Migration to the Cloud has been and will continue to be a hot topic for both the developer and business communities. While there are the many main benefits to this change (scalability, improved cost performance, etc.) there are also subtleties that can play a critical role in the success or failure of migrating an enterprise system to the Cloud.
If you are new to cloud migration or would like broader context to what this type of initiative can affect in your organization, read on this article, explains the role of in-memory technologies applied to cloud migration, the role of managed services in accelerating digital transformation, and use case examples covering both pre-production environments and full-on production usage.
Hazelcast Cloud delivers enterprise-grade Hazelcast software in the cloud, deployed as a fully managed service. Leveraging over a decade of experience and best practices, Hazelcast Cloud delivers a high-throughput, low-latency service that scales to your needs while remaining simple to deploy.
- Cloud-based in-memory data grid and stream processing engine delivered as a service
- In-memory experts managing and deploying the service, allowing you to focus on your core competencies
- Automatically scaling up and down in line with demand
- Industry-leading security and compliance
- Advanced features to keep your developers happy
If you’re considering moving to the Cloud, or are looking for an easy ramp on deploying in-memory technology, the Hazelcast White Paper on migrating in-memory to the cloud is an informative and helpful resource.
The movement of applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud is well underway, motivated by potential costs savings, improved scalability and increased flexibility in deploying and managing a business and technical solution. For many companies, the immediate goal is delivering the same IT and applications capabilities they have today, but at a lower cost and far more quickly – and migrating to the cloud is merely the next generation infrastructure upgrade. What these companies may not realize is they are getting a whole lot more.
Digital transformation requires flexibility
The drive to digital transformation is creating the need for flexible applications to support all aspects of business operations, from sales and customer service to supply chains and IT. Because of this need for flexibility, cloud-based systems are rapidly becoming the technology fabric of the modern business. One lesson that companies are learning from digital transformation initiatives is that applications alone are not sufficient to achieve the ambitious business outcomes company leaders envision and the marketplace demands. This can include capabilities such as instantaneous user interactions, real-time application integration or artificial intelligence capabilities fueled by streaming data. These outcomes and experiences require taking a whole systems approach and modernizing the entire technology ecosystem to make digital business processes more agile and productive.
Cloud environments are unlocking a new set of capabilities for architecting and developing applications and user experiences that were just not possible in the past. Cloud-based solutions can be developed and deployed quickly, they can be distributed around the globe to provide better performance to users, and they can even be scaled up and down dynamically to meet changing business demands. Modern cloud applications offer the flexibility to deliver against current business expectations.
Modernization requires looking beyond applications
Cloud migration of applications is only one step along the path to IT modernization and it isn’t the final one. As companies look at other parts of the IT ecosystem, they are finding subsystems such as data storage and processing, system integration platforms and workflow orchestration capabilities also need to be migrated to the cloud to enable maximum flexibility and peak performance. This is the future that businesses are moving towards – one where solutions assemble in the cloud from the best available components and a variety of suppliers. Switching costs are low and swapping out parts is nearly as easy as installing apps on a mobile device.
Unfortunately, transitioning to an ideal solution isn’t feasible for most companies immediately due to the technical debt and justification of past decisions and investments. Migrating and modernizing the entire IT technology stack is not only challenging and time-consuming, but also costly. As a result, companies make trade-offs and prioritization decisions about what to move to the cloud, what to modernize and when to keep using legacy components. Often, this leads to a conscious decision to use hybrid solutions that include legacy and modern cloud components.
Managed services are changing the cloud discussion
One of the most exciting and promising developments for the IT industry is the viability and cost performance of a wide variety of managed cloud service offerings from third parties. It isn’t the cloud itself that is changing IT, but the ability for IT organizations to stop having to build and manage everything themselves. They can instead shift to the role of service broker – bringing together components and services from an extensive network of suppliers to deliver solutions to users that are both feature-rich and cost-effective.
Managed service offerings are not only changing the cloud discussion; they are changing the fundamental role IT plays within the company. With IT staff no longer needed to create all components from scratch, they now have more time to focus on higher value issues of integration, governance, security and developing compelling and efficient user experiences. They can also spend more time with the information portion of their charter as stewards of the company’s data – helping to develop new and more valuable insights. By moving to a managed service model, IT can focus on strategic enablement, rather than being the function that “keeps the lights on.” As companies leverage managed services more within their IT ecosystem, these benefits will continue to expand.
Modern data processing with in-memory computing
In-memory computing, which includes both data grids and stream processing, is an essential piece of the modernization puzzle and one of the critical components that companies must evaluate as a part of digital transformation strategies. In-memory computing solutions, like Hazelcast’ In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) and Jet, enable companies to significantly accelerate application performance by moving data processing off disk, out of the database and into RAM-based objectoriented data models optimized for peak processing performance.
Cloud-based applications may be fast and scalable, but they can often be held back by the performance constraints of traditional relational databases. Even in the cloud, these apps still need the performance boost an in-memory solution provides. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence need access to a large and diverse set of data to provide accurate, informative analysis and responses, as well as the ability to process large volumes of data almost instantaneously to enable real-time user interaction. The challenge is how to enable these capabilities while simultaneously balancing cloud migration requirements.
Companies that aren’t yet ready to leap into AI may still need high-performance applications to support other goals, such as modern customer experiences and digital business processes. In these situations, operational performance is directly tied to the performance of IT systems. A latency of even milliseconds in system processing of data can impact customer satisfaction and staff productivity, leading to increased cycle times – which is not acceptable for a digital business.
Modern companies are also deeply concerned about information security and the risks associated with malicious behavior by external players, employees, partners and customers. The capabilities exist to perform robust validation on transactional processes; however, companies need the ability to do this validation without impacting user experience and transaction processing. E-commerce is an excellent example of where in-memory computing is leading to tremendous improvements in security enhancements.
The power of In-Memory computing as a managed service
In-memory computing power coupled with the benefits of a managed service deployed in the cloud provides an ideal platform for developing modern IT systems. Until recently, high powered in-memory computing capabilities weren’t available as managed cloud services and a company’s IT team had to make long-term investments to acquire the software, train operational staff and endure the overhead of maintenance. The investment required meant in-memory computing was only cost-feasible for applications that had a long-term usage arc or a pervasive effect across the organization. Modern companies with digitally-transformed business processes need more flexibility, which is why they gravitate towards managed cloud services that don’t have high upfront costs or the ongoing overhead.