Is 2017 the Year When Cloud Migrations Really Take Off?

Is 2017 the year when cloud migrations will really take off? By “cloud migration,” I mean the migration of applications or workloads to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) platform. Corporations have been laying the groundwork by training, hiring, and building cloud services teams that encompass a cloud migration group, commonly referred to as a “migration factory.” All the pieces have been put into place, and what is left is the execution of the migration. Some companies’ overall cloud strategy is a strategy not just to get to the cloud, but also to get control of workloads deployed to the public cloud along the way.

Migrations tend to follow a particular pattern, and lessons are learned along the way. The first wave of migrations is considered the low-hanging fruit of the organization—the stuff that is easy to migrate. The list of low-hanging fruit can be long. As such, you might see the migration of a large volume of applications right out of the gate and in a very short time frame. This year and the next have the potential to be the years of the great migrations.

These migration plans have been in the works for a while now, going from concept to execution. However, recently there have been some new announcements about strategic partnerships—namely Amazon and VMware—that might change the trajectory of the corporate cloud strategy.

Generally speaking, most companies have either Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere as their in-house hypervisor platform. The number of companies using each platform is about even, but I believe that most of the larger companies and enterprises are running on top of a VMware solution. For the Microsoft Hyper-V companies, Microsoft Azure is the most logical way to go. However, for the companies that are running VMware vSphere, the partnership between Amazon and VMware is going to present some options that could not be considered at the start of the push-to-the-cloud corporate strategies. With VMware NSX, corporations will soon have the ability to utilize Amazon AWS as an extension of their own  private cloud that can be managed and maintained with all the current in-house tools and services. Voilà—the hybrid cloud! Welcome to what I believe will be the new corporate mantra going forward.

The flexibility that a hybrid cloud solution brings could present some alternative architecture design considerations. For example, the public cloud could be looked at as different availability zoned for an organization. This is just one of a number of new things that will be considered with the design of a hybrid solution.

The corporate cloud strategy has been in the works from concept to execution over the last couple of years. This year and the next have the potential to become the time of the great corporate cloud migration. For VMware-centric enterprises, it will be all about the choices that will be made available. I think that the true potential of vCloud Air has yet to be fully realized. It will rely on how much of the native vSphere functionality will be available for the vSphere environments running over at Amazon. Depending on how much native functionality is missing with the Amazon platform, the door could very well open for vCloud Air and IBM to shine as a seamless extension of the corporate private cloud. This could in turn leave a door open for availability zones based on the integration functionality of a hybrid solution.

What do you think? Is 2017 the year when cloud migrations will really take off, or will the hybrid cloud radically change the corporate cloud strategy moving forward?

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