A Cloud Native and Open Source Approach Can Maximize the Benefits of Cloud

As per industry reports, we can expect more than 80% percent of enterprise workloads to be on the cloud by 2020. That certainly is a very encouraging statistic, especially since cloud also lies at the foundation of most digital transformation efforts. Yet, we hear about how a majority of digital transformation exercises fail to meet their stated objectives.

The primary reason is that most enterprises do not think through all the dimensions of change when it comes to cloud adoption. They do not realize that moving to the cloud is only the first step of their digital transformation journey, and not the last.

Digital Immigrants: Caught Between the Old and the New

Most enterprises today have two types of applications. There are applications that represent the ‘old world,’ which could include the underlying ERP systems, Systems of Engagements, Systems of Innovation etc. Then there are ‘new world’ applications that are by and large, born cloud native to support digital business models of enterprises. The development of these cloud ready applications involves modern concepts such as DevOps, containers, server-less infrastructure but forms a very small component of the infrastructure that needs to be managed.

Legacy or the old world applications still drive the bulk of the business for most enterprises and a majority of them are simply not built to be naturally cloud ready. When these are ported to the cloud in the existing format, it sometimes becomes a pointless exercise because you are not really embracing the true benefits of cloud.

When infrastructure moves to the cloud, it definitely offers benefits since it acts in the form of a scalable, cost effective, agile Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform. But these benefits are short-term and limited. As long as the infrastructure continues to operate in the same monolithic fashion and is tightly coupled with the cloud platform, it doesn’t really matter if you move to the cloud or not. You will still be at square one.

How to Be a True Cloud Enterprise with a Legacy Portfolio

For an enterprise to truly accrue the benefits of cloud, the important thing is to ensure that all the applications come with an adaptive cloud architecture and get to a cloud native state. One way to achieve this is to disintegrate the applications such that they are in the form of microservices and decouple the same from any vendor platform dependency or infrastructure, making them more fluid and cloud ready.

These can then be leveraged at a functional level as a service. They should have the ability to expose their functionalities through APIs so that they can be integrated with other sets of applications. It is only by doing these steps you would be able to bring in the inherent agility that cloud promises. This also gives you a real sense of availability by leveraging cloud capabilities.

As cloud adoption becomes increasingly mainstream, a cloud first, cloud native, open source approach will be the new normal of application development within every enterprise. Unless enterprises take concrete steps to make their infrastructure completely cloud ready, they cannot hope to benefit from cloud adoption in a way that leverages its full potential.