A cloud-centric or cloud-first mindset was the predominant approach to application modernization for years—but that mindset has begun to shift. 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 recent Prowess and Pure Storage global survey of 271 IT professionals, we heard what workloads IT decision-makers say they’re 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 5 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—but organizations have figured out that needed to change, especially in the midst of digital transformations. Of Gartner’s top 10 trends for data and analytics in 2021, one trend highlights this shift: data and analytics have finally earned a spot among core business applications. The report says, “Instead of being a secondary focus—completed by a separate team—data and analytics is shifting to a core function.”

That’s meant prioritizing these workloads in cloud migration strategies.

Analytics’ high-compute, high-demand 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, which are both critical to engineering decision intelligence in a data-driven world.

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 away for a disaster—they’re meant to be flexible, fast, and available.

In 2018, Gartner predicted that public cloud backup and recovery would double by 2020. It’s 2021, and cloud-based backup and recovery solutions are not only common, but they’re 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—and legacy solutions can’t offer the agility 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.

3. Dev-Test Workflows

Why? Agile DevOps teams have big demands, high standards, and 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. This helps them 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 datasets 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, added security and uptime thanks to providers’ SLAs and global distribution.

“The email server is down again” are words no IT admin wants to say or has to with cloud-based software suites like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. People, like applications, need to be able to seamlessly and safely share data and resources, and interconnected software in the cloud makes this easier.

From development teams leveraging GitHub Codespaces to marketing teams accessing editorial calendars in the cloud, 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 report, back-office applications are the least likely to be running in the cloud, but they are 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 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, or how these extensions could be rebuilt or replaced in the cloud. Then, the security of the data—no matter where it’s moved or used—is also paramount.

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.

In moving any workloads to a hybrid cloud environment, there will be challenges and hurdles—but you can be ready for them when your workloads are on Pure. The key is having a single, unified view of all of these workloads, no matter where they are, which you can get with Pure1.