Optimal Cloud Utilization: From ‘Lift & Shift’ to Cloud-Native

‘Lift and shift’ has long been the dominant paradigm for migrating workloads to the cloud. However, we should now move beyond this phase; a cloud-native approach aligns much better with the digitalization challenges that organizations face today. Nevertheless, achieving this requires a solid strategy as its foundation.

Challenges with Current Cloud Practices

In essence, many organizations stumbled into the cloud. Departments purchased cloud capacity or apps without the IT department’s knowledge, leading to a loss of control over IT assets. As cloud adoption grew, organizations opted to lift and shift entire workloads. By doing so, technological and process silos largely remained intact, resulting in the underutilization of cloud computing’s full potential.

Benefits of Cloud-Native Systems

Cloud-native systems optimize the use of the cloud service model. They are designed to thrive in dynamic, virtualized cloud environments and extensively leverage Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructure and managed services. Through automation, they treat the underlying infrastructure as disposable; available within minutes and adjusted, scaled, or removed on demand. This enables organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Requirements for Cloud-Native Approach

A cloud-native approach often necessitates code refactoring or rewriting the solution, which requires a substantial investment. It involves consistently applying principles and functionalities such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, DevOps, microservices, containers, orchestration, and cloud standards. Any company embarking on this journey must clearly define its cloud goals to determine which applications require urgent modernization. 

Strategic Planning for Cloud Adoption

Mapping the organization’s roadmap and integrating it into the cloud strategy is essential. Where does the organization currently stand? Where does it aim to be in five years? And what is the organization doing to facilitate change? Answering these questions provides a clearer picture for decision-making. Additionally, careful consideration must be given to data management and data mobility.

Exit Strategy and Vendor Lock-in

A robust cloud strategy is incomplete without an exit plan. It is not legally established that a cloud service provider must support a transition to other cloud technologies. With little legal precedent, organizations need to assess their dependencies with their cloud service provider. It is essential for organizations to have a well-defined cloud exit strategy with a detailed transition plan to prevent vendor lock-in. Digital sovereignty is, after all, a crucial element of a cloud strategy.

Leaseweb Client Survey Findings

In 2023, we conducted a survey among our clients, revealing that the reasons for transitioning to the cloud are not much different than a few years ago. Topics such as cost transparency and savings, increased flexibility, and greater innovation capabilities still rank high on the lists. While all these goals are achievable, they are not attainable by simply moving (virtual) boxes from the headquarters to a storage warehouse ten kilometers away. It is wiser to opt for a cloud-native approach based on a sound cloud strategy with an exit plan in place.

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