or workflow management systems operate solely on cloud environments, such as Kubernetes. The implementation of Data Science and ML models will allow you to obtain comprehensive insights into your business data and observe trends in customer behavior patterns.
Optimize development processes
If you need to streamline your IT operations and accelerate delivery, cloud modernization is one of the best solutions. With effective cloud automation, you eliminate the need to do repetitive tasks manually.
Moreover, going cloud-native allows to effortlessly incorporate CI/CD pipelines into the project. With cloud services, you are able to automate the implementation, testing, and deployment stages every time you introduce changes to the code. As a result, this accelerates the release of new features and updates. CI/CD also has a positive impact on the system’s integrity—the pipelines are compatible with other cloud-native services, such as artifact storage, container registries, and many others.
In addition, implementing cloud orchestration will allow you to coordinate several workloads simultaneously, even if they are hosted across different geographical locations.
Ensure fast and reliable deployment
One more notable advantage of cloud modernization is the increased deployment speed. In comparison to a standard installation that might last up to several hours, cloud software deployment takes a few seconds to complete. Cloud computing benefits the team’s productivity since developers will spend less time waiting for software rollout.
There are some cases when deploying a new application into an on-premise infrastructure requires testing directly in the production environment. On the other hand, during deployment through a secondary dev/test cloud environment, you eliminate any risks of infrastructure crash. As a result, the engineering team can perform testing and deployment with no fear of glitches.
Another important benefit of cloud computing is enhanced collaboration capabilities. Storing on a cloud allows your team members to carry out and review tasks simultaneously, without being physically present in the same workplace.
Boost scalability and agility
Infrastructure requirements might change with time. To have your back covered during high-traffic periods, you can easily scale up the cloud-native app and avoid server crashes. And vice versa—hosting on the cloud allows enterprises to scale down as the demands decrease. As a result, businesses can save on cloud spending, when they don’t need additional resources.
Who is responsible for the quality of cloud modernization services?
To convert the idea of cloud app modernization into business value, you need to gather a team of experienced and qualified cloud specialists. Here are the essential experts you require and their roles in your project:
- The Business Analyst takes an active part in the process during Product Discovery. They are involved in requirements clarification, cost benefit analysis, identification of the best cloud app modernization approach, and the development of a risk management plan.
- The Product Manager focuses on the execution of the cloud modernization strategy. Their key responsibility is the management of the product lifecycle from the concept stage through development to retirement.
- The expertise of DevOps engineers covers the development and effective operation of cloud software. These specialists are the core of your team, dealing with the management of cloud-based solutions and services, as well as the infrastructure that supports them.
- DevSecOps specialists integrate security automation at every stage of the SDLC and ensure prompt product release.
- Application engineers are in charge of any changes at the level of code. In other words, they modify and improve the existing legacy systems.
How to implement an effective cloud modernization strategy: 3 essential steps
Now that you selected a reliable cloud modernization services provider, what’s next? Let’s have a look at each step of your cloud modernization journey—here’s a typical action plan for a cloud modernization project:
1. Discovery and design. The initial project stages cover the evaluation and assessment of existing critical applications. This scenario greatly depends on whether a client already has a project vision. If not, the first step will be to collect requirements, analyze constraints, and clarify needs regarding the infrastructure. In cases when the client already knows what they want, the vendor’s task is to develop the project roadmap and estimate the budget. Then, your dedicated team helps you decide upon the cloud modernization model that will best work for your business:
- Re-hosting ( “lift and shift,”) when engineers migrate a workload into the cloud without any modifications;
- Refactoring or updating the application’s existing code and optimizing the software to the cloud;
- Re-platforming stands for making a series of changes to the application to fit the cloud better without rearchitecting.
2. Implementation. At this stage, your dedicated team puts the theory into practice. Application engineers implement an infrastructure solution according to the chosen cloud application modernization model. They break down monoliths into microservices, integrate the microservices, and enable data persistence.
3. Maintenance. After deployment, your dedicated team is responsible for minimizing any modernization-related risks. During this phase, DevOps experts conduct effective change management, monitor the performance of the implemented operational features, and control service excellence.
Success story: increased system scalability for the top UK management consulting services company
The client (NDA) is the leading fintech enterprise that offers investment advisory services to funds, charities, and other institutional clients around the world. The company reached the N-iX team with a request to modernize their legacy Record Operational Management Program (ROMP) data system and upgrade the technology stack. The creation of a new report took around 3 weeks, so our tech experts also had to decrease the time span.
Moreover, the client needed to accelerate the system’s performance, as well as solve issues with the solution’s customization and maintenance.
The project scope spanned the core technology stack shift: N-iX experts moved the ROMP system from .NET Visual Basic to .NET 4.8. As part of cloud application modernization, our experts have switched from the monolith to microservices architecture and migrated the solution from on-premise to Azure Cloud. Furthermore, the upgraded infrastructure allowed N-iX engineers to implement several additional microservices, such as User Management system, Client Configuration, Investments, Market Data, Trading, and Reporting.
As a result of cloud migration, the client was able to enhance the flexibility and scalability of their platform. In addition, our client benefited from the implementation of common features on Azure Cloud for both ROMP and the new currency management platform. The unification of both systems helped the company considerably reduce maintenance costs.
Cloud application modernization: industry best practices that will help you succeed
- Going for microservices
One of the pressing challenges of cloud computing is introducing new versions into a production environment. With monolithic architecture, any change to the code will impact every part of the solution. Moving to microservices is killing two birds with one stone—you minimize the need for additional (often manual) testing and are able to scale each system component independently.
- Paying attention to security
Data protection should always be your number one priority. Your cloud app modernization partner should ensure that the solution is secure at every SDLC stage, from design and development to testing and deployment. One of the best DevOps practices to rely on is the shift-left: the idea is to perform testing, quality, and performance evaluation early in the software development process. That way, you can address the solution defects before they get to production, which, in turn, will help you cut fault-related expenses.
- Using right-size instances
Make sure that cloud instance types and sizes match your workload performance and capacity requirements. If you don’t want to spend on unexploited resources, identify your usage needs first. Then, perform advanced sizing using AWS sizing tools, such as AWS Cost Explorer and Trusted Advisor.
Why choose N-iX to accelerate your cloud journey?
- N-iX is a trustworthy European software development company with 21 years of experience in cloud development for manufacturing, telecom, finance, healthcare, and other industries;
- Our in-house team counts 400+ cloud experts that specialize in cloud modernization strategy development, infrastructure setup, architecture redesign, migration, and system maintenance;
- N-iX boasts 150+ cloud specialists certified by industry leaders, such as Google, Microsoft, and AWS;
- We offer a wide range of DevOps services, namely cloud adoption (infrastructure set up, migration, optimization), implementing and streamlining CI/CD processes, security issues detection/prevention (DDOS & intrusion), firewall-as-a-service, and more;
- The company’s cooperation list includes cloud-related projects delivered to top global enterprises such as Fluke, AVL, Lebara, Gogo, Currencycloud, and others;
- N-iX has received the Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform Competency status and is a recognized AWS Consulting Partner and a Google Cloud Partner;
- The vendor adheres to security standards and regulations, such as ISO 27001:2013, PCI DSS, ISO 9001:2015, GDPR, and HIPAA.