Cloud migration has increased exponentially worldwide, and enterprises as a whole have benefited from the shift. But a “one-size-fits-all” approach may not be the answer for everybody.

Soni Jiandani, Corporate VP, AMD Networking Solutions Group

April 24, 2023

4 Min Read
cloud illustration
Kalawin via Adobe Stock

Over the past few years, organizations worldwide have embraced cloud migration at an unprecedented rate and reaped the benefits -- efficiency, scale, security and more. In fact, it is estimated that 94% of all data center workloads are now processed in the cloud, underscoring its incredible popularity and usefulness.

While there are unmistakable advantages to cloud-based operations, in the rush to keep up with unexpected demands driven by the pandemic, many IT teams were forced to move workloads to the cloud without considering strategy. Now, as they take stock of their cloud investments, these same enterprises need to recalibrate their strategies to meet long-term business objectives. Key to this is to critically reevaluate current workloads and determine if cloud-native is right for them.

But where do we start? There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to making decisions to best support an organization’s unique business needs. Every company needs to approach their cloud-native strategy differently. Accordingly, for CIOs looking to uplevel their cloud operations, there are four questions that can help determine the best path forward.

1. Will my workload be more efficient in the cloud?

Organizations should carefully review their current workloads, as some will inevitably be more efficient on-premises than in the cloud, and vice versa. For example, organizations that have seasonal and intermittent workloads may be best suited for the cloud vs. on-premises. Unlike on-premises, which burns resources and appreciates year-round, the cloud can be tailored to seasonal and intermittent workloads, presenting ideal solutions for companies with temporary needs. On the other hand, AI-based workloads will naturally be more efficient on-prem and at the edge, where the data is created, given its lower latency. In some instances, it may make sense to adopt a hybrid cloud model, when workload demands vary wildly or need burst capabilities. Beyond that, hybrid models can be more effective for built applications in-house, which may be expensive to move to the cloud.

To determine the most appropriate approach, IT teams must look inward to determine what the company’s current needs are and outline a path to maximize operational efficiency.

2. What is the current security risk tolerance based on workload type?

As companies scrambled to move their existing processes onto cloud-based networks, many overlooked critical indicators, such as access management, that ultimately caused compliance issues and associated costs down the road. For companies transitioning to the cloud, setting security constructs at the get-go can make the difference in ensuring employees have the right access to the resources they need, without foregoing security. As a rule of thumb, sensitive applications that require additional security protocols should be kept on premises: put behind strictly controlled firewalls with defined and managed access control. Simply put, security cannot be an afterthought when making the cloud transition and establishing security constructs early can minimize future costs and effective access management.

3. Can I justify the cost of scaling in the cloud given our current technical debt?

Moving an organization’s infrastructure to the cloud often requires changes to existing applications, resulting in additional development costs, operational complexity, and more technical debt. When deciding whether to move to the cloud, it’s important to note that although the upfront cost of the cloud is less than on-prem services, the recurring cost of storage and applications can quickly add up. Particularly for large enterprises that carry enormous amounts of debt within their technology stacks, from servers to processors on on-prem applications, it can be hard to justify the switch -- especially when considering costs associated with future storage needs in the cloud. In taking a methodical approach to architectural changes, organizations can reduce costs and mitigate the risk of shocking the system in the process.

4. Is our existing brownfield architecture working well enough?

CIOs who are considering changing their brownfield architecture (previously developed infrastructure) to greenfield architecture (new infrastructure) should consider if their current solutions are working well enough for the company’s needs. As the saying goes: Don’t fix something that isn’t broken. However, if there are clear gaps or room for improvements, it’s valuable to consider all alternative options -- without focusing solely on the next technology shift and rushing to implement it. Instead, CIOs should consider less disruptive improvements that can be made on-premises, such as introducing smart switches. In implementing improvements around already-developed structures, companies can build on their existing legacy components and limit potential business disruptions that are associated with migrating to the cloud.

Final Thoughts

As evidenced by the above, it’s clear that cloud-native strategies are not necessarily right for every organization and its unique business needs. While the cloud has many benefits -- including efficiency, lower upfront costs than on-prem services, security constructs and more -- cloud strategies and migration plans are not as cut and dried as they may seem. For CIOs and IT decision-makers who believe the cloud is the right solution for their organization, remember that it is imperative to walk before you run, and take time to develop a foolproof cloud strategy. By following the questions answered above, companies should be well-positioned to reassess their current capabilities and build a foundation for lasting success.

About the Author(s)

Soni Jiandani

Corporate VP, AMD Networking Solutions Group

Soni Jiandani is Corporate Vice President of the AMD Networking Technology and Solutions Group and former Chief Business Officer and co-founder of Pensando Systems. A serial entrepreneur, Soni has driven multiple multi-billion-dollar technology transitions through successful startups she has co-founded as part of Silicon Valley’s legendary MPLS team. Soni is an expert and visionary in creating disruptive networking technology that’s both easy to adopt and implement and addresses critical business needs.

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