The 5 Steps to Build Resilient Cloud Infrastructure

By 2025, major firms aim to migrate about 60% of their infrastructure into the cloud according to McKinsey & Company. This transition is predicted to unlock significant economic value, with a 2021 McKinsey study estimating that cloud adoption could yield approximately $1 trillion for US Fortune 500 companies by 2030.

Extending this to Forbes Global 2000 firms, the potential rise in EBITDA could reach a staggering $3 trillion by the same year. Asia leads in potential cloud value gains, anticipated around $1.3 trillion, with the Americas following at about $1.1 trillion. Given the origins of three major cloud service providers in North America, it’s not surprising that the region leads in cloud adoption. In North America, the retail sector stands out, with an expected EBITDA gain of nearly 162 billion dollars by 2030, surpassing the potential gains in both the European Union and Asia combined. This underscores the transformative power of cloud computing not just in enhancing operational efficiencies but also in driving substantial economic growth.

Transitioning to cloud computing can significantly enhance stability over traditional on-premises setups, offering quicker recovery times, increased flexibility to bolster resiliency, and access to advanced tools for managing resiliency more effectively.

However, adopting cloud technology also necessitates robust cloud security measures to shield against prominent security threats. Any interruption or downtime can lead to revenue loss, reputational damage, and customer attrition. Potential triggers for widespread system failures include natural disasters, cyber attacks, power outages, hardware malfunctions, and human errors.

This is where the concept of resilience and resilience patterns become crucial. In the context of cloud computing, resilience refers to the capacity of the infrastructure to rapidly recover from failures or disruptions, ensuring continuous and efficient operation. Resilience patterns in cloud environments are specifically crafted to maintain application availability and performance, even during unforeseen disturbances.

Exiting literature suggests that that achieving optimal resiliency in cloud environments necessitates that IT departments undertake five crucial steps:


  1. Reassess Application Tiers and Performance Metrics

Organizations typically categorize applications into priority tiers. Moving workloads to the cloud presents an opportunity to reevaluate these applications and the customer journeys they support. It’s also a crucial time to review the service-level objectives for each tier, including Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Recovery Time Objective (RTO), and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), since recovery capabilities in the cloud often surpass those of on-premises environments.


  1. Align Resiliency Patterns with Application Tiers

Implementing a mix of specific infrastructure and application patterns is foundational for resilience. This step involves a thorough assessment of each application’s architecture to identify how it can support the necessary infrastructure and resiliency approaches to meet predefined targets. This process categorizes workloads by criticality (tier 1 being mission-critical; tier 2 being business-critical) and maps out the most suitable resiliency patterns for each, whether they pertain to infrastructure or the applications themselves.


  1. Customize Reference Architectures for Each Tier

While standard infrastructure and application resiliency patterns offer general guidance, best practices recommend developing tailored reference architectures for each application tier. These architectures serve as blueprints during the migration of existing workloads to the cloud and help structure new (greenfield) projects to accelerate delivery and address technical and business resilience needs effectively.


  1. Determine and Prioritize Resiliency Levels Based on Business Needs

Resiliency efforts should be differentiated based on the nature of the workloads:

  • Cloud-first workloads are designed specifically for cloud environments and typically carry less legacy baggage, making them easier to secure and render resilient.
  • Cloud-eventual workloads originate from mainframes or on-premises environments and might require modernization to enhance resiliency and reduce operational costs when moved to the cloud.

Understanding the effort and cost involved in enhancing resiliency helps in prioritizing tasks effectively. Organizations should use a heat map to visualize the complexity and cost of addressing resilience for different applications, based on their business impact and importance.


  1. Develop a Strategic Roadmap for High-Priority Applications

The final step is to compile the insights from the previous actions into a strategic roadmap, focusing on high-priority applications. This roadmap should outline key milestones and KPIs to track progress and strategically allocate resources to the most critical workloads. Such prioritization not only ensures that these key applications run on a resilient foundation but also supports greater organizational agility, economic efficiency, and confidence in cloud capabilities. Additionally, operating these critical workloads in the cloud requires specific foundational and operational competencies.

As cloud computing becomes increasingly integral to corporate strategy, building and maintaining resilient cloud infrastructure is not just a technical necessity but a strategic imperative. By methodically enhancing the resilience of cloud deployments, companies not only safeguard their operations against potential disruptions but also position themselves to capitalize on the vast economic opportunities that cloud technology offers. Implementing structured resilience planning and execution will ensure that enterprises can thrive in the dynamic digital landscape of the future, maximizing their return on cloud investments while ensuring robust and reliable service delivery.