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May 30, 2017
Modernizing? Find out which legacy apps you should move to the cloud
By: Anantha Ramadas

Many companies have modernized their apps by moving them to the cloud. In doing so, they’ve saved money while gaining convenient, on-demand access and virtually unlimited data storage. But not every legacy application is a good fit for the cloud.

For example, one utility company unexpectedly found that it didn’t need to migrate nearly as many applications to the cloud as it had anticipated. The company initially intended to move its workforce and technology architecture off legacy. But after a thorough analysis, the company found its staff was using current versions of software and existing applications had a relatively low total cost of ownership. In the end, it made sense to move only a few legacy systems applications to the cloud.

How can you decide which legacy applications you should move to the cloud to achieve your modernization objectives? And, which deployment model—public, private or hybrid cloud—is the right one?

Six factors determine which apps you should move and where

  1. Availability:
    How often is the app needed and what are its latency requirements? Apps needed only occasionally or seasonally are logical fits for the public cloud, as are those with moderate to low transmission requirements—i.e., response times measured in minutes, not milliseconds. Life-critical systems (e.g. grid, medical-related, or air traffic control systems) should stay where they are.

  2. Security:
    Is data privacy a concern? Applications that don’t deal in ultra-sensitive data are good candidates for the public cloud; those that do may be a better fit for a hybrid cloud.

  3. Government regulations:
    How much is data use and transmission restricted? Apps that aren’t restricted by regulations or industry practices—such as a government policy that forbids consumer data to be sent out of the country—are best suited to public clouds. Others likely will have to remain in the local data centers.

  4. Data storage:
    Is significant back-up and recovery required to ensure business continuity? Applications that are largely decoupled from the data they process, or have extensive data storage requirements, are a good fit for the cloud and typically require less effort to get them there.

  5. Performance:
    How high are the database transfer rates? Applications with low database transfer rates or low CPU or RAM requirements are good bets for the cloud. Those on the high end may be either too difficult or cost prohibitive to move.

  6. Flexibility:
    To what extent is the application integrated? The cloud is a great option if an application is stand alone or only does batch integrations. If it’s integrated, it’s still a contender if all the integrations are based on widely used industry standards.

Companies today have tough job deciding where to focus finite amounts of time, talent and investment to drive business innovation and growth. Modernizing applications by moving them to the cloud can help by enabling scalability, increasing cost efficiency, and boosting overall application performance.

But to manage risk, look before you leap: Know which factors make an application a prime candidate for the public cloud, which point to a hybrid cloud, and which argue for keeping it just where it is. Getting the most from the cloud depends on it.

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