Apps

Where are you in your application cloud journey?

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cloud application journeyWhether you are building a new application or using one that’s already built, enabling and running an app on public cloud is a dilemma for many companies’ IT organizations.

It not just about using the public cloud infrastructure, though compute is an essential piece. That’s just a start. You can integrate your application with the cloud echo system and use it more effectively, from technical and business perspective.

You may be in one of the three stages in application cloud journey:

1. Newly built application and deployment

During the initial planning and evaluation phase of a new business application, there is usually a certain set of functional and non-functional requirements, not necessarily including the decision of where to build and host.

One should to approach this from a cost-benefit perspective. The options to build may be:

A. Develop the application in-house using traditional software and tools, then host it in internal data center (something many companies did during the ‘90s and early 2000s).

B. Build the app in private cloud using cloud-native features.

C. Build the application in public cloud using cloud-native features and cloud services.

You may consider using total cost of ownership (TCO) tools for cloud to evaluate these options. Consider items such as infrastructure-compute, software and tools, cloud DevOps, managed services, and even manpower requirements. Some of the benefits may not be quantifiable, but could offer great tangential benefits for cloud.

For most apps, option C would win out against traditional hosting options. There may be some cases in which compliance requirements and other considerations make option B better suited. Once you start developing your new application on cloud, it should exploit cloud-native features to enhance its functionality.

2. The application is already built and deployed outside of the cloud

The application is live, and users are accessing it via the Internet or an intranet. Many IT applications built pre-cloud era fall into this category. These applications do not use cloud features and are deployed in on-premises in customer data centers.

You should evaluate the benefits of cloud for these environments. A simple solution I have seen many organizations use is cheap cloud object storage (COS) for backups and archives.

Migration to the cloud can help you move to a better hardware infrastructure, especially if your hardware’s end-of-life period is fast approaching. Lots of these migrations are clubbed to include the latest supported versions of application and databases or better appliance, such as moving an SAP ECC environment to a HANA appliance or a move of Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) to upgrade to the next release of an e-business suite (EBS) and database.

In addition, for applications that cannot be moved to public cloud, you can take a hybrid cloud approach and see what cloud-native functionality can be added.

3. The application is live and deployed in the cloud

Since your application is already in the cloud in this stage, adapting and enhancing with cloud features is easy. Innovation on cloud is an ongoing activity, as more and more features and functionality are integrated and developed to work on cloud.

Your app’s data being on cloud infrastructure is a valuable asset for your company. You can use that data for various enhancements to your business processes and reporting, even going beyond your original application, using extended cloud features. Even if your application was developed pre-cloud, many analytical and cognitive tools available on cloud can make use of this data for building new applications.

Cloud providers including IBM provide different levels of analytics, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. Analyze your options and use the cloud DevOps opportunity to enhance your IT platform and remain competitive in the marketplace.

Learn more about SaaS on IBM Cloud.

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