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Enterprises have embraced the cloud: according to the 2018 IDG Cloud Computing study, 73 percent of enterprises surveyed now host at least a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure on the cloud, and many have lifted and shifted their simplest workloads to the cloud. But recent survey data also reveals multiple concerns about security, vendor lock-in, compliance and in-house integration.
The message is clear: Cloud strength alone may not be enough to compel substantial movement. Creating an enterprise cloud capable of handling current needs and tackling future challenges requires organizations to do more than heavy lifting. Instead, a comprehensive cloud strategy — designed to help maximize both power and flexibility — is an important step towards realizing lasting cloud gains.
Heritage services and applications account for the vast majority of enterprise IT workloads. Many of them are mission-critical, built from the ground up to empower business-specific strategies or to maintain essential compliance. They can also be costly. As a recent IBM-sponsored Forrester study notes, outdated enterprise applications require organizations to shell out extortionate sums of money to keep them running.
Simply moving to the cloud may not be enough to offset the digital debt. The more pressing question is whether existing applications are ready or right for the cloud. What if you’re running apps that require significant modernization before they’re cloud-ready? What if they simply need to last another year or two while new systems are developed, and there’s no need to move them?
To use cloud power where it makes the most sense, organizations need the flexibility of modernization road maps that help identify what needs to move, what needs to be modified and what isn’t worth lifting or shifting to the cloud. This means using solutions like the Red Hat OpenShift platform, which offers a cloud-agnostic staging ground.
Stretching the limits
Cloud lock-in remains a concern for organizations. Lock-in is the polar opposite of the cloud’s vaunted flexibility: What good are powerful, scalable computing services if enterprises are locked to single-cloud models? What happens if you want to move your application to another cloud platform that provides a better, more optimized environment? What if the proprietary code used to develop these apps can’t be used elsewhere? From our experience with clients, pure power plays offer up-front benefits, but long-term inflexibility can harm organizations over time.
According to IBM research, 85 percent of enterprises surveyed run multicloud environments to maximize their IT impact. What’s more, they’re shifting toward a mix of private and public clouds to create robust hybrid cloud environments rather than going all-in on either type. To meet this growing demand, industry tech leaders are developing multicloud management solutions that empower enterprise IT to move and monitor container-based applications and services anywhere and at any time.
Owning the outcome
Data drives success. Some experts call data the new oil, though others argue that’s an oversimplification. Some worry about its volume; others prioritize accuracy. The common thread? Without data, organizations won’t succeed in the enterprise cloud.
The challenge, though, is that app development and deployment often rely on proprietary coding technologies that offer low bars for entry but are difficult to exit. This is especially critical as organizations move toward cognitive enterprise IT models that prioritize identifying and resolving key business issues by maximizing big data. While proprietary tools may empower app development, enterprises may not be able to uncode apps if provider terms change or separate from providers when business strategy shifts.
Flexibility means owning the outcome by using industry-standard containers to develop plug-and-play microservices and applications that can be moved or modified on demand. For many enterprises, this isn’t something that can be tackled in-house. Instead, it’s worth partnering with providers that prioritize open-source, cloud-agnostic development over data ownership.
As multicloud and hybrid cloud services evolve, there’s a push for organizations to become cloud-native, which is predicated on flexibility and efficiency. But the rush to the cloud comes with commensurate concerns. Without preparation, data and application security could be at risk, and as organizations look to move more of their critical workloads to the cloud, this becomes a priority.
How do you address this issue? Find a provider capable of supplying end-to-end, layered security support that allows businesses to develop cloud-native strategies while reducing overall risk.
Sheer computing power is no longer enough. Organizations need modernization road maps that empower flexibility with multicloud and hybrid cloud deployments powered by open and secure application development.
Learn more about IBM multicloud services that offer open and secured multicloud strategies for application development, migration, modernization and management.