Our last post focused on this year’s SMB and Midmarket Top 10 IT Priorities, IT Challenges and Business Issues report from market research firm Techaisle. Cloud computing ranked as the top IT priority for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) in 2018, thanks to the cloud’s ability to address some of the key business issues these organizations face. By moving to the cloud, organizations can reduce operational costs, improve productivity, enhance business processes, and increase profitability and growth.

But what do we mean when we say companies are “adopting” or “moving to” the cloud. Generally speaking, cloud adoption refers to the implementation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions — something like Office 365 or Salesforce, for example. Cloud migration refers to the process of moving an existing on-premises application to a cloud platform. And it’s considerably more difficult than cloud adoption.

According to a new report from Forrester Consulting, the migration of mission-critical apps to the cloud continues to grow. Organizations actively engaged in cloud projects have migrated 44 percent of their apps, on average. This number is expected to reach 62 percent by 2019. Of those organizations migrating to the cloud, 52 percent are doing so in order to achieve cost savings.

It’s important to note, however, that moving applications to the cloud can require a significant investment in both time and money. Nearly all respondents to the Forrester study (89 percent) cited cost as a significant challenge.

According to Gartner, there are five ways to migrate an application to the cloud:

  • Rehost the application in the cloud (a.k.a. “lift and shift”)
  • Refactor or customize the application to run in the cloud
  • Revise, modify or extend the code to enable rehosting or refactoring
  • Rebuild the application on a cloud provider’s platform
  • Replace the application with a SaaS solution

These options recognize that it’s not always easy or even possible to move an application to the cloud, particularly older, complex applications that are closely tied to legacy hardware.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that it isn’t viable or desirable to replace your existing app with a SaaS solution. The application may be highly customized to your workflows, and a SaaS alternative would require you to modify your business processes. Maybe you have a lot invested in the application and don’t want to move to a subscription model.

Choosing among the other four migration options requires digging into the software code. Refactoring, revising and rebuilding all require some degree of reprogramming. Even rehosting requires you to reconfigure the application to run in the cloud environment, and you’ll likely lose some of the scalability benefits of the cloud if you go that route.

You’ll also need to find the cloud environment that’s best-suited for your application. Keep in mind that most cloud platforms are designed for cloud-native apps, so you’ll need to find one that’s structurally compatible with your software. Performance, security and regulatory compliance requirements are key considerations, as well as the skills and resources needed to manage the app in the cloud.

SSD Technology Partners is uniquely positioned to help you determine the best path forward. Our experienced consultants can evaluate your applications and IT environment, and identify apps that may be candidates for replacement or migration. For those mission-critical apps that need to stay onsite, our software development team can implement updates and enhancements that better support your operations.