Survey Finds DevOps Playing Key Role in Cloud Migration

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A survey of 450 C-level and VP/director-level technology leaders in the United States, UK and Canada conducted by 451 Research on behalf of Skytap, a cloud service provider, found that lifting and shifting existing applications into the cloud is giving way to either refactoring and rewriting those applications to take advantage of cloud-native technologies.

According to the survey results, 67 percent of respondents plan to migrate or modernize at least half of their on-premises applications in the next 12 to 24 months. The survey found 28 percent of respondents plan to refactor applications using a mix of cloud-native and traditional technologies, while another 20 percent plan to adopt some form of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. That compares to 20 percent who plan to lift and shift existing applications into the cloud with no changes to the underlying code. Another 20 percent said they will replace existing applications with software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

Jay Lyman, an industry analyst for 451 Research, said the survey makes it clear that, when it comes to lifting and shifting applications into the public cloud, too many organizations are still engaged in “wishful thinking.” Most applications migrating to the cloud will need to reworked to one degree or another, Lyman said.

The survey found that only 20 percent of respondents plan to move 75 percent or more of their applications to a cloud platform in the next 12 to 24 months. Just less than half (47 percent) said they would migrate somewhere between 50 percent to 75 percent of their applications.

In terms of methodologies that will be employed to achieve that goal, 54 percent of respondents said they were already relying on DevOps processes, while 46 percent said they are relying on agile methodologies. In terms of talent, 55 percent said they are looking to acquire or retain IT professionals with cloud migration expertise, followed by 52 percent who cited application modernization using cloud services. DevOps skills and multi-cloud operations expertise tied for third at 50 percent.

Just over a third (37 percent) also noted that decisions concerning where best to place a workload were being driven primarily by where an application would run best, while 26 percent said decisions were driven by identifying the best-of-breed cloud-native service. Only 19 percent said their organizations would be employing multiple public cloud service providers. In fact, Lyman noted that while hybrid cloud computing remains the dream state most IT organizations want to achieve, the reality is that most of them will be managing multiple clouds in isolation for many years to come.

More than 80 percent of survey respondents reported managing more than 100 applications, with 74 percent stating at least half of these applications are on-premises. A full 71 percent of respondents said more than half of their on-premises applications are mission-critical. A little over half of the respondents said core business applications including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and data analytics were least-suited for hyperscale clouds. According to the survey, the biggest challenge associated with deploying applications in the cloud today remains security (56 percent).

The Skytap survey makes it clear IT organizations are still severely challenged when it comes to migrating applications to the cloud for want of skills. Most applications are not easily migrated, which makes reworking them for deployment in a cloud environment a high priority. In the absence of those skills, however, it’s also apparent that any migration of applications to the cloud is going to occur over an extended amount of time.

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