How a DevSecOps platform can help you navigate unclear cloud migration

The unprecedented times we all faced during the last few years have been the unexpected catalyst for companies to finally get serious about moving to the cloud. While the adoption wave started in retail and banking when clients were unable to transact in-person, the impact soon crossed every industry from healthcare and education to hospitality and food services.

Many e-commerce sites hosted on public clouds experienced a Cambrian explosion of activity and business. Companies closed their offices in favour of remote work, and with closed buildings came closed data centres and short-staffing of many business-critical services.

Couple this with supply chain disruptions, and many IT teams were faced with business continuity challenges, which impacted service level agreements, product quality, and customer satisfaction. The simple solution was to move apps, data, and infrastructure to the cloud. Hosting was provided by large public cloud providers like AWS and Google Cloud – which are better suited than on-premise environments to support business-critical services.

Cloud migration is a priority, but what’s the hold up?

As businesses continue to define their new processes and procedures, one thing is clear: cloud adoption will continue to accelerate and spread across all industries. GitLab’s 2022 DevSecOps Survey found that cloud adoption remains a high priority for firms, and, for the respondents to the survey, is the second highest investment area for DevOps teams too.

This is largely because development and IT operations teams are being pressured to get innovative apps released at faster speeds – and this kind of velocity can only be achieved in cloud environments. However, many IT teams also lack the consistent methodology and toolchains to plan, prioritise, automate, and track the progress of cloud migration projects.

Firms are hampered with legacy software development workflows, disconnected processes, and siloed tools. They are burdened with an inventory of mismatched legacy hardware, ageing networks, security, and app stacks poorly suited to cloud-native architectures.

This is significant when coupled with the current strain the Information Technology skills deficit is having – the National Skills Commission recently added 10 more IT-related roles to its list of those facing national shortages in Australia. Local tech firms – like many globally – are facing streamlined IT budgets, making migration projects seem out of reach.

How can DevSecOps platforms get us back on track?

DevSecOps platforms play a vital role in the successful deployment and delivery of these cloud migration projects we are discussing. How? Ultimately, successful cloud migrations require mastering the basics by adopting proven, repeatable, and reliable processes.

Consistency and a structured approach – like that offered through a single DevSecOps platform – will have as significant an impact on project success than executive sponsorship, funding, or upgrading the company culture to an “agile” mindset.

As enterprises plan to migrate apps, services, data, or infrastructure to the cloud, these projects can benefit from new ways to plan, manage, and deliver value. With certain modern DevSecOps platforms, users can define custom assessment methodologies, create repeatable task lists for app migration, store app code and set security protocols easily.

DevSecOps platforms also have another critical role in helping companies to make the most of their cloud investments: reducing toolchain complexity. Our recent 2022 DevSecOps Survey found that, despite most developers releasing code faster than ever before, toolchain sprawl is still impacting their speed and productivity. Close to three quarters (69%) of the survey respondents stated that they would like to consolidate their toolchains.

Simplicity and automation in tooling is needed to reduce the burden on developers, so they take advantage of the cloud and iterate fast. DevSecOps platforms can automate the process of testing, scanning, monitoring, and deploying business apps. With a single platform – or put simply, having everything in one place – developers can also work on customer-facing projects instead of wasting time trying to integrate and manage different tools.

To further simplify the developer experience and make it easier to procure and consume cloud services, GitLab and Google Cloud also recently partnered to deliver Cloud Seed. This is a new capability within GitLab that enables organisations to scale at the speed of the market and more easily reach cloud adoption targets. But possibly the greatest benefit of bolstering cloud adoption with a DevSecOps platform is that we believe the two make great partners.

DevOps can help companies to make the most out of their cloud investments, but this relationship is symbiotic. On premise environments can limit the positive impacts that DevOps processes can deliver to businesses – including scalability, greater collaboration and efficiency.

But in cloud environments, DevOps thrives. Cloud infrastructure can provide teams the boost needed to foster collaboration, reduce complexity and enhance release cycles. Cloud and DevOps investments feed off each other which can enhance the performance of each.

To help cloud teams embrace the cultural shift necessary for modern agile teams, GitLab, together with two of the biggest cloud providers – AWS and Google Cloud – has created various online guides and tools. These offer approaches that empower cross-functional teams to work together during migrations, refactorization, and adoption of cloud services.

The journey to becoming a cloud-native company is never necessarily a simple or linear one. But by embracing next-gen DevOps, cloud migration can be both more simple and successful with proven, repeatable, and reliable processes, all managed on a single platform.

Nima Badiey is the Vice President of Alliances at GitLab.