Companies are increasingly moving to the cloud to keep up with innovations, expand customer reach, improve time-to-market as well as enhance security and reduce costs. Cloud transformation is the number one priority on the list of every chief executive officer.

Moreover, amid COVID-19, the adoption of cloud has started to increase. More than half of the respondents in the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report stated that their cloud usage would be higher than initially planned due to the global pandemic. 

Despite the overall increase in cloud adoption, businesses are often not sure how to approach cloud transformation and make it painless and successful from day one. Questions like, ‘What services and operations should be moved to the cloud?’; ‘How to develop a viable cloud migration strategy?’; ‘Which cloud provider to choose?’; and many others often pop right from the start of a cloud transformation journey. This e-book attempts to give the answers to these and many other questions about cloud migration. 

Here at N-iX, we receive dozens of inquiries every year from companies about different types of their cloud migration needs. They range from data migration to application and infrastructure migration. We have proven experience in different types of cloud transformations, and we are ready to share it with you in this e-book

“Cloud offers many unmatched benefits to run your business in a better way. But migrating to the cloud with existing business critical applications or building complex systems from scratch without professional support by your side or years of experience is a risky endeavor full of uncertainty and stumbling blocks. To make cloud migration painless and effective, it’s necessary to have not only deep but also diverse cloud skills and proven experience in different types of cloud transformations. And this is exactly what our experts here at N-iX have to offer.” - Yaroslav Novytskyy, Director of Cloud-Native Services

What’s inside?

This e-book gives an extensive overview of the cloud computing market in 2021 and beyond. It explores the main advantages, stages and pillars of cloud transformation, examines the major players in the cloud market and offers solutions to the top cloud migration challenges supported by real case studies.

The research gathers the information and statistics from 35+ sources. It is based on the data provided by international advisory companies, market research firms, business associations, and other reputable sources. The e-book includes findings by Gartner, Forrester, IDG, IDC, Flexera, O’Reilly, KINSTA, McAfee, and many others

The paper is also based on the long-term experience of N-iX - one of the leading European IT service companies - in implementing cloud transformations for SMBs, enterprises, and Fortune 500 companies across the globe. Since 2005, N-iX has helped numerous organizations build a strong cloud foundation. The company experts have elaborated a number of best practices that enable N-iX clients to innovate faster, expand their market reach, reduce costs, and achieve a number of other benefits through successful cloud transformation.

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Guide to cloud transformation (table of contents)Key stats: the what, why, and how of cloud transformation

According to Gartner, the global public cloud services market is expected to reach $354.6B by 2022, up from $227.8B in 2019. A lot of organizations have already made a shift from on-premise servers to the cloud. Or at least they have moved a part of their infrastructure to the cloud. 

  • More than 90% of organizations leverage the cloud.
  • 55% of companies currently use multiple public clouds.
  • Organizations are using an average of 2.2 public and 2.2 private clouds.
  • 40% of IT leaders claim that COVID-19 is accelerating their move to the cloud.
  • Companies expect to spend about a third (32%) of their total IT budget on cloud transformation in 2021
  • 53% of companies have reached the advanced cloud maturity level.
  • Through 2022, insufficient cloud IaaS skills will delay the migration of about 50% of enterprises to the cloud by two years or more.
  • AWS is an undisputed market leader globally in the cloud service market (32,3%), followed by Microsoft at 17%, and Google at 6%.
  • The global application transformation market size is expected to grow from USD 9.7B in 2019 to USD 16.8B by 2024.
  • Data as a Service Market was valued at USD 26.23B  in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 46.50B by 2025.
  • DevOps Market size exceeded USD 4B in 2019 and is poised to grow at over 20% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.
  • The complexity of the existing infrastructure, wasted costs, security, data loss, downtime, latency, vendor monopoly are among the key challenges companies face with cloud transformation.

Sources: reports by Gartner, Flexera, O’Reilly, Canalys, IDG, MarketandMarkets, Mordor Intelligence, Global Market Insights, MariaDB.

Part 1. The value of cloud transformation

Cloud computing is an all-around hype and for a good reason, because it has the potential to transform the way you do business. According to IDG Cloud Computing Survey 2020, the average cloud investment is up 59% from 2018 to $73.8M in 2020. If to compare the cloud spend of SMBs and enterprises, SMBs generally have substantially lower cloud bills because they run fewer workloads in the cloud than enterprises. 56% of SMBs spend less than $600,000 annually compared with only 13% of enterprises. So why do companies invest billions in the cloud? 

