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article imageQ&A: Why many business are moving their legacy Oracle application Special

By Tim Sandle     May 27, 2019 in Technology
New research finds that many Integrated Technology and Device Manufacturers are considering moving their legacy Oracle applications. Barriers to this are uncertainty and risk. Bill Saltys of Apps Associates explains why such a move is important.
Apps Associates recently unveiled research which features insight from over 300 IT decision makers (all active Oracle customers). The report uncovers their perceptions around the pain points, challenges and benefits of cloud migration from legacy Oracle applications.
The research showed that while 94 percent of respondents felt that moving their legacy Oracle applications to the cloud would make things a lot easier for their organizations, concerns around security, compliance, costs and availability are holding companies back. Bill Saltys, Senior Vice President of Alliances at Apps Associates explains more.
Digital Journal: What are the advantages of cloud migration in general?
Bill Saltys: In the current IT landscape, those companies that are not considering migrating on-premise applications to the cloud will be left behind. While many enterprises have already moved off-premise, 2019 will be the year we'll see major cloud migrations from Oracle application users. In fact, our recent survey, Oracle to the Cloud: Top 5 Myths, Debunked, found that nearly three in five (59 percent) of IT decision makers (ITDMs) say they are planning to migrate their legacy Oracle applications and databases this year.
The fundamental advantages of cloud, in general, are well known in the shift of the data center and underlying tech stack from customer procured, maintained and managed over to the cloud and service provider managed environment. Full SaaS deployments are the holy grail in terms of shifting primary responsibility to the vendor. The net result is increased agility, flexibility and overall cost savings while allowing an organization to focus their technology initiatives, time and spend on innovation and optimization of their own core business.
None of those fundamental advantages of cloud are a revelation or subject of (much) debate these days. Cloud computing helps to shift the balance from capital expenditure on infrastructure to operating expenditure on maintenance and support, due to its elasticity, scalability and virtually instant availability, which decreases total cost of ownership (TCO).
For Oracle customers with highly customized applications or complex requirements that are not yet available in SaaS, hosting applications in a public cloud environment (IaaS), such as AWS, has become a viable option allowing ITDMs to execute on the cloud transformation and begin to realize benefits from relief for managing the data center.
For companies that aren’t yet ready to make the leap to hosting everything in the public cloud, multi-cloud can be a good middle ground. The multi-cloud environment allows companies to host some of their data on-premise and some of it in a public or private cloud. This is a perfect fit for IT professionals that are accustomed to being able to physically manage their on-prem applications and are not yet comfortable or able to give up that direct control and management of their environments. Multi-cloud strategies also benefit ITDMs looking to avoid vendor lock-in, as it offers the freedom to mix-and-match where applications live. Secure connections between the clouds allows the multi-cloud model to take even more shape with the ability to move workloads seamlessly between the two.
DJ: What are the challenges around cloud migration?
Saltys: Despite the recognized advantages, the hurdles to the commitment and execution of the transformative shift to cloud are primarily centered on security, ability and cost associated with the migration itself and risk and compliance. For Oracle customers with mission-critical applications running the backbone of their business, all of these questions and challenges are central to the decision for cloud adoption. Nearly three in five (57%) Oracle application ITDMs say that they know that cloud is the way forward, they are not yet sure how to get there. No one wants to be responsible for a misstep in interrupting vital operations of the organization – any major impact to security, availability, compliance or performance can spell disaster and missed ROI. Despite these fears, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say that their senior leadership has mandated a cloud adoption strategy in all forms.
Migrating to the cloud can be quite challenging for companies, in part due to the confusion and noise created by the so-called “cloud wars,” which often presents contradictory viewpoints. For example, navigating license compliance is a common deterrent for companies who are looking to migrate their Oracle applications in a bring-your-license model to a third-party cloud. The good news is, it’s not only possible, it’s a proven fact. Both AWS and Microsoft are “authorized” cloud environments, as defined in the Oracle policy statement (Jan 2017). To avoid any issues when migrating, IT pros simply need to plan properly and ensure that they remain compliant with the terms and conditions of licensing and support agreements.
Security concerns is also a major area of risk cited by nearly all ITDMs as a primary reason for slowing down cloud adoption. However, cloud technology has advanced rapidly over the past five years, leading to solutions and security models meeting stringent standards. At the infrastructure level, public cloud providers, like AWS, have developed foundational security that is likely much more advanced than anything companies may be able to develop and maintain themselves. Coupled with vendor services certified to best practice standards and robust, cloud-native tools, security can become a strength when moving to the cloud. In fact, many of the major security breaches reported in the news have happened from on-premise data centers, keeping in mind that a primary source of risk comes from both intended and unintended breakdown by internal resources.
DJ: How can companies best prepare for the migration?
Saltys: There are a handful of moving parts when it comes to preparing for the migration process. The first and most important aspect is conducting a complete and thorough analysis of the existing IT environment and the factors related to total cost of ownership (TCO), business priorities and risk. This includes identifying what systems currently make up the environment, the profiles of the current physical infrastructure, applications and databases Including size, performance, versions, integrations, etc. The preparation should also cover licensing compliance, as appropriate.
