Whether it is to transform your business or simply to reduce your long-term IT costs, most companies are making their journey to the Cloud. When it comes to enterprise content management (ECM), leading solutions offer two decidedly different approaches: move your existing solution to the Cloud or invest in a new, cloud-native solution. Both options allow organizations to benefit from the cloud, but legacy solutions running the Cloud have inherent limitations. Forward thinkers are taking the bolder approach and looking to cloud-native platforms to provide the foundation for their digital transformations.
Let’s compare three key benefits of the cloud and compare the tradeoffs of each approach.
In today’s global pandemic, companies realize that ubiquitous access is no longer just nice to have. It’s a baseline requirement for companies with closed offices, employees working from home, and the inability to regularly interact with customers in person. Cloud solutions that are deployed on public cloud infrastructure inherit the infrastructure’s presence on the public Internet, enabling access for employees, partners, and customers. Companies can add security to limit access to sensitive information, but the bottom line is that the solution is available anytime, anywhere.
Advantage: neither approach has a clear advantage
One of the reasons that the Cloud is so attractive to companies is that it provides scale to meet the most demanding requirements, as is proven by the number of consumer apps and social networks they support. However, this benefit depends dramatically upon how easily the solution’s scalability can be configured. Cloud-native solutions are built for this challenge: microservice architectures enable administrators to scale by simply deploying additional resources. If you need more capture or search or workflow capacity, you add specific microservices to address the shortcomings. If you need more storage, you add storage capacity. By deploying services independently, cloud-native platforms provide significant flexibility to tune your solution.
Unfortunately, many legacy platforms do not provide this flexibility. While they offer tools to implement their solutions quickly on cloud infrastructure, also known as “lift and shift,” these must be fully configured before deploying. This limits the ability to make adjustments. To scale, solutions must be reconfigured and redeployed, requiring time and effort from your IT staff and downtime to redeploy the solution.
Advantage: cloud-native platforms
While cloud proponents often tout cost savings as one of the most significant benefits of the Cloud, it’s wise to fully understand the costs associated with the cloud before making any final decisions. As they say, “your mileage may vary.”
The Cloud offers cost benefits in two distinct ways. The first is that it changes the expense model from “pay ahead” to “pay for what you use.” Historically, deploying business solutions required a significant capital investment: purchasing the solution licenses, buying hardware to support the solution, and funding the implementation. By reducing the up-front investment, organizations have more flexibility, but the long-term benefits are debatable. At some point, the costs of deploying in the cloud are going to exceed the up-front costs.
Where cloud-native platforms gain a real advantage is by optimizing cloud resources over time. By scaling up and down with much more precision, cloud-native solutions consume fewer resources, saving money over more static, “cloud-enabled’’ legacy solutions.
Advantage: cloud-native platforms
The Bottom Line
Not all cloud solutions are equal. While it’s often a shorter path to deploy an existing solution to the cloud, it’s important to understand the shortcomings this approach brings with it. Cloud-native platforms take full advantage of cloud infrastructures while delivering more benefits in the process.
To learn more about why you should be deploying content-centric applications on the cloud, download Nuxeo’s latest white paper: 6 Reasons to Adopt Content Services in the Cloud.