How much of your business is in the cloud? Many organisations are now using it for email, document sharing, even CRM – but how about your legacy applications?
We can pretty much guarantee that every business set up more than ten years ago replies on some legacy software to enable key business processes. It could be bespoke applications developed in-house, or specialist packaged applications that you’ve customised, such as your ERP system, or the parking or waste management applications that each local authority adapts to suit its needs.
What you’ll find is that few of today’s cloud services make it easy to transfer legacy applications. Even if the application vendor offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) version of the application, it may mean a significant upgrade with associated costs and disruption, plus a new licensing model, and often SaaS versions can’t accept your customisations. For example, Autodesk’s current SaaS for BIM only runs one version of the software and can’t accept customisations or third party developed add-ins.
A number of providers are developing their SaaS strategy, but in many cases this is : “we’ll park and maintain a dedicated version of your software on a public cloud service”, then charge you a significant premium for the privilege!
That doesn’t mean you can’t find a cloud solution. You could try cloud re-platforming onto Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where you run the application ‘as is’ or with minor enhancements on another provider’s infrastructure. However, you’ll still to do some of the work yourself – patching, resilience, back-up, security, application support, maintenance, monitoring and management – unless you choose managed IaaS and pay someone else to do it for you.
A second option is Platform as a Service (PaaS), where you install and manage your code (e.g. database or development environment) on a cloud provider’s secured and patched base application. Again, you’ll need to do maintenance yourself, and probably some upgrades and redevelopment to the current version of the base software as there aren’t many SQL Server 2008, Informix or Progress DB PaaS services available.
Option three is managed cloud SaaS, where your provider takes responsibility for all aspects of the application and customises their service to the exact characteristics you want.
Fordway can help you review and compare all these options; we’ve already done for many of our customers, so we know all the pitfalls! We can advise you on the key questions to ask potential providers, so you know exactly what you’re signing up to. We can also provide private cloud or managed IaaS as a staging point until more appropriate public cloud services become available.
For more information and a table comparing the various options available, please take a look at my recent article on comparethecloud