Going Cloud Native

I am constantly surprised at the migration of workloads to the cloud. It seems that many of the customers and clients that I speak with are moving some of their assets to the cloud. Some are moving the majority of their systems, and they are pushing to do this sooner than later, including database assets.

I ran across an article that noted that while many companies love the on-demand provisioning of cloud resources, they don’t always get improvement in their software performance. In fact, quite a few might experience worse performance, though often not horribly worse. Instead, what they often get is a bit more unpredictable performance, and sometimes a bigger bill, which makes perfect sense. After all, the cloud is really just someone else’s computer, and the one you’re using might have other people doing the same thing.

To truly embrace the cloud and get the power of the cloud, you do need to consider being cloud-native, which is often a change in how your software is architected. It is also a change in your entire software lifecycle, meaning not just buying DevOps tools or renaming a team, but also embracing the entire way that DevOps works. Not just fast releases, but experimentation, learning, adapting,  testing, and changing how you build and release software. This is also changing how you manage the teams that build software.

If you think this is just for the Netflixes and Spotifys of the world, that’s not true. Stripe and Capital One are financial companies completely in the cloud. There are plenty of other examples as well, and the successful ones, in all industries, are embracing a new way of building and operating software. Docusign has had a lot of success, and quite a bit with a lift-and-shift to IaaS resources as they continue to build and rebuild their software to embrace the cloud and adopt more PaaS services. They didn’t move systems and expect everything to just get better. They started a journey that they continue to travel every week. The move is a journey, not a quick move, another item that the article points out and many managers forget.

That being said, not everyone is moving their systems to the cloud. Even organizations that adopt some cloud services, implementing Salesforce as a CRM, might continue to run plenty of systems on-premises. Lots of companies use the cloud for IaaS, but with the architectures and software that used to run in their own data centers. They just moved their  VMs.

The cloud can be successful in many ways, but you need to understand how you adopt the technology, what capabilities can help, and how limitations can hinder your software. There is no magic bullet, but there are a lot of opportunities if your organization takes advantage of them.

Steve Jones

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Editor, SQLServerCentral
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