I don’t need to go Cloud-Native, do I? The fears of change

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While a Start-Up is unlikely to consider going without the cloud, a traditional company may still have doubts about moving away from the good old data center.

So, will the cloud be the future? I would say it’s already been the case for quite a while, especially when developing new projects from scratch. Working in a data center and cloud-native environment are fundamentally different approaches these days.

What are the fears of migrating into the cloud?

A decade ago, every project I worked on was hosted in a data center. Cloud wasn’t a big thing for us at this time. When I talk to colleagues in the SME area, I get the following essence out of these discussions, many of which are still the same as ten years ago.

Not in control — data is not safe.

Executives and developers alike are often afraid of the thought to be not in charge of the data anymore. Since all servers and infrastructure is virtually rented somewhere in hidden data clouds. There’s this feeling that “others” may access, change or shut down the system for some reason.

In my opinion, this fear is a part of the natural behavior to keep things in sight. We are just not used to trusting other platforms the same way as we could trust our own because we are used to being the owner of ours.

In the IT sector, we had trustworthy colleagues caring about the servers and applications. It’s not an easy shift toward trusting a faceless “cloud provider” the same way we trust in each other.

(Hint: I never overcome this fear entirely :))

Costs are higher than in a data center.

Yes, the cost factor is always a driving motivator in decision-making. We were shocked when we first calculated the monthly costs of moving our whole data center into MS Azure in a lift-and-shift approach. We would have doubled the monthly expenses.

But here is the point: Cloud is not about doing the same thing you did in your data center. Instead, moving to cloud-native describes the way to go by migrating the software components into new architecture, which eventually becomes more cost-effective than even the data center was beforehand. The difference is the approach and how the team is working on applications. Transition done right, the costs will be lower eventually, but the application will not be the same as it was — in a positive way.

The effort of rebuilding everything to fit the cloud

A fundamental problem, indeed. Putting time and money for years into monolithic applications leads to massive, immobile solutions in data centers, which are then the foundation of the business.

When developer teams brainstorm about migration into the cloud, they often conclude that the legacy system isn’t prepared for this endeavor. Thus, a costly system rebuild must be accomplished, which will take months or even years in the worst case. For a c-suite person, this doesn’t sound very pleasant since we are talking of months of backstage work, which doesn’t lead to revenue in the first place or at all.

Especially small businesses will have problems taking that risk. Not to forget that there’s often a skill gap in transition into modern software architecture or best practices. The skill gap can become a significant problem for the morale of the developer team since the new requirement can overwhelm a team.

In my role as CTO, I had those fears as well. However, in reality, I hesitated actually to get into motion here as well. I know many CTOs and VPEs still have those fears today.

How do you overcome these fears?

The most important thing is understanding what cloud and cloud-native mean today. The more one learns about modern software architecture, the sooner one will realize that the fears mentioned above aren’t as significant as one might think.

The second aspect is to close the skill gap to gain confidence to start a migration eventually. Skillsets are the essential goods a company or a team can have in the IT sector. Developing a continuous learning culture is a crucial step in modern software development.

The third aspect is to understand the architecture of your solution to come. Yes, because the application will become something different and probably better than it is today. The architecture was a simple thing years ago, but today it’s a mandatory skill that I highly recommend understanding. Know your destination, and the way to clear will become cristal clear.

Conclusion

Knowledge and Skillset are crucial to making decisions in modern web development. Thus, the right mindset is vital to continue achieving the skills because the learning journey will never end for junior or seasoned developers.

If you feel your company needs to move to the cloud, there’s a good chance it’s the best you could do. So don’t hesitate because of unclear fears.

If you have questions about this topic, please respond or contact me on LinkedIn.

In case you are interested in similar topics, check out my daily/weekly newsletter on https://adrianstanek.dev

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Adrian Stanek

Adrian Stanek

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CTO @webbar & raion.io | Blogger | CTO-Newsletter | Advocates web-native technologies to become the leading platform for digital businesses