App Modernization 2021: Innovation, Security, and Cost Savings

Detailed insights into why your team should optimize your cloud infrastructure for better benefits.

March 04, 2021 | App Dev | Modernization

App Modernization 2021: Innovation, Security, and Cost Savings

The Accelerate State of DevOps Report collects data from over 31,000 professionals worldwide and is "the largest and longest-running research of its kind". In 2019, one of the key findings of the report was that the cloud is the key differentiator between elite performers and low performers.

And in case you're wondering how big of a difference there was - it was significant to say the least:

ELITE PERFORMERS

Comparing the elite group against the low performers, we find that elite performers have.

  • Throughput

    • 208 times more frequent code deployments
    • 106 times faster lead time from commit to deploy

  • Stability

    • 2604 times faster time to recover from incidents
    • 7 times lower change failure rate (changes are 1/7 times likely to fail)

But there’s more...

In addition to establishing a secure infrastructure that facilitates innovation, cloud computing can also save a ton of cash along with a lot of time, especially if you’re migrating from on-premises data solutions. But in order to maximize savings, businesses need to optimize their cloud use according to their business requirements.

In this guide, we’ll answer three major cloud migration and management questions:

  • what are the real-world benefits of migrating to a cloud-based infrastructure
  • how can business modernize their cloud infrastructure
  • what strategies can businesses deploy to further optimize their cloud infrastructure

Major Benefits of a Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Cloud computing isn’t new. A large proportion of cloud-based businesses adopted the technology a decade ago and have never looked back. But cloud computing has changed significantly in the past few years with more powerful machines, better pricing, and hundreds of tools that improve application development and enable innovation.

And as hard as it is to accept change, modernizing your cloud infrastructure should be a top priority because it offers benefits like:

1. Reducing time-to-market

The Early bird sure gets the worm. But in a competitive world, it needs to be consistent to survive and that’s exactly what the cloud allows businesses to achieve - consistency. From microservices that allow remote teams and easy updates to automated delivery pipelines that test updates for you, a modern cloud infrastructure offers numerous innovative solutions to help you deliver products faster and without error.

2. Saving time by reducing bottlenecks

According to the 80-20 rule, 80% of the tasks in a modern enterprise are mundane, repetitive, and lead to just 20% of the revenues - they’re also notorious for bottlenecking productivity and keeping employees from working at their full potential. Thankfully, cloud computing offers hundreds of solutions to help reduce the workload and save time through automation. For instance, by modernizing your Google cloud infrastructure, you can leverage artificial intelligence to do more with less (more on this later).

3. Saving (a lot of) money

Thanks to years of refinement and economics of scale, cloud computing has become extremely affordable in 2020. That means if you’re still on an older, unoptimized platform you could be paying a lot more in cloud spend than you have to. Doing as little as changing payment plans and making use of new offers can potentially cut your cloud spend by half!

5 Ways to Modernize an Infrastructure

It’s important to understand that modernization isn’t the same as a technological overhaul. Making even small changes can help you modernize your infrastructure and improve performance. To help you get started, here are 5 ways in which you can modernize your existing cloud infrastructure:

1. Containerization / Microservices

If you’re still on a monolithic architecture in 2020, containerization is arguably one of the most powerful changes you can make to your cloud infrastructure. Containerization allows you to simplify and speed up application deployment and management through microservices. Chances are you’ve heard of the extremely popular Kubernetes system - it is used to manage, automate, securely scale-up application development through microservices.

2. Adopting DevOps

Cloud infrastructure extends beyond machinery, it includes the working environment and the workers within it. DevOps (Development + operations) is an application development methodology (based on agile development) that focuses on bringing together the development team (the people that write the application) and the operations team (the people that operate it). It might seem obvious for these two teams to work together but without the right tools and infrastructure, it becomes very difficult to achieve perfect harmony.

Application development on the cloud through things like serverless, microservices, and cloud-native practices can help you adopt DevOps in your company and ensure that you beat your competition to the market every time.

3. Automate and leverage artificial intelligence

Cloud service providers like Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and their partners have tools and services that cater specifically to businesses that are looking to modernize their existing infrastructure and reduce cloud costs. One of the most popular and efficient methods is automation and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence integrated with business process automation helps reduce workload, save time, eliminate human error, cut down costs, and more.

4. Switch to hybrid cloud

Public cloud isn’t the go-to platform for growing companies anymore - it’s hybrid cloud (also known as multi-cloud). Hybrid cloud brings the best of public and private clouds in one affordable package, offering increased security, greater testing capabilities, and a consistent application development environment with lower operational overhead.

