What Applications are Enterprises Moving to the Public Cloud First (and Why)?

By: Tom NiklMarch 2, 2017

A lot of enterprises have made it past the first question: should we move to the public cloud? They’re on board with all the advantages the public cloud offers. Now, they’re onto their second question: what workloads should I move first and why? Being a cloud workload mobility company, we get this question a lot from our customers.

Technically speaking, there are a lot of factors at play as each enterprise has their own current architecture, suite of applications and workloads, SLA requirements, user base, office locations, and so on. Despite these variances, we still see our customers enjoying substantial success with a few types of workloads, especially when they’ve used Velostrata to move them to the public cloud:

DevOps

Enterprises are always looking to enhance the quality and speed of their development and delivery processes. Here, the goal is to bridge the gaps between development, operations, and QA teams so that you end up with a system that provides automated, continuous delivery and integration.

The advantage to building out DevOps in the public cloud is access to resources that are (basically) impossible to exhaust. But the real advantage of public cloud here, is that anytime you need more capacity, more disk space, better GPUs, etc., they’re all just a few clicks away (or zero clicks away with the right automation). This means that when DevOps requires additional capacity, or has special projections like batch operations, large-scale testing, and/or build activities, it’s all readily available. And, with a workload mobility solution that is seamlessly integrated together with your other resources, your enterprise yields unprecedented scale and agility, often leading to faster time to market, less bugs in new releases, and reduced lag between bug fixes.

Batch Processing

Tasks that require copious computing power have always been a thorn in IT’s side. Things like encoding and decoding data streams, financial and/or billing calculations, or large Monte Carlo simulations, for example, require a temporary but concentrated spike of processing power to perform in a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, it’s expensive to acquire (and maintain) this specialized hardware on-premises, especially for tasks that are infrequent.

Leveraging the public cloud for batch processing provides several massive advantages to enterprises. First, batch processing can now take place in an architecture that supports elastic scalability: as processing power varies up or down, servers can easily be added (or removed) from the mix in real-time (this can often be automated, too, further saving IT cycles). This auto-scaling elasticity will result in major costs savings, because instead of investing in (and then maintaining) powerful on-premises hardware, you’re just borrowing what you need, when you need it, from the public cloud. Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for (almost) free, right?

HR Suites

Believe it or not, HR departments command an impressive portfolio of workloads: recruitment management, relocation, benefits administration, human capital management, finance and accounting, SCM/procurement, expense reporting, time management, and so it goes. These applications are critical to the business, but they’re also used sporadically and have low performance requirements, making them an ideal selection to offload from on-premises and into the cloud.

These HR applications typically each have their own server(s), are only used 50% of the time, and even when they are used, they’re not using their full computing capacity. That’s a lot of unused computing power which IT is managing and maintaining. Offloading these applications means that IT can reallocate this hardware to applications that require more steady computing power, or decommission the hardware altogether. Either scenario means time and efficiency gains for your IT department, without any noticeable change in performance from end users.

Collaboration Tools

This is the software that drives most end user’s day-to-day: instant messaging, web conferencing, file sharing, project management, and email. Most of this software today is powered by systems in the datacenter, which is great for local users but often cumbersome for remote users (either because lag affects performance, or because of additional access hurdles like VPNs, or both).

Another great place for the public cloud to shine, by placing these workloads in cloud regions that better align to all your users, regardless of geographical sprawl. With email servers, for example, host a large instance in the public cloud near HQ, and have smaller instances running in other cloud regions that are near remote offices. This way all end users will enjoy native-feeling performance from anywhere, and it’ll help mitigate the likelihood of remote users (or departments) circumventing official systems and processes that are making their day-to-day challenging.

Apps with Large Databases (CRM, ERP)

Enterprises have accumulated huge volumes of data, stored in databases, which power the applications that their end users and customers rely on every day. These applications often involve many VMs as part of their architecture, and their databases often contain terabytes worth of data, even though much of that data lays at rest (or “cold”) for large portions of the time.

There are two major benefits to getting these applications and their datasets into the cloud. First, you’re able to greatly reduce your on-premises hardware footprint by reducing both servers and storage. Second, these applications can now benefit from the elasticity of the cloud, by easily adding more compute (for the application) or storage (for the databases) whenever needed.

Even though this isn’t a comprehensive list, we’ve seen our customers begin their public cloud journey successfully with each of these workload groups. It is crucial at the onset of public cloud adoption to start with some small successes, and then grow from there. As we all know: every journey begins with a single step.

For anyone who’s decided to take that first step, we’d love to tell you more about how Velostrata’s cloud workload mobility solution can help you get these workload types (and more) into the public cloud with speed, scale, and simplicity. Here’s a video where we begin a large, multi-tiered application in the cloud within minutes, and a white paper that covers the unique, patent-pending technologies that power Velostrata’s solution. And, of course, you can always drop us a line.

Tom Nikl
Tom Nikl
Tom has spent twelve years leading product management and product marketing at technology companies large and small who focus on virtualization and cloud technologies. He currently blogs primarily about cloud migration, with an emphasis on overcoming challenges that companies face getting to the cloud and how to solve them. Prior to enterprise, Tom received a B.S. in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Outside of work he is an unabashed fan of Disney Theme Parks and various junk food. Find Tom on Twitter, too: @Tom_Nikl