By Muhammad Firdaus, Product Consultant, ManageEngine
Only a few decades ago, dial-up modems were the norm when trying to access the internet; now, the internet is at our fingertips, always just a click away. Along with this change, many significant IT trends have emerged in the last few years, one of them being the cloud. Like many buzzwords, there’s a lot of excitement and confusion surrounding the term. So, what exactly is the cloud?
The cloud is an IT environment that abstracts, pools, and shares scalable resources across a network. It enables the delivery of on-demand computing services, from applications to storage and processing power. In the last decade, cloud computing has matured on several fronts, and more companies have been changing their strategies as the pressure to move to the cloud increases.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the global cloud computing market is expected to grow to $832.1 billion by 2025. Public cloud spending in eight major Asia Pacific (APAC) economies — Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — is growing at a quicker rate than in the United States and Western Europe. In the Philippines, analyst firm GlobalData reports that cloud opportunities are expected to surge in the country as enterprise spending on cloud services is anticipated to grow from $1.8 billion in 2020 to $2.6 billion in 2024.
With that in mind, now seems like a good time for businesses to switch to the cloud. However, before deciding to migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud, IT leaders need to build a solid business case for doing so.
For instance, in 2008, media streaming giant Netflix had a critical incident when the company pushed a piece of firmware to the disk array that corrupted its database. It took three days for Netflix to recover from this incident, eventually pushing the management team to make the decision to move to the cloud. Another example is Swire Coca-Cola, a division of the Hong Kong- and London-based diversified conglomerate. The company was having challenges scaling the business and adjusting quickly to rapid changes in the market due to its legacy IT architecture. To respond to the demands of the business, Swire Coca-Cola shut down three of its on-premises data centers and migrated all its business systems to the cloud.
The cloud provides reliable IT resources that give companies the flexibility to scale up or down according to their needs while keeping costs at a minimum. Per the examples above, two important factors should be considered when building a business case:
- Understand what the existing infrastructure actually costs
Some expenditures include the costs of running data centers, leased lines, and servers; the details of specifications like CPUs, cores, and RAM; and the cost of storage. IT teams need to calculate the cost of applications and, depending on which option is more cost-efficient, the company can let go of the existing data centers, rehost in the cloud, rebuild for the cloud, or buy a Software as a Service package. Each option has different cost implications. Other costs such as having a dedicated IT team to manage the infrastructure should also be considered. In addition, without the option to shop around and work with other providers, vendor lock-in for existing infrastructure can be limiting and costly for the business.
- Decide which cloud system is best for the organization
Companies should decide carefully which system is applicable to their needs. Whether it’s on-premises cloud, hosted cloud, or hybrid cloud, the choice depends on the needs and goals of the company as determined by its business case.
- On-premises cloud
An on-premises cloud environment needs to have its own data center to host a cloud server, and internal IT teams to manage and have complete control of the infrastructure, security, database, and server configurations. All costs and responsibilities related to the maintenance of the server are handled by the organization. An integrated alert management solution is recommended to ensure that all systems are monitored.
- Hosted cloud
Because cloud providers offer server hosting in their data centers and companies only need to pay for the software, a hosted cloud environment is a cost-efficient option. However, while this is a managed service, updating security patches and overall network security still rests on the internal IT teams. Security teams should consider deploying a comprehensive unified endpoint management solution to control, access, secure, and patch all enterprise endpoints and assets from a central console.
- Hybrid cloud
Many companies use a mix of on-premises and hosted cloud solutions to manage their data and disperse information to other locations. This is recommended for organizations looking to add applications or mobility to their current on-premises system. With a hybrid cloud setup, a consolidated performance monitoring solution can help keep an eye on both the public and private cloud and accomplish log management.
Cloud migration is great for fast-growing startups looking to scale up quickly, but it’s also worth asking if changing the existing infrastructure aligns with the strategies of the company. Before rushing to the cloud, it’s best to consider the variables, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the option that most benefits the business.