In the SourceFuse “Talking Out Cloud” leadership chat series, we were joined by two special guests from Amazon Web Services (AWS), discussing cloud migration and modernization and sharing invaluable insights on this really important topic.

#1 How much is really understood about modernizing and what is the market maturity?

The terms migrate and modernize can have many different meanings depending on their context, but for simplicity we can set a baseline to clarify their definition.

Migration: moving IT infrastructure and applications to a cloud provider, without making any changes to the architecture. Often called re-hosting or lift and shift, this can be the fastest way for customers to start realizing benefits of the cloud.

Migrating workloads to the cloud is a great start. However, today’s organizations want to become more agile, to innovate and respond to changes faster – this is where modernization comes in.

Modernization: the process of progressively transforming applications and infrastructure to extend into higher-value cloud native services, like serverless and containers, that unlock new business capabilities, accelerate innovation, and reduce technical debt. While some organizations may want fully cloud native applications, for those new to cloud modernization, it might feel challenging. In that scenario, we recommend customers ‘migrate-to-modernize’. We have found that applications are easier to re-architect once they are running in the cloud, partially because an organization will have developed better skill sets, and partially because the hard work of migrating the application data and traffic has already been done.

#2 What is the market maturity of modernization?

When we start with the level of understanding about modernizing, particularly about modernizing Microsoft workloads on AWS, the overall definition of modernization is fine. But actually, we want to go a bit deeper. From an AWS perspective, our view really focuses on how to impact value through getting better at innovation and how to increase that acceleration.

Modernization is not an end goal – it’s a continuous process of improvement, implementing additional operational models more efficiently, and freeing up valuable resources so that organizations can focus on what matters to their customers. Organizations shouldn’t spend all day, all week, all month doing the heavy lifting – we’ve got to make that easier. When we look at Microsoft-based applications, AWS is increasing efficiency while reducing TCO.

When you think of a traditional market maturity model for modernization, right now it’s at the early adopter stage. The early adopter organizations are already benefiting from modernization, and I predict that we’ll reach the early majority stage by the middle of 2023 – it’s moving pretty quickly. External research, like Gartner’s cloud buyer survey, says that 84% of customers either agreed or strongly agreed that application modernization will be a high priority in the next two years. And as a result of the pandemic, CXO modernization conversations have increased by 24%. Previously it would have been a conversation with technical managers, whereas now it’s moving to an executive level.

#3 How can AWS Consulting Partners, like SourceFuse, help facilitate modernization?

What we’re looking at is the ability for SourceFuse, as a very powerful AWS Consulting Partner, to be able to continue to work with us – to educate, guide, and give strong advice to customers. For example, advice such as not trying to do it all in one go, but instead identify a proof of concept that proves the modernization case first. Since SourceFuse has extensive experience of using AWS application and database modernization techniques, tools and technologies, customers are in very safe hands to get that train moving.

#4 What advice would you give to organizations considering modernizing Windows Workloads on AWS?

My advice to any customer is to be bold and take courage. I ask customers to think of the long-term cost savings and business benefits when breaking free from Microsoft Licensing. Generally, the organization has developed experts to build and run Windows applications on-premises, and the thought of changing their operational model is daunting.

However, if you take courage and modernize your workloads to cloud, you will not only escape a world of locked-in and punitive licenses, but will also realize huge cost savings, rapid innovation, higher performance, and greater reliability.

We have multiple examples of customers who took that courage to modernize and convert their workloads to cloud-native to reap the cloud benefits of agility, scalability, and cost saving. My final advice for customers is that if you’re new to cloud and this feels daunting, we understand; it’s always better to partner with a company who has a niche expertise in this area, like SourceFuse, which has done multiple modernization-led migration projects for both databases and applications.

#5 How does GDPR affect plans to migrate and modernize? And how does AWS address any concerns?

GDPR and other compliances are key focus areas for our customers – security and compliance is always our top priority. AWS has been architected to be the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. It supports 98 security standards and compliance certifications, including PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FedRAMP, and GDPR. This helps satisfy compliance requirements for virtually every regulatory agency around the globe.

From Q1 2018, all AWS services are GDPR compliant, making it easier for our customers to build, migrate and modernize their own GDPR compliant products, services, and solutions. AWS services give you the capability to implement your own security measures in the ways you need, to enable your GDPR compliance. 

There is also an advanced set of security and compliance services that are designed specifically to handle the requirements of the GDPR. We also published a whitepaper, “Navigating GDPR Compliance on AWS,” dedicated to this topic, and the AWS GDPR Center provides up-to-date resources that directly support your GDPR efforts.

#6 What does the future fold for migration and modernization?

We’ve all seen many predictions for the future, and for modernization in particular, I see a blended mix of database AND application modernization pathways. There’s no one size fits all – every organization is different and everybody’s priorities are different. But the common denominators that are prime candidates for modernization are the mission-critical applications that run your business and the underlying database on which those applications often depend. If you look at those two areas, they can both be modernized, maybe at different rates but the advantages are common.

You don’t have to be a multi-billion-dollar organization to take advantage of it – small and medium enterprises can also take advantage. What we see around the world is many smaller organizations have fantastic skills and capabilities in application development, devops, and all of the fast-moving areas that that drives – I see that as a major advantage of the future for modernization.

When we look at the three core areas of modernization, places where most people will start, it’s going serverless, adopting containers, and re-platforming, particularly migrating away from legacy databases into cloud-native open-source database services.

It’s fine having all of these wonderful technologies but there has to be a customer-based advantage to it all, not doing it just because it’s a cool thing to do. It’s about embracing it because it’s going to help grow the business, help identify and sell new and existing products to new and existing customers through new and existing channels. If it doesn’t do that, then there’s no business case.

For example, Coca-Cola has cut its processing time from 36 hours to 10 seconds – it’s dramatic! They’re completely redefining and reinventing the area that they will deliver business advantage.

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