Public cloud providers trumpet benefits of cost, flexibility and scale. But less clear is the point at which it makes sense to move workloads and applications to the cloud or whether some things are better left on-premise.

During Amazon Web Services’ annual conference in Las Vegas this week Which-50 asked some of the public cloud provider’s customers how they decide when and what to migrate to a public cloud.

Their responses suggest it is primarily about pragmatism — when public cloud delivers business value — and capability.

NAB has adopted a public cloud first strategy because it expects it to be cheaper, flexible and more conducive to delivering customer experience. But the end goal is not to move all workloads to the cloud, some will remain on-premise.

The tipping point for individual applications and workloads comes down to pragmatism, according to executive general manager, CIO at NAB, Yuri Misnik.

“I think we are very pragmatic,” Misnik told Which-50 during a customer roundtable at AWS Re:Invent.

“We will do whatever makes sense for us technology wise and business wise… We don’t have this obsession of moving stuff. We are doing it for the right reasons.”

Those reasons include consolidation, a better business case, and updating system being at end of life. “It’s not move for the sake of move,” Misnik said.

Meanwhile NIB has a similar mandate to “be entirely out of data centres”, according to the health insurance provider’s head of emerging technology Matthew Finch. However, how long that takes remains in question.

“What that timeline looks like we still need to work out,” Finch told Which-50.

“Regulators have a bit to do with that, but we don’t have any technology constraints. We are fortunate in that regard. All these systems can be made in the cloud.”

Customer solutions

AWS, the public cloud provider for NIB and NAB stressed they are endeavouring to remove any technology constraints that may be causing customers to hesitate on moving to the cloud. The message from AWS all week has been that over 90 per cent of new AWS products and services are based directly on customer feedback.

The strategy appears to be working for the public cloud giant. The latest Q3 reports show AWS is the clear leader in public cloud in all global regions.

Telco and energy provider Amaysim had to wait for the AWS to release certain features before completing its cloud migration. Peter James, the company’s head of operations, said the bulk of Amaysim’s migration occurred in 2014 and 2015.

But it wasn’t until AWS released its relational database, Aurora, that Amaysim was able to move its customer database to the cloud.

“There wasn’t a database that’s actually capable that AWS offered [at the time],” James said.

“It wasn’t until Aurora came out that we were able to actually say ok we can actually do something that is our size and our complexity, because of the legacy mainframe and data architecture that we had.”

James told Which-50 the migration strategy was, like NAB, a pragmatic one.

“It’s about being pragmatic and working out where you deliver the most business value – where do you migrate first? Then you always continue to reassess the list, where it goes and then move on from there.”

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