7 Benefits of Cloud Modernization

By Michael Meyer

Published on May 9, 2024

7 Benefits of Cloud Modernization

In today's fast-paced environment, organizations must innovate quickly — all while navigating an uncertain economy and staying mindful of every penny spent. Maintaining outdated on-premises technology infrastructure or simply lifting and shifting legacy applications to cloud servers is no longer sufficient. Organizations require solutions that are more flexible, scalable, and adaptable.

What is cloud modernization?

Cloud modernization is the process of transforming an organization's legacy IT infrastructure to take advantage of cloud computing and cloud-based technologies. This includes migrating legacy applications and data to the cloud, as well as significant refactoring of legacy architecture or workflows to be more cloud-native.

Cloud-based solutions can offer significant advantages over traditional on-premises solutions, including improved performance and lower costs. The process of cloud modernization can be complex and time-consuming, but it is a worthwhile investment for organizations looking to stay competitive and lean in an overcrowded marketplace.

What is the difference between cloud modernization and cloud migration?

Cloud migration involves transferring an entire IT environment to the cloud, often referred to as a "lift and shift" approach. It is important to note that cloud migration alone does not automatically include the modernization of digital assets.

On the other hand, cloud modernization is a more focused approach that involves modernizing specific parts of an IT environment to take advantage of the cloud architecture benefits. These benefits include containerizing legacy applications for easier deployment and scalability, refactoring monolithic architectures into microservices-based architectures, or implementing cloud-native data storage and processing solutions.

What are the key benefits of cloud modernization?

The cloud offers many benefits, but they are far from guaranteed. The more willing you are to modernize your legacy assets and optimize them for cloud environments, the greater the rewards you'll reap. Here are some fundamental advantages of cloud modernization:

1. Accessibility

With cloud modernization, organizations can enable ubiquitous access to their applications, systems, and data, empowering users to connect and collaborate from any location with an internet connection. Cloud accessibility eliminates the constraints of on-premises access and significantly enhances employee productivity and collaboration capabilities. Moreover, cloud modernization leads to improved customer satisfaction and enhanced engagement opportunities, as users can seamlessly and securely access an organization's products and services remotely.

2. Agility

Cloud-based systems enable superior agility compared to traditional on-premises systems, allowing organizations to swiftly and effortlessly adjust resources as needed. Leveraging the range of managed services offered by cloud providers, organizations with modernized, cloud-native assets can readily acquire advanced functionalities (like machine learning capabilities) without the need to develop them in-house. This inherent agility empowers organizations to respond to market changes swiftly, experiment with emerging technologies, and explore new business models, fostering innovation-driven growth and positioning them ahead of the competition.

3. Cost savings

Organizations that maintain on-premises IT infrastructure have to size it to accommodate peak demand — so under typical workloads, much of their computing capacity sits unused. With cloud modernization, organizations benefit from a pay-as-you-go model, so they only pay for their resources, preventing overspending and under-servicing.

Additionally, cloud modernization upgrades applications and systems to operate more efficiently, reducing operational expenses. Organizations can outsource certain IT operations by taking advantage of managed services to reduce hardware purchases, additional staff, and ongoing maintenance costs.

4. Scalability

Cloud-based systems offer scalability and elasticity, unlike on-premises systems, which are limited by physical hardware constraints. Scalability and elasticity allow organizations to easily adjust the provisioning and de-provisioning of resources to meet changing demands and optimize their IT costs.

For instance, when faced with a sudden surge in demand, organizations can seamlessly scale up their cloud-based systems to accommodate the increased workload. This scalability ensures that applications can effectively handle fluctuations in traffic and workload without compromising performance or availability.

5. Flexibility

Cloud-based systems are more flexible than traditional on-premises systems in several ways. First, as already discussed, they are more scalable, meaning organizations can easily add or remove resources as needed. Second, they offer a variety of service models, such as infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service, which provide different levels of flexibility depending on the level of control versus outsourcing an organization needs.

Third, cloud modernization facilitates multi-cloud and hybrid environments, which combine multiple cloud providers or on-premises infrastructure with cloud resources. This approach provides increased flexibility by avoiding vendor lock-in; for example, an organization could use a public cloud for its core applications and a private cloud for sensitive data. Finally, organizations can embrace DevOps methodologies, CI/CD pipelines, and automation tools by leveraging cloud services and platforms. These tools can help organizations to be more flexible and faster in their development and deployment processes.

6. Security

Cloud providers offer a variety of security features that can help organizations protect their data, including encryption, access control, and intrusion detection. In addition to tools, cloud providers offer expertise. They have teams of experts who are well-versed in the latest security standards and guidelines and deeply understand cloud security threats and how to mitigate them.

Cloud modernization offers organizations better visibility into their data and applications, which helps mitigate security incidents. For example, organizations can view detailed logs of all activity in their cloud environment, which can be used to identify suspicious activity and investigate security incidents.

7. Reliability

Cloud providers offer multiple data centers and server instances across different geographic regions. Numerous data centers help to provide high availability, allowing organizations to distribute their applications and data to ensure continuous operation in case of hardware failures or disruptions in one location. Cloud service providers offer robust backup and recovery solutions that protect data from accidental deletion, hardware failures, or natural disasters. These features guarantee the safety of mission-critical data and applications, enabling organizations to swiftly restore operations in the event of disruptions.