During this phase, IT professions will often identify databases and applications that the company no longer actively uses, and there may be some consolidation opportunities. It also involves analyzing the human aspect, meaning who currently supports the applications and who has access to which systems. Getting the full picture of the IT landscape will help make the migration process smooth and provide transparency around all of the working parts. This initial data gathering, and assessment activity will lead to architectural and design planning which will typically include TCO analysis against options and a projected roadmap.
DJ: What would you say to companies who indicate they cannot afford to use cloud services?
Saltys: Cloud migration does come with a higher upfront, transitional cost. However, the initial investment is offset by the many long-term benefits cited previously in the fundamentals of cloud. When looking at the cost model holistically over time, it is much more cost effective to deploy applications in the public or private cloud, rather than continue to build, refresh and maintain an on-premise environment. As an example, AWS offers Cost Optimization, which gives companies the opportunity to effectively manage how much they’re spending in the cloud. AWS allows ITDMs to address specific business needs and adapt as the company grows.
Of course, SaaS-based cloud applications show consistent value and higher level of ROI as responsibilities shift from the customer to the SaaS and managed service providers, recognizing that integration is critical part of SaaS migration. Additionally, IT professionals should seek out partners who can help them continually optimize the cloud environment as a key part of overall ROI realization. Apps Associates offers services and tools that help monitor and manage spending each month, to ensure IT professionals are always only spending exactly what they need.
DJ: Are there any cybersecurity concerns?
Saltys: Security is the top ranked concern among IT professionals, as it should be. Going back to our recent survey, security was rated the number one priority by 97% of ITDMs looking to transition from legacy Oracle applications to the cloud. And while concerns around security are understandable, there is a way to safely and securely migrate applications to the cloud. Working with the cloud provider and your managed service provide to ensure there are clear responsibilities and best practices is a key step in this process.
In many cases, the cloud environment is more secure than on-premise applications. A recent survey by AlertLogic found that variations in threat activity is not that dependent on where the infrastructure is located – whether on-premise or in the cloud. Major cloud providers also have the added benefit of working with partners across the globe to ensure security is of the highest quality at all times.
DJ: What are some of the specific advantages for the companies you’ve migrate from Oracle to AWS?
Saltys: Apps Associates has successfully delivered 160+ Oracle workload migrations to AWS since becoming an AWS in 2012, and the benefits customers have seen have been impressive. For example, customers such as RISO, experienced a 55% reduction in total IT operational costs and a 35 percent reduction in backup infrastructure costs by migrating to AWS. The migration also enabled new IT scalability that wasn’t previously possible for their businesses.
The specific advantages of AWS will vary based on the customer footprint and objectives, e.g. global enterprise consolidation. Previously cited general cloud advantages apply for AWS IaaS centered in shifting responsibility from customer procured, maintained and managed data centers over to the cloud and service provider managed environment resulting in increased agility, flexibility and overall cost savings. Additionally, however, is AWS breadth of platform, developer and management services providing an accelerator for innovation and optimization. These advantages are often overlooked and are tremendously critical in the formula for digital transformation.
For example, AWS offerings in PaaS (analytics, database, IoT, AI, machine learning) or management, governance and optimization (CloudTrail, System Manager, VMware on AWS and recent additions such as Control Tower and Outposts) are great examples of the enabling services needed to allow enterprises to innovate and scale. Coupling these advantages against the Oracle application and technology roadmap including SaaS allows Apps Associates to drive outcomes that far exceed traditional, on-premise data center results.
DJ: What are the key findings from your recent survey of IT professionals?
Saltys: Apps Associates worked with a 3rd party vendor to survey over 300 ITDMs – all of whom were current Oracle customers – to understand the common myths and prevailing attitudes around migrating Oracle applications to the cloud. Unsurprisingly, we found 86 percent of ITDM’s senior management had mandated a cloud adoption strategy in 2019, emphasizing the fact that Oracle migration will pick up speed this year. We identified and debunked five major myths that have kept Oracle customers from migrating to the cloud to-date, including fears around license compliance, feasibility, cybersecurity, affordability, and confusion around cloud options. A few interesting data points included:
More than half of ITDM (55 percent) are concerned that if they move to the cloud, their chances of Oracle compliance audit will increase.
Nearly half of ITDM (49 percent) feel if they move to the cloud, Oracle will no longer support them.
57% of ITDM say that while they know the cloud is the way forward, they are not sure how to get there.
98% of all ITDMs say if there was someone who could migrate their existing Oracle applications to the public/private cloud and ensure there would be no issues they would be likely to use them.
Despite the confusion that still surrounds cloud migrations, the truth of the matter is that a seamless migration is possible with the right attitude, accurate information, and a loyal partner. A “yes you can” mindset is something Apps Associates stands behind when it comes to cloud migration.
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