Business drivers of cloud transformation

Cloud resources accelerate time-to-business value. This allows companies to improve ROI, increase operations, and enhance business outcomes.

  • Expanding your market reach
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Great elasticity
  • Cost optimization
  • Enhanced security

Tech drivers of cloud transformation

From the tech perspective, the cloud gives a myriad of benefits to developers. It ensures continuous innovation, better productivity, availability, and great flexibility.

  • Avoiding vendor lock-in
  • Flexibility to use the technology
  • Easy management of infrastructure
  • Resilience to failures
  • Standardization/unification
  • Autonomy for developers

All these benefits are available in the cloud at global scale in minutes. And they make companies embark on the cloud journey despite common risks and challenges. 

Part 2. How to start your cloud migration journey

Cloud transformation starts with shaping a cloud migration strategy. Then, CIOs can proceed with planning, execution, and maintenance. Otherwise, they risk ending up with huge expenses and system failures.

It is important to formulate the cloud migration roadmap in the context of the company’s overall strategy. Consider where the cloud journey fits into the organization’s larger business strategy and find opportunities for the alignment of vision. A well-aligned cloud migration strategy sets the proper groundwork for cloud adoption success. It should be a living document elaborated by CIO (or the equivalent) and organizational leaders across other business units: procurement, legal, human resources, finance, etc.

cloud transformation journey

The main thing is not to get caught in the hype and rush into moving your workloads and data in the ad hoc manner to the most touted cloud platform. What is advantageous for one company can be inapplicable for your business. Without rigorous planning and a clear cloud migration strategy in place, companies risk experiencing wasted costs, security issues, and poor performance.

Before jumping into cloud transformation, every CTO should consider these essential questions:

  • Why do I need to migrate to the cloud? 
  • What are the benefits of cloud migration I expect to achieve?
  • Do I have mission-critical data that I need to store on-premise?
  • What capacity do I require?
  • How many cloud providers do I need?
  • Should I choose a public or private cloud model?
  • Do I need to go with a hybrid operational model?
  • Which workloads get prioritized?
  • Should I move applications to the cloud as-is, in a “lift and shift” model, or refactor them to take advantage of cloud-native architecture?

A trusted partner can help companies answer these questions, formulate a viable cloud transformation strategy based on long-term experience and guide them through their cloud migration journey.

Choosing the platform for cloud transformation: AWS vs Azure vs Google

A lot of organizations have already made a shift from on-premise servers to the public cloud. Or at least they have moved a part of their infrastructure to the cloud. AWS, GCP, and Azure are the key players on the market. Since 2004, when the first AWS service was launched for public usage, AWS has rapidly grown into the dominant cloud platform. Although GCP and Azure entered the market a few years later, they have presented stiff competition to AWS as reliable public cloud providers among both startups and enterprises.

worldwide cloud infrastructure spending

Download the full e-book to compare the strengths and weaknesses of AWS, Azure and GCP and make a well-informed decision.

Three pillars of cloud transformation

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to migrating solutions to the cloud. There are many paths and cloud services options. However, they are all built around three main pillars of cloud transformation: apps, data, and DevOps.

cloud transformation pillars

Application transformation is the process of modernizing legacy applications to move them to the cloud more effectively. There are many various types of strategies to migrate legacy applications to the cloud. Taking into account classifications by AWS, Oracle, Google, and Forrester, cloud experts at N-iX differentiate between 6 key application transformation methods: 

  • Rehost (lift and shift)
  • Replatform (lift, tinker and shift)
  • Modernize
  • Rewrite
  • Drop and shop
  • Retain

To determine the best application transformation method, you need to assess and prioritize your apps correctly.

application transformation market

Data plays an essential part in any cloud transformation journey. You can’t migrate apps without data. Data services are a broad category of services that help businesses extract actionable insights from diverse data sets - structured and unstructured, in transit or at rest, generated in real time and at a large scale. With a proprietary big data framework and popular open-source technologies like Apache Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka, etc. companies can get vital insights from previously untapped data assets. By putting the right technology in place, businesses can significantly reduce costs, improve ROI as well as save time and effort on data collection, analysis, and visualization.

