Cloud technologies have changed the way infrastructure is done. Because of these changes it has enabled businesses to create profitable growth, build new experiences quickly, and scale technology needs almost instantaneously.
Another common misconception is that the cloud is a cheaper, more efficient place to store data. But the cloud is more. It is essentially an infrastructure “operating system” that can do everything an on-site data center can do better, plus new things that would be impossible with legacy systems. Cloud services have made infrastructure the core technology in modern digital businesses.
Those businesses that have adopted cloud technology have benefited from lowered costs, increased scalability, higher performance, and a better digital experience for users. Their success stories have led to another misconception: that cloud migration is a one-step process of moving an existing infrastructure, as it currently exists, to the cloud.
New Infrastructure Challenges
Moving an existing infrastructure to the cloud does work. In fact, that is the first step many businesses take in their cloud migration plan. But if you stop there, you miss out on most of the benefits of using cloud services, and some businesses do.
Thinking of the cloud as a replacement for on-site data centers limits what you can do with it. Technology continues to evolve past the old static, hardware-based model that used to be the norm. Using the same approaches in the cloud will not only leave you wondering why you migrated in the first place but also limit your enterprise’s ability to innovate, adapt, and compete.
Cloud technology has transformed hardware into software, and there is a lot of power in that. Instead of adding new physical servers and hard drives, a click of a button will give you new virtual resources in seconds. That being said, it takes more than just clicking a button.
Applications that perform and scale well in the cloud are built to take advantage of the distributed nature of today’s workloads. Legacy applications could use a fat client or a monolithic architecture that will need to be refactored to use all the features the cloud has to offer.
There are other challenges. If a business uses a remote or hybrid working model, a cloud-based infrastructure could be more secure than a traditional one, but only if it is configured correctly. There is also more than one type of cloud. For a business to take full advantage of the infrastructure renaissance, it may need to combine public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and edge computing technologies.
The Infrastructure Renaissance
While the new cloud-based IT infrastructure can change your business for the better, it can be a complex environment to orchestrate. Creating a cloud-ready infrastructure requires rethinking its architecture and the architecture of the applications that will run on it.
If a cloud migration is planned incorrectly, applications may actually perform worse in a cloud environment. Security can also be an issue. According to Gartner, 90% of security breaches in the cloud can be attributed to human errors. It only makes sense that other cloud issues can also be the result of misconfiguring cloud resources.
Why is this number so high? Because infrastructure design and the skills needed to design cloud-ready applications are keeping up with the changes in technology. Infrastructure must be re-architected for the cloud to perform well.
Those businesses that realize this are taking advantage of everything that cloud services offer. While migration may start with simply moving resources to the cloud, it doesn’t end until those resources use the cloud-native architecture that fits the new environment. This is one big reason businesses that have fully embraced the cloud have had success disrupting existing business models. They can build new products, deploy them, and test them quicker than competitors that haven’t got there yet.
The Cloud-Ready Operative Model
Even though cloud architecture is complex, this shouldn’t discourage you. The benefits will outweigh the time and preparation it takes to migrate your infrastructure. It involves the cloud-ready operative model, which you can read more about in this article.
- Adopt a site reliability engineering module (SRE): A site reliability engineer has sysadmin as well as programming skills. They use software to solve infrastructure problems, manage systems, and automate operations tasks.
- Design infrastructure services as products: A team or teams should own your infrastructure, and it should be treated like any other product, with an agile development team that includes product owners, solution architects, SRE engineers, and more. This team should work with application teams to determine business needs.
- Manage results rather than activities: Many organizations track activities to determine how a project is progressing. While this is still a useful metric, establishing key objectives and results (OKR) at the beginning of a project will ensure that it focuses on commercial results.
- Build an engineering-centered talent model: The cloud has turned an infrastructure that was based mainly on hardware into one that is based mainly on software and requires software engineering skills.
The Reinvention of Infrastructure Engineering
Infrastructure architecture and team structure are not the only things that have been reinvented. The skills IT staff need to manage these environments and job descriptions are also changing. This has not been the easiest decade for infrastructure engineers to navigate.
Some may feel like part of their job is being taken away from them. But while part of their job may become more automated, there is still plenty of work for them to do. Infrastructure engineers are leading this new renaissance by architecting these new systems.
To keep up with this change, IT leaders need to train their staff to handle the new challenges that cloud technology presents and look to a partner with experience in cloud technologies to help with their initial journey to the cloud.
Is It Time to Reinvent Your Infrastructure?
This change is not coming. It is already here. If you want to take advantage of the benefits that the cloud has to offer and keep up with competitors who may already have made the move, then there is no better time to begin than now.
At Baufest, we educate our clients on the cloud services that will benefit their business and tailor an enterprise’s journey to the cloud to fit business objectives. We can guide you to a secure, scalable, and future-proof solution — and help guide your team through the cultural transition, so they are ready to maintain the new environment and innovate. To get started, book a discovery meeting with our solution experts.