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Can’t see the trees for the Forrest(er)

Yesterday, James Staten from Forrester, blogged on “Which Applications Should I Move to the Cloud?”. While I agree with some of James’ points, it highlights the risk of dealing with cloud adoption and migration in broad brush statements.

“which applications they should plan to migrate to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud platforms. The answer: Wrong question.”

James continues to state that enterprises should be identifying “new applications”. The problem with this black-and-white view of the world is;

  • past history is never a predictor of future value – just because adoption of the cloud is new workloads in the past, does not mean we should continue to do that. There are alot of workloads enterprises are using that would be great on cloud infrastructure and match very closely to the value of the cloud.
  • What “IaaS cloud platform” - in the public space there are a bunch of providers doing things a little differently and there are private IaaS cloud platforms that are different again. There are a bunch of solutions that solve for existing workloads. How can you say yes or no in a single statement.
  • What is your industry, company profile – are you bottomline cost driven, time-to-market sensitive.. There are too many different company profiles that could benefit from cloud architectures and those who cannot partake for structural reasons.
  • pace of change - the cloud of yesterday is definitely not the cloud of today or tomorrow.. 

You should indeed be asking “which applications”, but you should be asking that question of both existing legacy applications and new workloads.

It is important not make IT decisions based on high level industry rhetoric, unless you are committed to a strategy of Majority Late Adopter or Laggard. Compare your specific needs as an organization against the value of cloud architectures and then select candidates for more detailed analysis. You need to get beyond the forest canopy and dig into the details to find the true value.

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Brad Vaughan is a twenty year veteran consultant working with companies around the globe to transform technology infrastructure to deliver enhanced business services.