Modernization: The cloud as the key to modern agile IT

Modern IT is characterized by cloud computing. This brings advantages in terms of scalability, resource use and administration.

The classic in-house data center operation has passed its golden days in many companies. According to a survey by the IT industry association Bitkom, 82 percent of German companies rely on cloud computing in 2021 – one in three companies (76 percent) already did so in 2019. There is hardly a single industry considering a move to the cloud or at least incorporating cloud services into a contemporary IT landscape. And on closer inspection, many companies already have shadow IT in the form of cloud resources that are used more or less secretly or tolerated by superiors, which employees have implemented for special applications or test environments, for example.

According to a survey by the IT industry association Bitkom, 82 percent of German companies will be using cloud computing in 2021.

For many companies, there are good reasons to say goodbye to their own air-conditioned data center in the basement or at least to consider the cloud as part of a modern IT strategy. After all, there is great pressure to modernize and a backlog of renovations in IT: Companies that do not put their IT architecture on a modern footing will sooner or later no longer keep up with the demands of the market: Because it is no longer possible to use certain modern technologies and applications with legacy IT, because services cannot be scaled or shifted, and because there is a gradually growing lack of employees who can operate and administer certain old technologies. And because it's not just about IT modernization, but also about making business processes more flexible, all this also has an impact on other areas of the company that go beyond IT.

Because what speaks in favor of the cloud – no matter in what form – is above all increased flexibility and elasticity. As a result of the on-demand principle, companies can easily add resources and make services available in other regions. In particular, seasonal or regular peak demand within an IT infrastructure can be cushioned. This helps to optimize access times and performance and to achieve maximum agility and scalability. But there are also reasons in connection with the administration that speak in favor of a modern cloud infrastructure: Established data center infrastructures that have grown over the years are in many cases difficult for the admin to manage and difficult to orchestrate.

The move to the cloud can be done gradually

A company that decides in favor of the cloud does not have to take this step from one day to the next and should find a suitable partner before making a move. This partner has the experience necessary to give advice within the framework of strategy development, and can even offer a variety of cloud products itself. This way, migration proceeds in an orderly manner, because a good service provider works out in advance, in cooperation with the company’s IT, which cloud strategy is best suited for the respective organization in the specific case. At the beginning of a successful cloud migration is always a comprehensive inventory, combined with the analysis of existing IT resources and the determination of which variant of a cloud infrastructure is the right one.

With a hybrid cloud solution, parts of your own infrastructure are retained and combined with a public cloud.

Companies have several options here: You can opt for a pure cloud infrastructure and have the choice between a private or public cloud. But you can also choose a hybrid cloud solution that preserves parts of your own structures and works with the cloud. In addition, larger corporations in particular are increasingly opting for a multi-cloud solution with multiple players. According to the techconsult study "Status quo and developments in the German cloud market", more than a third of respondents who already use the cloud or plan to do so rely on a private cloud, about 20 percent prefer a pure public cloud, while at least one in four companies (25 percent) prefer a multi-cloud solution.

With corresponding cloud management platforms and a software-defined data center, the administration hardly differs from that of a classic data center. Ultimately, however, the individually suitable solution always depends on your own requirements, especially with regard to the sensitivity of the data and its protection. Hybrid solutions or cloud resources in DSGVO-compliant computing centers in Germany offer optimal conditions with high data protection requirements. It is also possible for companies from highly regulated environments such as banking to move their applications to the cloud.

Applications on the cloud test bench

But the infrastructure itself is only part of the cloud transformation. As part of a setup process, it is decided which of the numerous services and applications that have grown over the years can be moved to the cloud first. This is where companies usually begin to gain experience by moving non-critical services and those that do not require 24/7 availability, and then gradually migrating the critical applications.

But if you only move services 1:1 to the cloud, you are wasting potential. Because in the course of an application modernization, a consolidation should take place. Companies can decide which of the services they set up natively, which should run within a virtual machine and which applications should be merged or immediately phased out.

Less administration and automated updates

The opportunities that a cloud strategy offers for companies are manifold – and range from more flexible infrastructure that is well adaptable to the requirements of the organization, to significantly less administration effort. All relevant updates and patches can be outsourced to the cloud provider in the best case. Cost structures can also be kept in view with appropriate precautions. In terms of security, there is even less cause for concern than with the classic data center. For all cloud providers, the issue of security is at the top of the agenda. Security is an asset that decides the trust or rejection of companies like no other issue can.

Extensive, highly specialized IT security teams ensure up-to-date knowledge of all security and privacy challenges. However, all this requires an experienced partner in strategy and implementation, who will save the company from expensive mistakes and develop a strategy specifically tailored to the model.

The issue of security is at the top of the agenda for all cloud providers.

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