What is Workload-Aware Modernization? And Why is it Critical for Running Workloads on the Right Infrastructure?

by Nic du Feu, Corporate Marketing Manager, Rackspace Technology

Modernized Cloud


While everyone talks about workloads, not everyone understands exactly what they are. Simply stated, a workload is the impact that a combination of an application and the data it uses makes on an underlying infrastructure of servers, storage and network. Choosing the right infrastructure for each workload — being workload aware — is key to cloud modernization.

Different types of applications exhibit differing characteristics, all of which need to be accommodated by the underlying infrastructure. Also, replicating the on-premises infrastructure configuration for a particular application in the cloud is unlikely to yield the anticipated cloud benefits because it is unable to take advantage of the features which will yield lower costs and better performance.

So, picking the right sort of infrastructure for each workload is key to cloud modernization.

Determining a workload’s characteristics

To ensure optimal application performance, security and cost provisioning, organizations must select the best infrastructure configuration for a workload’s specific technical characteristics.

Most organizations likely already segment their application portfolio by, for example, mission-critical applications, business applications, supporting applications and discretionary applications. Within these categories will be apps that are modern versus those that are old, which have accrued technical debt, and ones that generate differentiation for the business.

Along with these main segments, there are several additional ways to categorize the workloads:

  • Compute-intensive versus memory-intensive
  • Tightly coupled to other workloads
  • Subject to various regulatory compliance
  • Transactional and sensitive to business demand
  • Relatively constant from a resource perspective

Along with the technical specifications, when determining where to run a workload, organizations also need to consider a number of non-functional requirements. The business capabilities and outcomes an organization wants to achieve are an important starting point but other issues that need to be considered are data sovereignty, governance, resilience, networking and sustainability.

These are all variables that need to be understood and addressed during an IT modernization program involving application and data migration. Understanding the characteristics of each workload and the way the organization needs it to fulfil a business requirement is key to finding the right home for it.

Partner for success

However, even once the requirements for each workload are identified, there are still many further choices an organization will have to make.

The most obvious one is which cloud service providers to use. Which have the right combination of features, services and pricing models for each workload? Remember, one cloud might be perfect for some workloads but not others, so you are likely to need a multicloud architecture. And then there is the question of skills and expertise, with the average mid-market organization running hundreds of applications few have the range of multicloud skills and expertise available to complete a comprehensive cloud transformation program without an expert external partner.

Choosing a cloud modernization partner 

To achieve an organization’s specific business goals, most likely every application will require some element of adaptation. This might be limited to simple re-configuration, but, in some instances, it may require significant refactoring. So, it’s important to choose a partner who can deliver a range of capabilities beyond workload assessment and migrations. Ask these questions when considering third-party help:

  • Can they help you modify your applications?
  • Can they undertake a cloud native development project for you?
  • Are they able to modernize your data portfolio?
  • Are they multicloud capable?

Accelerate your workload migration

Before diving into your IT modernization program, plan a workload-aware approach by following these steps:

  1. Understand how each workload works, such as when and how often it retrieves data from storage, or how many APIs it’s servicing, and how often
  2. Add in general requirements, including security, privacy and compliance
  3. Consider the skills and expertise you have or will need and the budget that’s available for each migration
  4. Choose a cloud professional and managed services partner, such as Rackspace Technology, to help on your transformation journey.

If you want to simplify the entire process for your internal teams and accelerate your modernization program, leverage the skills of an experienced cloud transformation partner, such as Rackspace Technology.

Migration of workloads to the cloud.