You have certainly heard that businesses are moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud. So it’s natural to think about migrating all assets, yet few organizations actually do that. Most experts agree that moving everything in a big-bang is not the way to go. The CloudAdvantage team works with you to understand your business as a first step to determine which workloads should move and what that will mean to your business. But even before we engage, it may help to think about specific cases, such as the ones below, that are candidates to move, so that when we have the conversation you’ll come into it having given the matter some consideration.
Email - This classic SaaS application has matured. If you move nothing else to the cloud, consider this a prime candidate for early migration.
Disaster Recovery - Cloud service providers can enable redundancy and failover services as a logical use for cloud computing. Unlike traditional physical infrastructures which are idle until called to action, you can set up DR as a simple backup, a pilot light to jump start a rapid scale-up, a warm standby where key processes run in parallel, or full hot standby ready to go almost seamlessly.
File Storage & Synchronization - SMB's and Enterprises should consider industrial-strength cloud storage to help centralize data and files. Be cautious about the use of Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and OneDrive. While each has a service for business, many employees set up these file storage and synchronization services for personal use.
DevOps - For businesses becoming more digital, DevOps facilitates an environment, where building, testing, and releasing software happens rapidly, frequently, and more reliably. Some cloud service providers have made this a focus area where the infrastructure and tools to enable a transformation for your software development is greatly accelerated. Cloud environments can facilitate continuous integration and delivery, automated testing, self-service access to infrastructure, automated performance management, and infrastructure that can scale automatically.
Website Hosting - This has been one of the most common uses of cloud computing. While companies can host their websites on physical servers or single cloud servers, those with varying demand and traffic profiles can scale on demand within the cloud. This becomes a necessity as businesses enable more transactions or services within their hosted environments.
Test and Development - A major feature of the cloud is how environments can be built up, tested and torn down quickly. To see how an application performs under load, create an instance of it and load test it. Then turn it down when you are done with your testing.
Short-Term Projects - Like test and dev, the cloud offers great tools for short-term projects. If there is a need for a simple web presence for a brief period, an org can easily stand one up in the cloud, use it during that period, then tear it down (and save it potentially for later use) when done. Projects that have a short runway can immediately find success in deploying cloud environments simply because these can be up and running in minutes/hours as opposed to days/weeks with traditional hardware requisitioning.
Innovation/Proofs of Concept - Instead of having to allocate capital, an idea or concept can be built in the cloud and see if it gets the traction hoped for. Rapid prototyping is a key skill for product companies, and the rich tools available in the cloud can be used to quickly assemble a POC and rapid testing.
Burst Capacity - Scalability is one of the biggest advantages to using the cloud. If architected properly, multi-tiered environments can be set up that have elasticity in the front-end (e.g., the web and application servers) while putting larger database servers in a protected back-end. When capacity is needed to meet the demands of end users, orgs can scale out that web/application server layer and when demand is quieter, scale it back. There is no need for infrastructure to ever be under-utilized.
Analytics/Big Data - Businesses are making greater use of analytics and Big Data to find out more about their prospects and their customers. As the data grows, so must the environment that captures and analyzes it. As the Internet of Things marches steadily ahead, the cloud’s scalability is a must for Big Data, analytics, and BI. The variety of tools from cloud service providers can be used as the presentation layer for the results of analysis.
Compute-Intensive Applications - One of the benefits of cloud computing is the immediate access to high performance compute consumed on a short-term basis. Large quantities of data (as in social media or health care) can be crunched using high-performance cloud environments. What traditionally would take weeks or more to requisition, stand up, configure and use, now can take minutes or hours, especially if these cloud environments are saved for future use, and the resulting costs are a fraction of what traditional environments would be.
Global Expansion - With traditional data centers, a company must select a physical location to best serve customers. Larger cloud providers have global footprints with data centers around the world. This means that a company can set up multiple presences to better localize content, services or products. National data regulations often mean a physical presence where you do business – cloud providers can create that almost instantly.
Advertising - Advertising frequently is automated, with ads dispersed yet centrally managed behind the scenes. It is becoming more frequent to have these advertising central servers to be hosted regionally in the cloud coupled with Content Delivery Networks (CDN). Used in conjunction with Big Data, advertising has become more agile by using the cloud as their primary compute and storage resource.
Financial Services/ ecommerce - As companies become more digital and integrate value chains through demand and supply, more value and money will flow online. As businesses and consumers increasingly manage their financial data online, the cloud offers scalability to meet growing activity. While security is often cited as a concern, the cloud is usually more secure than self-managed data centers. A growing list of cloud service providers can help meet compliance needs of highly regulated industries.
Desktop as a Service - Maintaining individual workstations has always been a challenge. With the way we work requiring mobility and security to be treated as key issues, companies are leveraging the cloud to deliver a secure, consistent service to users wherever they are. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provides a high level of automation and real multi-tenancy, reducing the cost of the technology. The cloud provider takes full responsibility for hosting and maintaining the compute, storage, and access infrastructure, as well as applications and application software licenses needed to provide the desktop service for a fixed monthly fee.