Your cloud, Your journey
Cloud has emerged as a platform that has the capability to unshackle IT from the manual efforts, processes and procedures of traditional legacy environments. It does this by creating highly secure, highly automated and highly agile hybrid environments designed for IT ease, management and accountability.
If your organization is just starting your cloud journey, the incentive is likely your need for greater agility and efficiency. And you need to enhance your ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions and scale up (or down) at a moment’s notice.
Cloud computing certainly has many benefits. If architected and deployed the right way with the right partner, cloud gives you greater flexibility, agility and control of your IT. It is typically more cost-effective and is often used in a hybrid solution with hosted, collocated and traditional on-premises IT infrastructure.
But let's clear up something first: Contrary to many discussions in the market, the cloud is not just one journey, but many.
Instead, think of the cloud as part of your mission-critical business strategy that is ever-evolving to drive your digital transformation. With many different IT deployments, you must shift and adapt in ways that make sense for your business. And as you optimize your IT environment, the cloud will also take new shape.
The cloud is not a destination
Your workloads and apps move at different times, to different endpoints or cloud platforms and as a result, your cloud journey is multiple journeys with multiple destinations.
As technologies change and new ones emerge, new destinations become available — empowering your business to transform. Some of your cloud journeys will end. Other journeys will start.
No matter where you are on the journey, there are many reasons why any organization would embrace cloud, among them the ability to decrease capital costs, reduce operational IT costs, gain a competitive advantage, be more agile, boost IT efficiency and last but not least, accelerate digital transformation.
According to industry research firm IDC, digital transformation will soon reach macroeconomic scales. By 2021, at least 50 percent of the global GDP will be digitized, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations and relationships.
Collaboration and access to information is key. Brainstorming a new idea or business concept - then testing it and rolling it out in weeks, days or even hours is the pace that business innovation is occurring at today. Cloud is the enabler of this new speed of innovation.
Evaluating your cloud options
If your business is typical, you likely will not migrate everything to the cloud, and certainly not in one move. You will keep some of your compute, storage and network resources on-premises and host some of them in the cloud in a hybrid IT environment.
Hybrid IT environments feature two or more of the following infrastructure options:
- On-Premise: This is the traditional deployment model in which end users employ an IT department to manage IT assets — hardware and software — owned by the company. Apart from firms born in the cloud, virtually 100 percent of businesses use this deployment model.
- Colocation: The practice of using a third-party data center for the housing of servers and other IT devices is called colocation. End users retain ownership of the servers, but use the building, connectivity, power and security services of specialized providers.
- Hosting: In this deployment model, vendors not only provide the data center facility, security, power and cooling, but also the servers and required storage. This allows for a high degree of customization and control, with predictable costs. It also provides access to managed services to look after your infrastructure, network, operating systems, hypervisors and databases.
- Connectivity: Network connectivity must be a pillar of a hybrid solution. The ability to move data efficiently and securely across a hybrid environment and achieve the low latencies necessary to unlock the full potential of cloud is vital.
The value of having a guide along on your journey
A good partner helps you manage your journey to the cloud by helping you make sense of complex hosting environments and connectivity deployments.
A proper partner also helps you prepare for and then migrate applications and data from on-premises to public, private or hybrid cloud. It can assess options and help you determine the right platforms for each workload – cloud or otherwise.
Further, your cloud partner can provide expert project management and help you plan and execute the migration of data and applications to a new environment, ensure compliance requirements are met and security is tight, and then be able to handle the ongoing management once it is live.
In summary, cloud is about leveraging the power of network and IT assets to their maximum effect; however, this potential brings complexity with it. Whether it is private cloud (on-premises or hosted in a data center), public or hyperscale – important decisions will need to be made around IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
What it comes down to is this: There are many paths in the cloud, and unmitigated complexity can, and will, impede decision-making.