Into the Cloud
An introduction to cloud computing and why it benefits your business
In November 2021, Gartner analysts projected that by 2025, “more than 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle.” According to Milind Govekar, distinguished vice president at Gartner, “There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy.”
And yet, for many people and businesses accustomed to legacy systems and conventional IT models, there’s something a little abstract and out there about the notion of The Cloud. It has an amorphous, ethereal ring to it, making it hard to conceptualize, let alone grasp its practical uses and concrete benefits. If we’re honest, as Joni Mitchell wrote, we “really don’t know clouds at all.”
So let’s start with the basics. What is cloud computing?
In simplest terms, cloud computing is the delivery of a wide variety of computing services through the Internet—servers, data storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more—providing on-demand resources, the flexibility to access data from any device and location, pay-as-you-go-for-only-what-you-use pricing, a high degree of scalability, and much more.
There are two main types of cloud:
- Public—A third party owns and operates the cloud, and provides services over the Internet.
- Private—Used by a sole business or organization; may be located in an on-premises data center or hosted by a third-party provider.
Cloud providers supply three primary types of service—buildable into customized layers, called stacks, which together form a complete system for the end-user:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) The foundation of cloud computing, IaaS refers to the hardware and software power delivered by the cloud over the Internet, including servers, storage, networks, and operating systems.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) Cloud-based tools and services designed to allow developers to create code and software to be deployed over the web.
- SaaS (Software as a Service) Applications designed for the end-user, and delivered via the Internet.
Though cloud computing as a concept has been around since the mid-1990s, it really took off in the mid-2000s when “The Big 3” providers emerged: AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
More recently, Covid-19 highlighted the need for—and significantly accelerated—digital transformation and cloud adoption, as companies modified on the fly to pandemic-era demands such as remote work. By the end of April 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reported, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”
Cloud migration can provide immense benefits to your business. In essence, a remote provider supplies on-demand delivery of all your computing needs, and you pay for only what you use. You can operate more efficiently, from anywhere, at a lower cost, and scale as needed for your growth.
- Reduced cost. Cloud computing significantly reduces overall IT costs through pay-as-you-go and subscription models. It also eliminates the expense of purchasing, setting up, and running on-premises infrastructure.
- Rapid deployment. Cloud technology streamlines the delivery of services; you can have what you need, literally at your fingertips, in minutes rather than days or weeks.
- Up-to-date technology. Cloud providers update systems continually; eliminates (expensive) upkeep of legacy systems.
- Flexibility. From the freedom to work from anywhere on any device, to the ability to scale immediately to meet new demands, the cloud offers improved flexibility for your company.
- Improved Security. Providers use multiple safeguards, from policy to technology, to protect data/software/infrastructure, for example: a unique digital key needed to access the encrypted data stored in the cloud.
- Reliability. Though most cloud providers guarantee better than 99.9% uptime and availability of service, it’s easy to build fault-tolerance—work continuity, data backup, disaster recovery, etc.—into your system through redundancy and other protections.
There are 3 main methods of cloud migration, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Rehost. Commonly called “lift and shift,” this simply means making a copy of existing software and moving it to the cloud. Functionality, look, and feel remain the same but you gain some of the basic benefits of cloud computing such as auto-scaling, storage, and data processing while paying only for consumption. This “quick fix” is cost-effective as it requires no new development or architecture, but it’s not always optimal as certain aspects of legacy software aren’t compatible with cloud technology.
- Refactor. This method involves rewriting certain parts of existing applications to optimize for use in the cloud. You derive more benefits from cloud technology, including improved resilience and durability, but it is a somewhat longer, more labor-intensive process.
- Rebuild. Though more expensive and time-consuming, this method yields immense ROI over the long term, by creating agile, custom, cloud-native applications and eliminating the inherent fallibilities of adapting legacy software for the cloud.
At Lukasa we understand that cloud migration can seem intimidating and overwhelming. But we can help. From conceptualization to redesign and execution to ongoing support, our team of veteran technology experts and business strategists will partner with your organization to deliver the most beneficial, cost-effective, and future-focused cloud migration path for your company.
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Lukasa empowers small-to-medium-sized businesses by designing and implementing custom business and technology solutions that drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation, enabling them to stay ahead in today’s rapidly-changing competitive landscape.