Why Cloud Modernization is Not Limited to Just the Public Cloud

Applying a hybrid multicloud approach helps companies increase agility while optimizing costs without compromising on security

Sheba Roy
Venkat Ganti
Why Cloud Modernization is Not Limited to Just the Public Cloud

Many enterprises have been using the cloud for years with varying levels of success, but they’re discovering that not all workloads are best suited for the public cloud. And, while the public cloud is a powerful enabler of modernization, it is no longer the only choice for performance, scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiency.

The rise of hybrid multicloud has caused organizations to step back and reassess the best locations for applications, workloads and data. As a result, a new phase of cloud modernization is underway as businesses consider other cloud variants and cloud-like environments for their mission critical workloads. Cloud modernization is a virtuous cycle that requires ongoing monitoring and realigning placement of applications, workloads and data to dynamically support evolving business requirements.

In a time when businesses are scrutinizing budgets and expecting IT to do more with less, taking a closer look at cloud utilization and spend is now a priority. Companies must future-proof their businesses for competitive advantage and the ability to adapt to continuous change. In the Equinix 2023 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), 80% of global IT leaders said that future-proofing the business is among their top priorities. As businesses continue to move ahead with ambitious expansion plans, factors such as shifting regulatory demands and data sovereignty changes challenge their preparedness to do so. The ability to pivot at speed requires an agile and flexible environment, so that businesses can position the right IT infrastructure in the right places on demand.

The options for distributing and connecting applications, workloads and data are greater than ever across different cloud models (hybrid and multicloud), specific types of clouds (dedicated cloud and industry clouds), colocation data centers, on-premises and the edge. In this blog, we’ll explore these options and discuss how distributed infrastructure and interconnection can accelerate your cloud modernization strategies.

What is cloud modernization?

When a business migrates its compute, storage or networking to the cloud, some form of modernization is part of the preparation process.  Cloud adoption frameworks available from the major cloud providers present guidance and best practices IT leaders use to align business, culture and technical change strategies for achieving target outcomes. In addition to technical guidance, cloud adoption frameworks provide cloud-agnostic advice for businesses that might still be in the process of selecting a cloud vendor or are considering a multicloud strategy.

There are five options that companies commonly use to address requirements related to existing technology, architecture, functionality, cost and risk.

Rehost: The business moves its legacy application to a more modern infrastructure. This is also known as lift-and-shift. Upon completion, the service provider manages the current hardware and operating system, and the business continues to manage workloads and applications.

Refactor: The business revises the underlying code of a legacy application to improve its performance, cost, and reliability in a new environment. Then, it connects the application to new infrastructure services such as containers, databases, and identity management systems.

Rearchitect: The business redesigns or rewrites the application. This is the most time-consuming step when migrating to the cloud. Using microservices to implement a monolithic application on the cloud is an example of rearchitecting.

Rebuild: The business rebuilds the application to incorporate cloud PaaS and SaaS services, redesigns the code, and separates it into smaller chunks for deployment on a cloud platform.

Replace: The business completely replaces an existing application with a cloud-based application to deliver it as a service (SaaS). The service provider manages the underlying infrastructure, middleware, app software, and app data, ensuring the app’s availability and security.

Once the work for one or more of these options is complete, businesses can migrate their workloads to the cloud.

Consider other cloud variants and cloud-like environments

Today, cloud modernization is achieved by distributing applications, workloads, compute and storage to the most compatible cloud environments that deliver the best value, optimal latency performance, security and cost-efficiency. You no longer have to position related compute, storage and networking in the same environment or location. Virtual connections such as interconnection and virtual network function devices allow you to connect these components and let them run in optimal environments.

Once you assess the current state of your cloud infrastructure, many options may be best fit for your organization. The first choice that may come to mind is cloud repatriation, which involves migrating latency-centric applications, workloads and data to edge locations closer to your on-premises data centers. That’s certainly an option and may be the best one, depending on specific requirements. But first, consider the alternatives. Moving away from a public cloud could include colocation, bare metal and edge, in addition to on-premises. Or it could mean selectively moving applications, workloads or data to other cloud variants.

There are many cloud and cloud-like options for hosting applications, data and workloads:

  • Public cloud: Migrate applications and workloads to virtual machines provisioned by the cloud provider and shared among multiple customers.
  • Dedicated cloud: Combines single tenancy with access to services from multiple cloud providers to move data and workloads between clouds quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Hybrid multicloud: Uses a mix of on-premises data centers and cloud infrastructure to run applications and workloads.
  • Colocation and BMaaS: Deploy your existing hardware and networking connections in a colocation data center and add bare metal single-tenant compute and storage capacity.

Once your infrastructure is in place, continuous monitoring and assessment is a must to ensure ongoing best-fit placement of your applications, workloads and data.

Choose a vendor-neutral digital infrastructure partner

Every business has unique requirements outside the scope of a one-size-fits-all solution. Building hybrid infrastructure can help you meet your cloud modernization requirements around compliance, latency, security and location. Whatever combination of hybrid cloud architecture you choose, you can manage it on Platform Equinix®. Our global platform provides the foundational infrastructure you need, including data centers, interconnection, digital infrastructure services, and a partner ecosystem of thousands of cloud and IT service providers.

Equinix Metal®, our dedicated Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) allows companies to deploy single-tenant compute and storage in proximity to end users and data sources at the edge. BMaaS can serve as a central zone between colocation and public cloud and offers the choice and control of physical hardware that provides a cloud-like experience.

Cloud modernization is just one example of how organizations accelerate their transformation to digital business models using interconnected digital infrastructure. To look at some of the other common patterns they’re following, read the Leaders’ Guide to Digital Infrastructure e-book.

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Sheba Roy Director, Solution Marketing - Compute Solutions
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Venkat Ganti Director, Product Management
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