Large organizations still tend to be skittish about migrating their enterprise applications to the public cloud, despite an overall embrace of public cloud for workloads like backup and storage. Instead, they may prefer to place critical applications in private cloud environments. Attitudes are changing, however, with users of applications like the OpenText suite increasingly opting to host their solutions on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The use of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) turns out to be a key enabler of this decision much of the time.
Why run enterprise apps on the public cloud?
The public cloud was not always an obvious choice for enterprise applications. Until a few years ago, running a major system like SAP or OpenText on the public cloud might have meant putting up with some performance deficits or being responsible for designing a lot of really complex cloud architecture. Now, the big cloud service providers (CSPs) have a variety of dedicated offerings that blend the best of the public cloud with application-specific requirements. For example, if a company wants to have a dedicated virtual server to run OpenText eDocs, that is a push-button proposition on GCP.
If a company wants to have a dedicated virtual server to run OpenText eDocs, that is a push-button proposition on GCP.
The alternative is an application-specific private cloud provider. This model does have appeal. There’s a high degree of control and typically a focused support team at the provider. However, private cloud providers can be expensive and scaling up is not always as easy as it sounded during the sales pitch.
OpenText offers its own dedicated cloud service, which is very compelling, but some of the company’s clients prefer public cloud for a simple reason: they’re already there. Indeed, as software vendors like OpenText are discovering, their enterprise customers have almost all made a decision to commit to one or more public cloud CSPs. For instance, the old “Microsoft shop” may now be an “Azure shop.” Or, if a company has committed its DevOps program to AWS, they are probably going to favor AWS when they migrate their OpenText instances to the cloud. This is because they have the skills and experience with that CSP.
Other factors driving interest in the public cloud for enterprise applications include elastic scalability, security and a desire for hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. Regarding security, it is now difficult, or even impossible, to match the security practices prevalent at the major CSPs. On a related front, the public cloud provides an unparalleled ability to set up geographically advantageous backups and business continuity plans. It is possible to establish hybrid and multi-cloud environments using private cloud hosts, but it’s arguably easier to do this on the public cloud. Reasons for this mostly involve the wide range of preset functions available on public CSPs, e.g. containerization, virtual networks, APIs and more.
The advantages of a managed service approach
Some enterprises are opting to move their critical applications to the public cloud by engaging with an MSP during the migration and then staying with them for the duration. There are a number of advantages to this approach. Working with an MSP typically results in a faster implementation of the cloud migration. An MSP, assuming they’re qualified, can also reduce the overall risk of the move. They’ve done it before, so they guide the client through the migration process and establish ongoing management using proven best practices.
Working with an MSP typically results in a faster implementation of the cloud migration. An MSP, assuming they’re qualified, can also reduce the overall risk of the move.
The client gets simplicity, flexibility and agility from the MSP relationship. A further benefit arises from having a single Service Level Agreement (SLA) for everything. The client gets clarity about who is on task for what.
The IT department also stands to gain from the use of an MSP. This might seem counterintuitive, as the MSP theoretically takes the place of IT staffers in managing the enterprise application. However, as OpenText customers are finding with the company’s “Managed Services Powered by GCP,” for example, they can reduce the volume of service tickets with an MSP. OpenText customers have realized cost savings of 30% with this program as well. Then, without having to be on duty for upgrades and disaster recovery, the IT team can focus on more business-facing work.
The public cloud has much to offer companies that want to run their critical enterprise applications in the cloud. It’s not for everyone, but the major CSPs can provide security and scale that are hard to match. Working with an MSP can smooth the transition. They remove much of the risk and provide ongoing expertise that puts IT in a better position to engage with the business for digital transformation and other profitable initiatives.