More and more businesses are making the move from traditional colocation and hosting to cloud-based solutions. But what are the biggest reasons for this mass migration? Is it security? Scalability? Cost savings?
Smart Business learned more from Christian Teeft, vice president of engineering at Latisys, about the key motivators swaying companies over to the cloud environment.
What in particular is motivating this growing interest in cloud computing?
The cloud is really a natural next step in a trend we’ve seen for years as customers evaluate the move from on-premise hosting to colocation to managed services and managed hosting — the desire to transition from capital investments to operating expenses. The more you outsource IT, the less capital intensive your business becomes. The cloud takes this one step further, giving businesses the agility to add and release IT capacity as their needs change without having to oversubscribe for peak usage. This can be a game-changer in terms of cash flow.
Secondly, in a traditional on premise or colocation environment, organizations require a full team on hand — IT personnel skilled in maintaining and optimizing their own equipment. Managed hosting and cloud solutions enable organizations to rely on the provider’s technology expertise, reducing total cost of ownership and allowing precious IT resources to focus on the business.
Does this loss of control through outsourcing keep some organizations from making the move to the cloud?
The beauty of the cloud is that it’s really more of a trade-off. When you own and self-manage your hardware, you are obviously in full control over configuration and performance. But as you outsource more and move toward the cloud, what you lose in direct control over hardware you gain in complete control over IT resources and usage. The cloud enables you to spin up and down virtual instances on demand, tailoring storage, RAM, CPUs and more in ways you simply couldn’t do cost-effectively in a dedicated environment.
How can an organization decide between private versus public cloud solutions?
In the public cloud, apps and data run on the same shared public pool of resources — available to anyone with the swipe of a credit card. This may make sense for some of your IT outsourcing. But when security and compliance matters, when workloads and applications are mission-critical, or when hands-on expertise is necessary, the private cloud often makes the most sense.
What part of an organization’s IT makes the most sense to move to the cloud?
Certain applications are clear matches for the burst-ability and elasticity cloud solutions provide: file sharing, social media, testing and development, e-mail, server virtualization and SaaS. For these types of applications, organizations should investigate how best to migrate these to a dedicated or multi-tenant cloud platform.
But there are many applications where the answer isn’t as clear-cut. Specifically, legacy enterprise commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications require significant due diligence due to the hierarchical nature of their architecture. These applications may be a great fit for the cloud, but traditional hosting may be a more ideal solution. More than ever, it’s essential for companies to carefully evaluate the costs associated with transitioning to the cloud and be realistic about what they’re trying to achieve.
What should an organization look for in a cloud service provider?
The service provider must be a strong fit with what is most important to your organization. This might be:
- 100 percent uptime and stability
- Multi-tenant isolation
- Granular control over access and traffic
- Performance analytics for smarter decision-making
- Maximum scalability with no capacity thresholds
- Modular integration that can build for the future
- Or all of the above
But they also have to have the ability to support you in the planning and migration process. The move to the cloud will be one of the most important IT decisions your organization makes. Make sure your partner has the resources, expertise and commitment necessary to make it happen.
Christian Teeft is the vice president of engineering at Latisys. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.