Since the introduction of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a decade ago as the first major public cloud platform, cloud has become the new normal, and is no longer seen as a disruptive technology paradigm. Software businesses which continue to deploy their software applications in an on-premises, licensing mode, can safely assume that it is just a matter of time before enterprises (typical consumers of software), will adopt a cloud-ready application from a nimble-footed competitor.
Cloud transformation and deployment modernization are no longer a matter of choice, but are a critical business need. In the current business context, which demands anytime, anywhere, any device access of software services, only a cloud-first approach will enable software businesses to meet business and technology goals of digital enterprises.
Reiterating the case for cloud
Acknowledging the fact that cloud is the new normal, ISVs must either migrate their traditional on-premises based software applications to cloud or adopt a cloud-first (or even cloud-only) approach for building new applications. Cloud transformation offers a multitude of benefits as outlined below:
- Reduced infrastructure and application maintenance costs due to shared infrastructure, yielding significant lowering of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Achieve enhanced scalability, flexibility, and anywhere access through cloud-based deployment & infrastructure
- Scope for mass customization
- Ability to deliver flexible components and services, which can be part of multiple applications and platforms, as opposed to monolithic applications
- Recurring revenues from a subscription model, which are far more attractive and valued by financial markets than licensing revenue
- Deliver better end-user experience
Choosing a cloud service model
Cloud transformation journey starts with first step of choosing the appropriate cloud service model, based on business and technology needs. One must choose from the cloud stack, which comprises of a trio of cloud computing (also distinct business) models, that are differentiated on the basis of key players, resources, value created, costs, and revenue streams:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most basic cloud-service model that provides computing infrastructure (servers, storage, network bandwidth, software licenses etc.), as a service in a subscription mode. IaaS serves the needs of the IT organization, and dispenses with the need for businesses to make upfront investments in the technology infrastructure. This is an asset-light model, where businesses don’t have to worry about technology obsolescence, as it is the responsibility of the service provider to ensure flexibility and scalability of the technology infrastructure.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a model where the software application is delivered as a service over the internet, and businesses access the service through a web browser. The great advantage of this model is the ability to serve multiple businesses from a virtual environment, and the ease of delivering any changes, upgrades, and modifications to the software through a click-to-deploy model. In a SaaS model, businesses don’t get locked into expensive long-term contracts for software support and maintenance, and the vendor secures a recurring stream of subscription revenue, which is valued far more than one-time licensing income.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a service model that provides a virtual platform to develop, deploy, and manage application lifecycle for solutions that are consumed over the internet. In this model of cloud computing, one can access on-demand environment for rapid development, testing, delivery and maintenance of software applications, in other words the entire platform from software development to delivery. PaaS caters to the engineering /product development needs of a business, and is a variant of SaaS with additional architectural and utility components, and is typically used for rapid development and deployment of mobile and web-based apps.
Choosing a cloud deployment model
In addition to selecting an appropriate cloud service model, one must also choose a cloud deployment model for delivering these services:
Private Cloud, is a mode of deployment where the cloud computing infrastructure is operated exclusively for a single business or customer. In this model, cloud computing services are delivered through a private network, and the associated infrastructure can be either located physically with the business or can also be hosted by a third-party service provider.
Public Cloud, is where the computing services are delivered and accessed through a public network that is open for all. In this deployment model, a third-party service provider owns and supports all the underlying infrastructure including all hardware, software, and network bandwidth. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are some of the well-known Public Clouds.
Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. In this deployment model, sharing of the underlying infrastructure and seamless service delivery across public and private networks is facilitated by technology. Hybrid cloud is increasingly becoming popular for its flexibility, and for some businesses, offers the added comfort of multi-tiered security and data protection.
Factors influencing choice of service and deployment models
Choosing the appropriate model of cloud from a service and deployment perspective is a strategic decision, that must take into account business and customer needs, impact on operations and efficiency, and which service and deployment models will deliver the greatest benefits.
The following factors must be considered in selecting the right mix of cloud service and deployment models:
- Impact of the service on operations, delivery, and customer relationships
- Impact on architecture and technology
- Impact on business capabilities and revenue streams
- Resource utilization, data needs, security, control, and TCO
- Cloud-ready application architecture
Cloud transformation strategies
The complexity of transforming legacy software into cloud-ready applications will vary a great deal based upon factors such as the current software stack and application architecture, target architecture and technology stack, choice of deployment models, resource availability, time, and cost. Based on these factors, one must choose the appropriate cloud transformation strategy, which could vary from low-complexity options such as re-hosting or re-factoring to high-complexity options such as re-architecting and replacing.
coMakeIT’s cloud transformation services help you choose and implement the appropriate cloud transformation strategy that best suits your needs, which could range from:
- automated, tool-enabled migration