Migrating to the cloud is a primary objective for many organizations today. While the benefits of operating in the cloud—like cost savings, scalability, and increased collaboration potential—are widely known, the reality of the transition can be challenging. IT departments have a wide variety of factors to consider including the cost of migration, security concerns, and difficulties with application integration and automation.
This means that cloud migration is a process that takes time, leaving many companies in a hybrid state of partial migration. The resulting mixed environments present their own unique challenges and requirements.
The Fortra Cloud Migration Survey was conducted in order to better understand the current state of cloud migrations. 254 professionals across industries and from businesses of all sizes responded to the survey.
The State of Cloud Migration
The majority of organizations operate both in the cloud and on premise.
Not only do most businesses currently run a mixed environment, the number is sure to increase. 86 percent of respondents said they expected to have at least some systems and applications in the cloud within the next year. This number could potentially be even higher than reported, as it’s common in many organizations for business departments to adopt solutions to solve their specific problems without involving IT.
While cloud usage continues to increase, there’s little evidence that on-premise applications will be abandoned in the near future. Out of the 254 companies in the survey, only eight (4 percent) are currently operating completely in the cloud. Five of those are businesses with less than 50 employees, and therefore possibly a less complex IT infrastructure than the larger enterprises in the study.
Migration to the cloud is a gradual process.
Out of those organizations operating in a mixed cloud and on-premise environment, 62 percent have plans for further migration. 39 percent of total respondents have budgeted for migration in the next year. When deciding which applications to migrate to the cloud, the biggest deciding factor was cost. After that, the strategies used to prioritize application migration varied widely. One thing is clear: for the immediate future, most companies will continue to operate both on premise and in the cloud.
Quotes about Cloud Migration Strategy:
“All critical data is stored in the cloud.”
“All mission-critical applications are deployed on premise.”
“Applications that do not require heavy customization and integration are candidates for the cloud.”
“[We consider] cost, functionality, and dependencies.”
“Only new applications or major upgrades go to the cloud.”
“[Migration is based on] the best customer support.”
The Effects of Cloud Migration
Business processes span servers.
In the complex IT environments of modern enterprises, critical business processes are rarely limited to a single server or application. Migrating some infrastructure to the cloud only complicates the requirements for running these processes smoothly. For example, a process running on a cloud application may need to use data stored in an on-premise warehouse.
The survey found that running cross-platform processes is very common in most businesses.
Mixed environments present increasing challenges for application integration and automation.
Any organization that doesn’t automate—or that uses an inadequate automation solution—is missing out on benefits like increased efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings. Nonetheless, 39 percent of respondents were not automating their environments at all. Of those that automate, 37 percent use a homegrown tool. This is a common first step for companies getting started with automation, but it comes with risks, and as a business scales a homegrown solution is difficult to maintain.
“Job scheduler” can mean many things, from a basic scheduler that comes built into a single machine to a comprehensive tool that spans the environment and provides enterprise-class features like event-driven schedules, high availability, and of course, the ability to automate cloud applications. In the mixed environments common today, these cross-platform capabilities are a necessity.
Most automation solutions can’t be deployed in the cloud.
Heavily cloud-based organizations automate less.
It’s possible that the difficulty of integrating complex mixed environments leads businesses to believe that their cloud systems can’t be automated. For whatever reason, organizations with most of their applications in the cloud are less likely to use most types of automation solutions. The exception is business process automation (or robotic process automation) platforms. Business process automation has the flexibility to handle almost any process, regardless of the applications used, and is ideal for use by both IT professionals and other business users--essential for a cloud automation tool, since many of the applications commonly migrated have an end user focus.
Process automation can be paired with cross-platform job scheduling to create a comprehensive automationsolution, but only a few organizations were taking advantage of both types of software.
Respondents were asked what percentage of their systems and applications they expected to have in the cloud within a year. Not all industries are migrating or planning to migrate to the cloud at the same rate. For example, 31 percent of health, pharmaceutical, or biotech organizations expected to have over half of their systems in the cloud within a year, while only nine percent of organizations in financial services did. This could potentially relate to the fact that financial services respondents had greater security concerns than those in most industries.
Similar migration challenges—including budget, security, and integration—are prevalent across most industries. However, each industry has a different mix of concerns. For example, financial services is extremely concerned with security while the retail industry worries more than others about the effect of cloud migration on performance and production.
The proportion of machines that respondents had in the cloud versus machines on premise did not vary significantly by platform.
Cloud computing is no longer a new trend but the status quo in industries everywhere. At the same time, very few organizations have made the leap to an entirely cloud-based IT infrastructure. Instead, the majority of IT departments are dealing with operating in a mixed environment of both cloud and on-premise systems.
For the foreseeable future, companies across all industries will require solutions that can manage the integration and automation of applications on disparate platforms. Unfortunately, many organizations are using automation solutions that are inadequate for a modern mixed environment and are still struggling to overcome integration issues as they migrate to the cloud.