5 ways you can kick-start your journey to the cloud
Whilst digital transformation grabs all the headlines, 80% of IT budgets do little more than help keep the lights on.
Let’s face it, the Phoenix Project got it right. Enterprise IT is hard. Only there’s no whimsical Erik Reid or dogged Bill Palmer to help steer you to safety. But don’t worry, the cloud’s got your back.
Here are five ways your organisation can use the cloud to claw back some of that 80% – while freeing up your time to focus on those juicy digital transformation projects.
Let’s start with a quick win. Hands up if you use one of: Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive? You do, right?
They’re cheap, convenient and – provided you have internet access – they work. The same can be said about cloud storage. Although, rather than uploading and storing your holiday snaps, you file databases and logic.
Today organisations are generating data at an unprecedented rate. Data, which put into context, can help businesses unearth real competitive advantage – a great example of which is Genomics England; the world’s largest national sequencing project. Through pioneering analysis of NHS patient data, Genomics England wants to improve patient care for those suffering from cancer and rare diseases. Something which simply wouldn’t be possible without the cloud.
The cloud is capable of storing literally petabytes of data. And with the maintenance of upkeep of equipment now somebody else’s problem – your IT teams can focus on realising the power data analysis can provide.
2. Disaster Recovery
Second on the list is Disaster Recovery as a Service or DRaaS.
DRaaS allows organisations to dip into the cloud without putting all your eggs in one basket. Essentially you continue to operate as normal, but you replicate your production environment in the cloud. And, better still, by using industry-leading backup tools you can perform test failovers to your heart’s content.
Why is this important?
Well, according to Dunn & Bradstreet, 59% of Fortune 500 companies experience a minimum of 1.6 hours of downtime per week – outages which collectively cost UK businesses north of £12 billion each year.
And sadly, it doesn’t take long to dig up relevant examples. In January the MOJ system was brought to a standstill by a data centre network issue, British Airways suffered huge reputational damage after they were forced to ground hundreds of flights, and let’s not forget the insidious work carried out by the WannaCry attack on the NHS.
Obviously, disaster recovery services won’t prevent such issues, but they will help you recover quicker from their impact. And for those with a dated internal solution – or no solution at all – DRaaS offers the perfect opportunity to get stuck in with the cloud.
3. Cloud Bursting
Traditionally, cloud bursting is a technique used where an application is initially deployed in a private cloud environment but will then burst to the public cloud in times of peak demand. However, provided you’re certain of an application’s topology – something Bill Palmer would attest to being particularly tricky in the world of enterprise IT – this is still a viable option for services hosted in an internal data centre.
One of the key benefits to this hybrid cloud deployment model is you’ll only pay for extra computing resource as and when you need it. However, cloud bursting isn’t for everyone. Experts go as far to suggest it should only be reserved for high-performance, non-critical applications that don’t handle sensitive information. That said, if you have an application in mind that fits the bill, and resource to make the app cloud-friendly, cloud bursting could be a great way to get started with the cloud.
Unsure whether cloud bursting is for you? This article explains which apps would work well in a cloud bursting architecture.
4. Think SaaS
Why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to?
You don’t necessarily need to build and own your cloud infrastructure to reap the benefits of the cloud. We’ve taken to SaaS products like a duck to water in our personal lives – Netflix, Uber and that other company everyone always references in their PowerPoint slides – and the same can be said about the workplace too.
Fire up your work laptop you’ll be inundated with a variety of SaaS-based products – think Atlassian, Salesforce and Office365 – SaaS really is everywhere.
So, before you commission your next application build, first check whether there’s a solution already out there that can satisfy your needs. You might just end up saving yourself some heartache and a tonne of development time.
5. Cloud Hosting
Last but by no means least. Cloud Hosting can have a huge impact in terms of greater efficiencies and operational benefits.
Think about it, how much time does your operations team dedicate to patching servers, installing new equipment and managing change requests? And let’s not forget the time effort and money that’s gone into building your applications.
With enterprise IT typically responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of applications – the last thing you’d want to do is re-write them all as cloud-native apps.
Now, through cloud hosting services like UKCloud’s VMWare and Oracle solutions, you can start to realise the traditional benefits of the cloud – scalability, cost efficiencies, flexibility – without having to worry about server capacities, storage requirements and maintenance. Better still, your team now has more time to focus on those juicy IT projects I mentioned at the start ?.
Check out our cloud migration guide for more information on cloud hosting.