Going Cloud-First as an Enterprise Strategy
As more and more applications move to the cloud, the cloud-first strategy becomes an increasingly realistic enterprise option.
Among the Google results for "cloud trends 2016," spotting a repeatedly mentioned prediction for this year doesn't take long: the growing popularity of the so-called "cloud-first strategy," which, in turn, is expected to accelerate enterprise cloud adoption. So what is this cloud-first strategy about, and what is its role in the cloud market?
Cloud-first is a fairly self-explanatory business strategy built around the primary goal of reducing IT costs by leveraging the benefits of using shared infrastructure and paying only for resources consumed. However, everything has its pros and cons: Apart from substantial business benefits, the strategy encounters certain risks on the way to the eventual positive outcomes. That's exactly what defines the three key trends driving cloud computing in 2016: the motive to get value from the cloud-first strategy, risk mitigation, and reduced time to value.
Growth of Cloud Adoption
Since modern business dictates a need to move to the cloud, cloud providers are offering a range of appealing services. Both sides (provider and client) invest significant resources in the cloud migration and new service development with the goal of easing the migration process. This tendency presupposes that a growing number of enterprises will opt for cloud.
Selecting the cloud provider that best fits with your business will be one of your major cloud-related challenges. Even with a whole market of attractive cloud offerings, migration to the cloud still remains a costly process. Evaluation of potential cloud providers' offerings and selection of the most fitting one is a mandatory starting point in the cloud adoption process.
Infrastructure Design and Legacy Systems
Cloud-first infrastructure design and adoption of legacy systems is a second challenge. When moving to the cloud, you must take into account that the cloud provides elasticity and scalability. However, at the same time, the cloud's infrastructure works within limits defined by a cloud provider: network usage, number of virtual machines, etc.
Also, keep in mind that the cloud is a shared infrastructure, so performance and other metrics can vary. In order to cope with this challenge, it is not enough to deploy legacy infrastructure as it is. Enterprises and teams carrying out cloud implementation projects must perform systems and infrastructure redesign in order to make them ready for the cloud infrastructure. Enterprises developing projects from scratch will apply cloud-first design in most cases, maximally leveraging cloud services provided out of the box.
Increasing attention to cloud-first strategy leads to enhancement of other marginal trends. These include:
- Hybrid cloud, another buzzy cloud term, is gaining well-deserved popularity at rapid speed due to the spread of microservices architecture and a growing number of software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. Right now it's hardly possible to design an infrastructure other than in the hybrid model. Typical cloud infrastructure includes integration with on-premises resources and a whole lot of SaaS resources.
- Spiked attention to cloud security. Government regulations and compliance drive the need for security solutions for cloud infrastructure.
- Application containerization, along with Docker, maturing. Docker has become a developer favorite with its fast deployment and rollback, cross-platform and cross-cloud deployment, process isolation, and other benefits.
- Serverless architecture, a brand-new trend born as a result of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda service release. The idea behind AWS Lambda is quite simple: You deploy code on a cloud service, and the cloud service executes the code. The principle is similar to the Heroku platform-as-a-service offering, with the key difference being that AWS charges for the function execution time whereas Heroku charges on a monthly basis for what you use, prorated to the second. While their prices can be competitive, AWS offers the more transparent pricing model.
Delivering value as it does, the cloud firmly keeps its strength in the tech world. Cloud providers continue developing new services in response to modern business demands. As a result, more and more applications will move to the cloud and reinforce the cloud-first strategy, including design and implementation that leverage cloud services. Happy new cloud year!