A cloud-centric or cloud-first mindset was the predominant approach to application modernization for years—but that mindset is shifting. Not all workloads belong in the cloud, but some benefit from the flexibility and scalability that the cloud offers. So which are they, and what makes them a good fit for the cloud?

In a Prowess and Pure Storage® global survey of 271 IT professionals, we heard which workloads IT decision-makers are moving to the cloud, which they’re moving back to run on-premises, and how hybrid-cloud strategies are helping them achieve the best of both worlds.

Here are the top five workloads we heard are doing well in the cloud and why.


1. Databases and Advanced Analytics

Why? Analytics workloads are demanding but not always consistent. These high-volume, high-compute applications need cloud elasticity the most.

According to our survey participants, databases and data analytics are supported in the public cloud most widely. Traditional analytics applications weren’t typically cloud-native. Organizations had to figure out that this needed to change, especially in the midst of digital transformations. 

Of Gartner’s top 10 trends for data and analytics in 2022, one trend highlights the need for more cloud-based AI data processing: By 2025, context-driven analytics and AI models will replace 60% of existing models built on traditional data. To be ready, organizations will need to build out better data pipelines and leverage AI cloud services. 

That means prioritizing D&A workloads in cloud migration strategies. High-compute, high-demand analytics workloads used to equate to massive investments in hardware and compute power. But these days, those traditional architectures often can’t cut it—at least, not in a way that’s scalable and cost-effective. Moving these workloads to the cloud, and even the edge, creates more real-time opportunities and less latency. Both of these are critical to engineering decision intelligence in a data-driven world.

Tip: Download Pure’s Guide to Modern Analytics and learn how a cloud-optimized storage solution can help analytics teams gain radically faster query performance and rapid insights. 

2. Backup, Data Archives, and Disaster Recovery

Why? Traditional, legacy backup and recovery solutions are increasingly inadequate for today’s modern data protection needs. Plus, backups aren’t just about storing data for a disaster—they’re meant to be flexible, fast, and available.

Cloud-based backup and recovery solutions are not only common but also critical. Today’s backup and recovery strategies require more agility and accessibility than tape or legacy solutions can provide. The cloud is a cost-efficient way to keep business-critical data safe and available with the click of a button.

Availability is key. Data backups have a variety of uses these days—not just storing data. Legacy solutions can’t offer the agility needed to get those backups out of neutral.

Moving backup and recovery workloads to the cloud is giving businesses more resilience in the face of increasing threats. As disk-to-disk-to-tape is replaced with flash-to-flash-to-cloud, cloud-native data storage environments and portable and space-efficient snapshots are the play to pull this off. It’s also a great way to address regional data security laws by migrating and duplicating parts of your stack and managing multicloud (and multivendor) strategies.

3. Dev/Test Workflows

Why? Agile DevOps teams have big demands and high standards. And they need to move fast. Moving these workloads to the cloud creates a self-service, scalable, and collaborative environment for DevOps and QA to flourish.  

As Paul Ferraro noted in a recent Pure//Accelerate® fireside chat, “There’s nothing worse than the legacy methodology of buying infrastructure. It defeats the purpose of engineering genius.” It’s why more companies are leveraging as-a-service models and moving dev/test to the cloud—to let that genius flourish.

DevOps’ IT requirements are often an issue of quantity, quality, and autonomy. Moving dev/test workloads to the cloud gives teams all of the above. Before, IT administrators were saddled with provisioning on-site resources. This led to either underutilized hardware or server capacity or too few resources. 

Moving dev/test workloads to software-defined storage and the cloud gives development teams more flexibility to spin up dev/test environments when they need them. This helps teams achieve optimal agility and productivity, run highly iterative dev/test cycles, and work in parallel. And, as development environments multiply and grow more ephemeral with containerized apps, DevOps has the scalability to spin up the multitude of end-to-end testing environments required for these projects.

Tip: We’ve seen how better technology solutions can ease friction between DevOps and database admins. The cloud and unified storage can do the same for IT teams and DevOps. Dev/test environments underpinned with all-flash storage can remove complexity while giving developers a single pane of glass to get self-service access to data sets and roll back to backups when needed.

4. Email, Collaboration, and Productivity Tools

Why? The rise in remote work and collaboration has made hard-to-access software and productivity tools a no-go in 2021. Moving them to the cloud provides access to anyone, anywhere. Plus, it offers added security and uptime thanks to providers’ SLAs and global distribution.

No IT admin wants to say, “The email server is down again.” With cloud-based software suites like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, they won’t have to. People, like applications, need to be able to seamlessly and safely share data and resources. Interconnected software in the cloud makes this easier. 

From development teams leveraging GitHub Codespaces to marketing teams accessing editorial calendars, the case for moving these workloads to the cloud is clear.

5. Back-Office Applications

Why? Core business applications like those used by human resources, finance, accounting, and supply chain logistics are outgrowing the legacy, monolith infrastructures they were once built on. 

According to the Prowess/Pure Storage report, back-office applications are the least likely to be running in the cloud, but they’re beginning to follow customer-facing applications into the cloud. 

The backbone of many enterprises used to be the heavily customized, monolithic back-office apps that defined the process. Today, these “are now sprawling with bound-together applications and a complex web of integration”—not easy to work with, or very conducive to agility and data sharing. 

“Back-office modernization is the rig that can tap into that wealth of data, enriching the business over time and revealing value levers,” notes software CEO Grant Halloran. As companies outgrow the ERP systems they heavily invested in decades ago, migration of these applications could increase. 

The critical component here is ensuring customizations made to on-premises software aren’t lost in the transition. How can you rebuild or replace these extensions in the cloud? Another critical factor is the security of the data—no matter where it’s moved or used.

The report shows that plans to migrate workloads to the public cloud will continue over the next year and a half, with hybrid environments that are more than half public cloud.

When moving workloads to a hybrid-cloud environment, there may be challenges and hurdles. When your workloads are on Pure, you can be ready for them. The key is having a single, unified view of all of these workloads, no matter where they are. With Pure1®, an AI-driven data-services platform, you get that and more.