5. Use analytics to drive future growth

Big data analytics can be the difference between million-dollar profits and million-dollar losses. How? By constantly monitoring hundreds of performance metrics, not only within your business but also outside it, processing that information, and providing you with valuable insights that help you make data-driven decisions.

5 Ways to Optimize Cloud Use While Reducing Costs

One of the main differences between the companies that are elite performers and the ones that are just good performers is how they optimized their cloud infrastructures. Cloud computing is only a technology that is only as good as its implementation.

Poor deployment of the cloud often results in underutilization of resources and services, while at the same time, increasing costs. The following strategies can be adopted to optimize cloud usage and reduce monthly costs.

1. Understand the pricing structure

This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised to learn how many people miss some of the discounts given by cloud services providers. Google, for instance, offers many pricing features that can reduce your cloud bill dramatically. Some of those features include:

  • Sustained-use discounts: This is an automatic discount applied to your bill when you use Compute Engine resources (vCPU, memory, GPU, etc) for a significant amount of time per month. So for instance, by using vCPUs and memory for general-purpose custom and predefined machine types for 25% of the month, you become eligible for a discount and it keeps increasing as you continue to use that resource (during the same month).
  • Committed-use discounts: By committing to using the cloud for a set period of time, you can save up to 70% on your cloud bills without making any upfront payments. If you can predict your business’ cloud requirements (something that we can assist in), this is an extremely useful feature.
  • Per-second billing: While cloud services like AWS charge by the hour, the GCP offers you the option to pay by the second - which can result in significant savings for many workloads.

2. Manage your VMs properly

There are a few things you can do to ensure you’re only paying for what you’re using.

Application development on the cloud through things like serverless, microservices, and cloud-native practices can help you adopt DevOps in your company and ensure that you beat your competition to the market every time.

3. Automate and autoscale

These practices might seem overwhelming but a large part of them can easily be automated. Google Cloud comes with many tools built in to automate best practices in cost reduction. Tools like labels and Cloud Scheduler allow you to automate when processes begin and end, among other things. You can also use rules to further customize task automation.

Another way to optimize cloud use and budget is to use the autoscaling feature in most cloud service providers. Autoscaling is another form of automation and ensures that you’re not paying for resources that aren’t in use. For instance, the cloud will automatically downscale CPU utilization, HTTP load balancing capacity, and more when traffic decreases and upscale when it increases.

4. Configure storage correctly

With most of the focus on cloud compute, storage costs can quickly stack. And while most of the best practices we’ve discussed so far focused on cloud compute resources, cloud storage can and should be optimized too. The first thing to remember is that cloud storage is billed separately which makes it easier for businesses to track and monitor usage and cost. It also helps when your business’s computing and storage requirements are not perfectly proportional.

Like Cloud Compute, Storage too comes in different classes. The GCP has four types of Storage Classes: standard, nearline, coldline, and archival. All of these classes have different costs and are suitable for different workloads. You should choose the one that works for you. Additionally, if you find yourself manually changing storage classes frequently due to different workloads you can use lifecycle policies to automate this. Lifecycle policies automatically change or delete storage classes based on a set of predefined conditions.

And finally, it’s recommended that you delete duplicate data/cache that can accrue over time to save storage and therefore, money. Google Cloud Platform has multiple features designed to automate deduplication. For instance, object versioning can be set up to delete unnecessary versions of the same file, ensuring that a dozen versions of the same files do not take up valuable space.

5. Reassess your needs regularly

Finally, business environments change regularly and so do business requirements which means it’s a good idea to regularly analyze your cloud usage and spend to see if you need to reconfigure your system. You can also use this opportunity to explore the world of custom machine types and further optimize cloud use as the GCP lets you assemble custom VMs to your exact configuration (the only cloud service provider currently to do so).

Implementing Cloud Saving Measures

Optimal cloud implementation and usage is one of the biggest drivers of innovation, helps reduce costs all around the organization, empowers the organization to accelerate in competitiveness as well as caters to increasing customer demands. But best of all - it’s easy to get started with.

Reach out to D3V today to receive expert guidance in how to accurately assess your businesses’ cloud requirements or to optimize your existing cloud network. Our team’s certified cloud experts specialize in tailored solutions to fit individual business needs.

Author

Steve Sangapu

Steve Sangapu

Founder and CTO

Steve is an accomplished technical leader with over 20 years of experience and 7 patents from the USPTO. Most recently, he was a CTO of a DFW startup, LASH Delivery, that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company. In his free time, he enjoys coaching his daughter’s volleyball teams.

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