3 common cloud modernization challenges

Just like any digital transformation project, cloud modernization is a complex process that can pose challenges. However, organizations can mitigate risks and ensure a smoother cloud modernization process by understanding the potential roadblocks. Here are the most common challenges of cloud modernization you may encounter:

1. Monolithic legacy system

Most legacy systems have been built up piecemeal over several years, often failing to follow corporate architecture standards. These monolithic applications have complex dependencies with tightly coupled components, making it difficult to separate and migrate individual parts to the cloud. Additionally, these systems may lack compatibility with modern cloud technologies, requiring significant reengineering efforts. The modernization process needs to carefully address data migration and integration challenges and ensure that the critical functionality of the legacy system is sustained in the cloud environment.

2. Investment costs can be high and unpredictable

Cloud modernization involves upfront costs for migration, reengineering, and training. Organizations must invest in cloud infrastructure, services, and possibly third-party expertise. The total cost of modernization depends on factors such as the scale and complexity of the existing IT environment, data transfer and storage fees, and ongoing operational expenses. Predicting the exact costs can be challenging, especially when estimating resource consumption, data transfer, and long-term scaling requirements. Organizations must carefully plan and budget for cloud modernization to avoid financial surprises and ensure a return on investment.

Organizations must have FinOps in place to stay within budget and report on ROI.

3. Resistance from employees or stakeholders

Change management can be a significant challenge during cloud modernization. People within the organization may have concerns about job security, fear of disruption to established workflows, or financial considerations. This resistance can slow down the pace of cloud adoption or create friction during the migration process. To overcome resistance, organizations should prioritize clear communication for awareness, involve employees and stakeholders in decision-making processes, provide training and support for the transition, and promote the ultimate benefits of cloud modernization.

Cloud modernization: 3 essential strategies

When starting your cloud modernization efforts, consider taking advantage of the following areas: process, application, and database.

In some cases, organizations may find that focusing on a single item addresses their immediate challenges and provides enough value. However, in many cases, organizations will benefit most from adopting a holistic approach encompassing all three strategies, maximizing the advantages of the cloud across different aspects of their IT ecosystem.

 Let’s take a deeper dive into the three essential cloud modernization strategies:

1. Process modernization

Process modernization involves reevaluating existing processes, identifying areas for improvement, and redesigning them to align with cloud capabilities. Updating processes may include adopting cloud-native practices such as workflow automation. Process modernization enables organizations to streamline business processes and operational tasks while increasing efficiency to take full advantage of the cloud.

2. Application modernization

Cloud application modernization focuses on updating legacy applications to run on the cloud and leverage cloud-based technologies. This can include refactoring applications to cloud-native, rearchitecting them as modular microservices, or containerizing them for easier deployment and scalability. When modernizing applications, organizations can benefit from cloud-native features like auto-scaling and elasticity and modern development practices such as DevOps and CI/CD.

3. Database modernization

Database modernization is the process of transferring structured and unstructured data to modern cloud-based databases from outdated or siloed legacy databases to improve accessibility and performance. Database modernization may involve migrating to managed database services offered by cloud providers, implementing partitioning for enhanced scalability, or adopting cloud-native database technologies like NoSQL databases. To maintain security and compliance throughout the database modernization process, organizations need to know what kind of data they have, how their data is classified, and who should access it — which can be done with the help of a data governance framework and a data intelligence platform.

Best practices for cloud modernization

Organizations should adhere to well-established best practices to increase the likelihood of successful cloud modernization and maximize its benefits. By following these tips, organizations can effectively navigate the cloud modernization journey:

Conduct a comprehensive evaluation

Before starting a cloud modernization project, thoroughly evaluating your current IT environment is crucial. This evaluation should include assessing existing applications, systems, infrastructure, and data. By understanding the current state of your IT landscape, you can identify your organization’s modernization needs, prioritize initiatives, allocate resources efficiently, and establish realistic goals.

Use automated tools

Cloud modernization can be a complex and time-consuming process. To streamline these efforts, consider leveraging automated tools that support data migration, application refactoring, testing, and deployment. By using automation, you can reduce manual effort, minimize human errors, and accelerate the modernization process, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced downtime.

Incorporate best security practices

It's essential to incorporate best security practices throughout the modernization journey to mitigate risks, protect sensitive data, and maintain a secure cloud environment. Security procedures include implementing proper identity and access management, data governance measures, encryption, network security measures, and regular security assessments. Organizations should also ensure compliance with relevant data protection and privacy regulations.

Optimize and improve

Cloud modernization is an ongoing journey, not a single destination. After the initial modernization efforts, organizations should continuously optimize and improve their cloud-based systems. Using an agile mindset, focus on monitoring system performance, identifying areas for optimization, and making iterative refinements. Regularly reviewing and optimizing the cloud infrastructure, applications, and processes helps ensure that they meet the organization's evolving needs, improve efficiency, and maximize the benefits of cloud technology.

How Alation can help with cloud modernization

Cloud modernization is a complex process and a valuable investment for organizations seeking to improve agility, scalability, security, and IT costs. Alation offers powerful solutions that can accelerate cloud data migration efforts while mitigating the risk of disruptions. Our data intelligence solutions provide comprehensive impact analysis, enabling you to identify the most suitable data to migrate based on usage and data residency policies.

By gaining deeper insights into your data, you can proactively engage with stakeholders who may be affected, effectively coordinate migration efforts, shorten the migration timeframe, and establish a robust data environment that caters to the needs of future cloud users. Additionally, our data governance solutions ensure cloud data protection throughout and after the migration, regardless of its location.

With Alation, you can confidently accelerate your cloud modernization journey, enhance data governance, and pave the way for a successful transition to the cloud. To learn more, request a free demo to see how Alation can support your cloud modernization efforts.

  • What is cloud modernization?
  • What are the key benefits of cloud modernization?
  • 3 common cloud modernization challenges
  • Cloud modernization: 3 essential strategies
  • Best practices for cloud modernization
  • How Alation can help with cloud modernization
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