How to know if you should be moving applications to the cloud

1st November 2016

Cloud is becoming more and more acceptable in the public sector. Not just taking advantage of virtualised, private cloud solutions but moving to commodity public cloud services. The reasons to do this include greater flexibility, the ability to scale up as and when needed and, of course, cost savings. But how do you know whether your applications(s) are suitable for a cloud platform?

The first stage is to assess what you have so you can understand the business drivers, constraints and ROI for the move. You need to give yourself a clear picture of your situation and, perhaps most importantly, be clear about the outcomes that you want to create.

Business drivers, constraints and desired outcomes

Start by looking at the business situation – what the applications do for your organisation, their users, owners and developers. There are many questions to get answers for but start with these three.

What service(s) are you planning to move? Who uses them and how many users do you have? Does the user base consist of employees, partners, customers or a combination? How do they access the service?

Is there a compelling event driving the migration and its timeframe? Is there a contract end-date or hardware end-of-life that makes the move necessary?

Is the application being actively developed and/or updated? Who does the development and what are their needs during any migration?

Service performance and availability

We typically look at the demands on the service from its users. Getting a clear picture will help to detail the impact of the change. It can also be a good opportunity to get a realistic view of needs and assess the potential improvements that can be made.

What are the current hours of service? Is it true 24×7 or just business hours? Can outages be tolerated during redeployment?

What are the capacity and scalability trends and requirements? Are there seasonal peaks or high-demand events?

What channels are used to access the service? Is it currently on a private network or the public internet? Is there a significant amount of mobile access – or other devices?

Architecture and technology

Once the business and service contexts are understood, it’s time to assess the technology landscape. Gathering information about the platforms and technologies currently in place will give you a picture of how readily services might be migrated.

Are any of the applications already using Cloud or cloud-related approaches? You may already be using microservices or APIs to exchange information or provide access to data to other applications?

Is the application accessed via a web browser? If not, what client-side software is required? This can be a significant blocker on scalability.

Does the application need to connect to any external networks or services? For example, does it need to connect to PSN or a corporate network to integrate with third-party or back-office systems?

Answering questions such as these will help you determine the benefits of cloud for your organisation. In fact, we recommend 36 questions to start the planning and prioritisation process. You can download the full cloud-readiness questionnaire from www.wtg.co.uk/pseict/ or visit the WTG stand in the exhibition hall at PSEICT to discuss your situation.


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