Amazon is placing its bets on the future of cloud. The announcement that CEO Jeff Bezos will be stepping down and passing the torch to Amazon Web Services (AWS) leader Andy Jassy at the start of Q3 2021 signals a major shift in the future of technology – and not only for organizations specializing in IT, storage and web hosting. Rather, the growth of AWS signals a multi-industry-wide demand for cloud services as the new normal for conducting business – and those that continue to rely on legacy technologies could soon see their businesses falter in the shadows of competitors in the near future. However, every company’s individual systems are entirely unique, and modernization doesn’t happen with a one-size-fits-all approach. So why should organizations invest in new technologies – and how?
Setting Sights on the Cloud
The pandemic has made painfully clear the need for organizations to get away from their aging legacy systems and to embrace the cloud for a variety of reasons. First, COVID-19 has forced almost all businesses, across all industries, to embrace more distributed networks – requiring business-critical systems and functions to be accessed from countless different sources at any given moment. This can prove a major pain point for organizations with IT infrastructures that are prone to difficulties and outages. These shortcomings can have a detrimental impact on customers and citizens, as well. In light of major IT outages in states like New Jersey, California and Oregon, it’s clear that pursuing a more modern approach to IT systems is no longer just an option – it should be the only option. This is because, in addition to the benefits for users and enhanced business function, there are added benefits for the company itself and the world at large.
Shifting systems away from data centers requires significantly less energy to power – and as data centers are responsible for as much greenhouse gas emissions as the airline industry, the environmental impact coupled with operational cost savings enable businesses to meet customer demands for greener practices while reducing overall operational costs. What’s more, this change to cloud services will allow for horizontal scalability within organizations, ensuring that businesses are able to meet demands for their offerings in real-time.
The Sky is the Limit: Strategies for Improving IT Infrastructure
If your organization is relying on a mainframe, it won’t be able to reap the many benefits that cloud infrastructure has to offer – and organizations that shy away from making these vital updates run the risk of running their business offline entirely. As a result, the time to act is now – but in the rush to get IT departments in order, it’s vital that organizations choose a modernization strategy that is best suited to their unique business. For most organizations, a modernization journey begins with one of the four following approaches:
- System Replacement: Sometimes, organizations aim to expedite their modernization journeys by doing away with their aging legacy systems entirely. Through a system replacement, organizations purchase off-the-shelf solutions from third-party vendors and conduct business via the new software while their existing infrastructure and applications are taken out of service. While this approach enables a speedier shift toward the cloud, it should be noted that these solutions aren’t tailored to a specific company’s needs or functions, and that these solutions can be especially costly.
- Rewriting: In an effort to retain key legacy knowledge while enabling better business function, some organizations pursue a rewrite of their existing systems within a more modern environment. Through this approach, a team of professional developers work to manually recreate the system and its applications – which often results in an extended timeline for modernization, exorbitant costs and an especially high risk of complete project failure.
- Automated Refactoring: Through looping in a team of IT experts, this strategy enables an organization to migrate their legacy system’s procedural code bases into object-oriented languages within modern environments that are more appropriate for today’s business demands. Using specialized and automated tools designed for the project at hand, this modernization strategy ensures that an organization has a system designed for its unique business cases and an immediate pathway to the cloud.
- Rehosting: To help companies maintain their legacy information, many organizations pursue rehosting as part of their modernization strategy. In this approach, a company’s existing legacy codebase is transferred away from their mainframe and their unchanged procedural code bases, data and other core functions into a new computing environment that is more suitable for current needs. This fast-paced process helps to set organizations on track toward the cloud as quickly as possible.
Aiming for the Cloud(s)
Amazon’s shift in leadership is a testament to the growth potential and overall importance of the cloud – not only for companies that manage web services, but for all industries around the world. However, by proactively taking the steps to move away from legacy systems and pursue a cloud-first approach to business, organizations will be better positioned to maintain their revenue streams, improve scalability, drive customer satisfaction, reduce operational costs and even protect themselves from potential disasters down the line. By setting and sticking to a set strategy and timeline for modernization, companies can ensure the success of their most mission-critical applications and functions to ensure their continued success and survival in a world or rapidly changing business demands.
The sky is the limit – are you ready to aim for the cloud(s)?