More than 95% of digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025. This is hardly surprising given how rapidly companies, both locally and abroad, have had to adapt to a new operating environment resulting from the pandemic. This requires cloud strategies to evolve as more businesses embrace migration and modernisation. For South African companies looking to remain competitive, this has become the singular most important business priority for 2023.
Migrating workloads using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will become the norm through the course of this year as business and technology leaders look to automate as much of this process as possible. This significantly reduces the risk of human error, often resulting in misconfigurations which can see cybersecurity gaps emerging. But it also empowers companies with a more effective way of modernising their environments by improving scalability, business continuity, and cost management.
Building on this is the need to adopt more extensive hybrid and multi-cloud strategies. As cloud technology matures, it has become a business priority to leverage the respective strengths of multiple cloud service providers to get the most business benefit from going the cloud route. If modernisation is, therefore, to be successful and deliver on its promised return of investment, then a multi-vendor approach to the cloud must be seen as a given.
Migrate for scale
According to a recent Microsoft-sponsored report conducted by Emerald Research Group, 62% of respondent organisations have a migration or a modernisation strategy in place. Perhaps more telling is that 82% of those businesses say moving to the cloud is a stepping-stone to enabling digital transformation.
Scalability, security and compliance, and improving business continuity and disaster recovery strategies are the main reasons why decision-makers move to a more modernised approach. Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies unlock the business value that companies require for an agile environment. While on-premises data centres will still cater to specific use cases concerning sensitive data and applications, the cloud will soon become the catch-all for almost all workloads and applications.
There is simply no getting around the power of the scalability provided in the cloud, as it automatically adjusts resources to business requirements. Scaling up and down can be more than just cost drivers. They can also deliver the operational efficiency advantages companies have been looking for to enable them to focus more on innovation.
Global economic uncertainty, combined with South Africa’s weakening infrastructure and unreliable electricity supply, means companies are turning to the cloud and modernisation efforts to drive revenue and protect their businesses.
The cloud provides a crucial delivery mechanism for advanced technologies like AI, ML, the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and more. Using this environment as a foundation, businesses can layer those technologies on top of that to better unlock data insights and introduce automation on menial administrative-heavy tasks.
This will serve to improve business resilience and provide good redundancy when it comes to disaster recovery situations. Hybrid and multi-cloud environments can offer flexibility, especially regarding data assets and their availability across different platforms.
The cloud and modernisation deliver the impetus behind future-proofing operations, as these will always enable the latest technologies to be rolled out without reinventing the underlying infrastructure.
Companies are now moving critical and non-critical workloads to the cloud. The Microsoft report found that the likes of networking, IT security, email, collaboration, workgroup, and application development processes are some of the top workloads already migrated.
Over the next 12 months, the expectation is that advanced analytics, server virtualisation, and systems management and orchestration will be the next wave of workloads that will be migrated and modernised.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The research found that a significant number of workloads will likely be migrated as organisations look to unlock revenue opportunities. Some of these include enterprise resource planning, virtual desktop infrastructure, and sales and marketing workloads. From here, one can see that decision-makers have all but accepted the cloud as the go-to resource for their organisations and the means to usher in a new era of opportunities and growth.
Migration is one side of the coin. The other is modernisation. And it seems that with companies pushing the migration agenda, they also want to modernise those workloads to better benefit from hybrid and multi-cloud environments
Microsoft’s research shows that 74% of workloads migrated to the cloud will be modernised. In fact, there is an equal 27% split between workloads that will be modernised immediately and workloads that will be lifted and shifted now only to be modernised at a later stage.
Change is upon us. Businesses are open to a dynamic new operating environment enabled by the cloud and modernised workloads.
By Adrian Hollier, Channel Manager Microsoft Azure at Westcon-Comstor