Data as a Service Market

DevOps is the third pillar of cloud migration, which is as important as application transformation and data services. Starting from infrastructure setup, and CI/CD to monitoring and security, it helps build a highly automated environment that allows development teams to deliver applications and services at high velocity. Not only does DevOps boost development efficiency but also enhances security, speeds up time-to-market, reduces resource utilization, and improves scalability.

DevOps market

Learn how to bring together best practices around data migration, apps transformation, and DevOps to succeed with cloud transformation.

Part III. How to tackle key challenges of cloud transformation

In a rush to move to the cloud, companies often underestimate the risks in cloud computing that might heavily impact cloud transformation outcomes. The complexity of the existing infrastructure, wasted costs, security, data loss, downtime, latency, vendor monopoly - all these challenges have to and can be tackled for successful cloud transformation. To mitigate these and other risks in cloud computing, companies require solid cloud skills. 

cloud transformation challenges

“Through 2022, insufficient cloud IaaS skills will delay half of enterprise IT organizations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more.” - Gartner

With this in mind, CIOs should consider partnering with trusted IT outsourcing vendors who have proven experience in the cloud. 

Accelerate your cloud transformation with N-iX

N-iX is one of the leading software development service companies in Eastern Europe with years of experience in implementing cloud transformations for a number of businesses around the globe. We have a strong portfolio of cloud projects across a variety of industries: telecom, fintech, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and more. N-iX has built successful partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and other industry leaders, such as Lebara, Gogo, TuneIn, Currencycloud, Orbus Software, and many others helping our partners leverage the benefits of cloud migration. With dozens of skilled cloud experts on board, we are fully equipped to develop cloud-native apps or move your existing applications to the cloud. Starting from cloud readiness assessment and cloud strategy development to infrastructure set up, architecture redesign, migration, and maintenance - our specialists will support you at any stage of your cloud transformation journey.

  • N-iX is a Select AWS Consulting Partner, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, a Google Cloud Partner, and an OpenText Reseller Silver Partner;
  • 100% of our cloud experts are certified by industry leaders, 300+ cloud engineers
  • N-iX is compliant with PCI DSS, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and GDPR standards;
  • Our expertise in cloud computing includes cloud-native services, on-premise-to-cloud migration, cloud-to-cloud migration, as well as multicloud and hybrid cloud management;
  • We offer professional DevOps services, including Cloud adoption (infrastructure set up, migration, optimization), building and streamlining CI/CD processes, security issues detection/prevention (DDOS & intrusion), firewall-as-a-service, and more;
  • N-iX has broad data expertise to design different kinds of data solutions: Big Data / Data Warehouse / Data lake development, Business Intelligence, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, etc.
  • N-iX is trusted in the global tech market: the company has been listed among the top software development providers by Clutch, in the Global Outsourcing 100 by IAOP for 4 consecutive years, recognized by GSA UK 2019 Awards, included in top software development companies by, and others.
  • N-iX is among the world’s 501 leading managed service providers (MSPs), according to Channel Futures' 13th annual MSP 501 worldwide company rankings.
  • N-iX has been named No. 72 on the 2020 CRN Fast Growth 150 List for the substantial growth and performance over the previous two years. 
  • As a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, N-iX invests heavily in educational initiatives and the development of talented youth. Since 2018, N-iX has supported 60+ educational initiatives; funded scholarships for 10 UCU students; sponsored EIT (External Independent Testing) preparation courses for children in need. Also, N-iX joins the global fight against COVID-19. The company has created a Charity Fund and raised UAH 3M to support the Ukrainian healthcare system.

What’s in it for you?

  • Access to the list of 35+ sources used in the e-book;
  • 6 real-life cloud transformation case studies;
  • Insights from 10 top N-iX cloud experts;
  • Data and stats from reports by Forrester Research, Inc.;
  • 7 best practices on successful cloud migration.

By N-iX October 08, 2020

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About N-iX

N-iX is a global software solutions and engineering services company that helps world’s leading organizations turn challenges into lasting business value, operational efficiency, and revenue growth using modern technology. With over 2,000 professionals in 25 countries across Europe and the Americas, N-iX offers expert solutions in cloud, data analytics, embedded software, IoT, AI, machine learning, and other tech domains. Being in business for over two decades, we have worked with dozens industry-leading enterprises and Fortune 500 companies creating value across a wide variety of sectors, including finance, manufacturing, supply chain, retail, and more.

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