Public cloud’s early success came from new workload enablement, providing a unique economic model that lowered the financial barrier for workloads with variability. Existing workloads, on the other hand, required significant additional spending to ready for cloud and lacked benefits from this financial model.

For several years, enterprises have described their cloud strategies as hybrid — using a mix of cloud and non-cloud technologies to solve for their technology challenges, but this conversation has since changed. The topic of enterprise cloud migration kicked off in 2015 when an American multinational conglomerate used an industry keynote to discuss its own migration plans — claiming an aggressive, public cloud-only strategy rather than the generally accepted hybrid cloud approach. Since then, the idea gained momentum as enterprises explore this shift, with many already underway on their migration.

However, the actual details behind cloud migration in practice are largely unknown. Many assume that leaders are undergoing mass migration of all applications, using a low-cost lift-and-shift method to completely migrate all apps. Some claim the private cloud is dead, and that hybrid cloud is a conservative approach rather than common sense. But in practice, things are different. Data shows continued investment in private cloud initiatives and that approaches are less aggressive. Even the initial conglomerate that keynoted has since shared plans to extend certain apps into colocation facilities instead due to cost.

Simply put, public cloud migration is very much here. But it’s not the only story. Today, 60% of enterprises identify their cloud strategy as hybrid. Even public cloud migrators continue to invest in private cloud environments.

Change is difficult and expensive. Enterprises must decide which changes generate the most value and are most critical for success in their higher-level digital transformations. Even those who are actively migrating their existing workloads to the public cloud currently still report investment in private cloud as a central part of their digital transformation strategies.

Firms must evaluate the goals of migration efforts in the larger context of their digital strategy and examine the best environment for every individual workload. Not every application is suited for movement to the public cloud, nor should they all remain private. An informed migration strategy takes these considerations into account.

Research Background

In July 2017, Red Hat commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the cloud migration strategies of organizations by conducting an online survey with 272 respondents and four interviews with cloud migrators at enterprises all over the world. Research showed that less than 5% of migrators use a single migration method. Migrators pick and choose the best migration method for each workload, weighing criteria like cost and performance optimization, flexibility, speed, and methods for mitigating disruption. Most interestingly, despite the chatter, private cloud is still very much in the mix for the enterprises that are actively migrating existing workloads to the public cloud.

Download the report to read the key findings of Forrester’s research on cloud adoption practices and to discover important recommendations for all professionals seeking to build and execute a successful cloud strategy.

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