Challenges Moving Applications to the Cloud

Moving your applications to the cloud can be a polarising task. Some believe that the cloud is the future and the value add outweighs the work involved. Others believe that on premise solutions are best for users and data.

Vendor Lock-in

Although vendors like Azure may offer greater features or added value than traditional on-premise services, there can often be features that PaaS services offer that are not available in other solutions that can increase the total cost of ownership.

Features are not the only drawbacks to cloud solutions, many cloud platforms can offer additional infrastructure or architectures that can make lift and shift harder or impossible. This is especially prevalent for IT teams that do not have software development in their departments.

Downtime

Many cloud services, especially global solutions like AWS, Google Cloud or Azure have had downtime in the past and although they provide service level agreements to their services, they have had downtime that can span many hours.

In addition, configuration changes and DNS are a big factor to consider. Managing trusted IP addresses and DMZ’s over the internet can be difficult to implement effectively. Many cloud solutions are better than what in-house services can offer but resiliency and accessibility becomes an overhead that requires consideration.

Many cloud solutions offer backup technologies and solutions with low import fees but high exit fees when transiting data.

Skill Gaps and Lack of Expertise

As new cloud solutions develop, it is becoming increasingly difficult to learn new skills for all platforms and effectively transfer them from one provider to another, product names and technologies are complex to learn and certifications for one cloud platform may not always apply to others.

Cloud technologies on the whole are here to stay and rapid advancement in technologies can be costly to small business to implement. Many companies are using automated solutions like backups and Azure AD to manage systems that previously were done in house, this can make break-glass protocols or access to systems where the administrator is no longer present difficult.

Bandwidth and Data Transfer Fees

Saving money is a common driver for business decisions and cloud solutions offer good value for services once in-house, however the cost of moving data around the enterprise can be expensive when a hybrid approach is adopted. This is especially prevalent for large transfers of data off the cloud or public internet.

Many cloud solutions can also deliver data faster via CDNs or through local appliances to alleviate this cost, however this requires some investment and can lead to vendor lock-in it can lead to better globalisation and work from home approaches to working.

Choosing the right service can be complex, such as choosing a hosted VM over a PaaS solution like a database server over a managed database can be hard to estimate best value.

As products and services grow over time, these costs will become more difficult to manage and estimate as requirements by users increase.

Incompatibility

Many enterprises choose a hybrid approach when moving to the cloud, offering services once only internal to the enterprise – now available through the public internet makes security a greater consideration. Older applications deemed acceptable risk or air-gaped may no longer be supported by surrounding infrastructure or end user clients.

Many enterprise applications may not be built for the cloud or may not support security technologies the cloud requires when working with externally facing services, in particular patching and maintenance to applications no longer supported by vendors.

By Aidan

I am a software engineer with a passion for business and information systems, FMCG, management and electronics.

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