Does migrating to the Cloud ensure application agility?

Organizations are hopping onto the cloud bandwagon for more than just its cost-effectiveness and resilience. In a highly competitive environment, agility, or the ability to respond to any situation, even unpredictable ones, quickly and nimbly, is just as important. And the cloud, without a doubt, delivers this.

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In computing, agility means delivering applications to do the required task faster than before, and scaling applications up and down as per requirements. Self-service, provisioning, and automation, key ingredients of the cloud infrastructure, facilitate this.

Self-servicing: The cloud provides on-demand self-servicing, or the ability to add or shed the required resources in real time. This allows the organization to take up more resources to seize an opportunity, or respond to a challenge – all, without having to spend a fortune keeping such infrastructure ready, just in case. Once the requirement is over, the organization can revert to the previous levels, or adjust to new levels just as easily.

Provisioning: Provisioning is the allocation of resources to a customer, and in a sense the back-end of what happens when the customer makes a request to allocate resources. Dynamic provisioning, which is allocation and withdrawal of resources as demanded and billing on as pay-as-you-go basis perfectly complements business agility.

Automation: One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is automation of key procedures. Automated provisioning allows an enterprise to take up the required resources seamlessly and with precision, without any extra effort.

Agile Development

Although the cloud provides the perfect infrastructure for agility, infrastructure by itself does little to ensure application agility. The agility of an application depends on agile development, or incorporating agile principles in the design, deployment and management of the application and the processes surrounding the application lifecycle.

It is generally better to opt for small incremental functionality enhancements through short delivery cycles, rather than a big bang upgrade after an extended development cycle, which would most likely throw up an unstable application. The agile-friendly cloud infrastructure perfectly complements such an approach.

Break-down of Organizational Silos

To ensure agility, it is essential that organizational silos are broken down, to ensure that the application can fully leverage the agile infrastructure to the hilt. Silos may result in disparate artifacts, which not just slows down the process considerably, but also shoots up problems and issues. An agile approach is to opt for a single set of tools, which the cloud would offer. The break-down of organizational silos also ensures streamlined and automated processes that perfectly gel in with the cloud infrastructure.

The cloud is not a magic wand that offers a panacea for all ills. Rather, it offers an efficient and highly dynamic system, which, when leveraged in the right way, realizes considerable benefits, especially agility.

Author : Nayab Naseer Date : 24 Sep 2013