Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a “V” pattern? It’s because the geese in front provide added lift to the ones that follow. Like migrating geese, technologists, architects, and developers can provide lift to their organizations by having a firm grasp of a few migration fundamentals.

Cloud computing is not just about having virtual servers in an off-premises data center. Instead, it has evolved into a complex set of offerings from many vendors that greatly improve the speed of applications delivery, deployment, and scaling. Many organizations, such as Capital One and Salesforce, utilize cloud infrastructures to reduce costs and increase capacity to meet growing demand.

When I was with Red Hat, I had the opportunity to work with a team from a leading bank. I was part of a conversation with the bank’s CIO after they had completed their first migration to the cloud. When he saw the costs of the infrastructure, networking, and other cloud resources he asked, “Why would we ever do anything in our own data center again?”

There is no doubt that the pay-as-you go model has impressed many organizations. With the elimination of costly and time-consuming on-premises web servers, “racking and stacking” is quickly becoming a distant memory. Statistics show that as many as 60% of all newly developed applications are deployed in public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructures.

Compute- and storage-intensive applications find their way to the cloud because of the need to scale so large that on-premises data centers are simply no longer feasible. Big Data systems feeding machine learning and artificial intelligence are a prime example of why cloud computing is growing faster than any other segment of the computing infrastructure industry.

The impending release of 5G cellular networks will further increase the use of wireless platforms. Consumers will soon go beyond smartphones and tablets and start using wearables, connected cars, and other IoT devices more than ever before. Commercial enterprises who wish to respond to these new business models and consumer-driven approaches to automation have no choice but to further their digital transformation efforts and expand their use of cloud computing.

The hard-to-migrate legacy applications that have been in use for years remain the last brown-field category of application workloads. These monolithic architectures are difficult to migrate and often require decoupling to break them into service-level components that can be optimized in cloud infrastructures. Rearchitecting existing applications is often the most expensive and difficult type of cloud migration.

The “Six Rs” of cloud migrations are Rehost, Replatform, Repurchase, Refactor, Retire, and Retain. My new Cloud Migration Fundamentals course covers each of these approaches and discusses both the incentives to migrate and the risks and constraints associated with moving to the cloud.

Last but not least is cloud optimization. As organizations reach a cloud maturity model that involves microservices and container orchestration, they begin to depend upon leading cloud native technologies such as Kubernetes and Docker. This course covers architectural and process considerations such as the Agile and DevOps methodologies for application delivery through CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous deployment) pipelines.

No matter where you fit in today’s cross-functional team, there is a place for you to fly in the front and provide leadership to help your business keep pace with change. This course and the knowledge it gives you will help you fly high in tomorrow’s cloud environments.

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