Cloud App and Hybrid IT
If you read the previous blog in this three-part series, you learned about the use of colocation as a way to start moving away from server management. Let’s say you’ve now reached the point where you can let go of your server hardware — or at least some of it. It’s time to consider the cloud and creating a cloud service broker position in your organization.
Moving to the cloud replaces the capital outlay of an in-house data center with a predictable operational cost because you own no equipment. This can generate huge cost savings, especially as your business expands and contracts. Rather than purchase enough physical servers for a holiday rush, for example, your contract with your cloud service provider to add capacity when it is needed, then simply scale back the rest of the year.
You also get to take advantage of your cloud service provider’s full-time, high-volume expertise in equipment purchase, maintenance, software configuration and upgrades. This can increase your peace of mind, and save you costly mistakes and wasted time. Cloud service providers are often tightly integrated with the vendors that provide their hardware and software, enabling them to get issues resolved quickly. Because they deal with a large number of customers and their environments, they are also likely to have already seen any problem you could encounter — and already have a solution ready to deploy.
Then there is the savings that come from keeping your employees focused on building your business rather than maintaining hardware. They can focus on enhancing the customer experience, implementing emerging technologies and streamlining internal efficiencies.
The Cloud Service Broker
Once you are ready to get serious about moving to the cloud, or at least adding it to your mix of IT resources, you’ll need to determine what kind of cloud services you need: public, private, recovery or some sort of hybrid? If you can swing it, it’s a good idea to have an internal cloud services broker (CSB) role in your organization to help analyze the services, negotiate contracts and manage the disparate vendors. The individual in this role will also be responsible for the governance, management, and delivery of the various cloud services.
If your organization lacks the internal expertise or the ability to train someone as a CSB, tapping the expertise of a consultant may be worth the money. Third-party CSBs offer the objectivity to identify shadow IT utilization of public cloud services that you may not be aware of, in addition to having the expertise and experience to determine the cloud services that best meet your business requirements, negotiate contracts with vendors and oversee implementation.
Cloud Management Platform
At some point, you’re going to want control over all aspects of your IT services. That will require a tool for monitoring usage, ensuring security across platforms, detecting bottlenecks, tracking billing and more. There are numerous management platforms and hybrid cloud management software out there, each offering advantages and disadvantages. The key will be to first determine what you need and then evaluate the various systems for how they can best meet those needs. Again, reaching out to third-party experts can help.
Time to Go Hybrid
If you’ve read all the blogs in this three-part series, you likely picked up on an underlying theme: hybrid IT. When server hardware is reaching the end of its lifespan, it’s a good time to consider a hybrid IT strategy. Hybrid IT combines on-premise and off-premise IT environments, enabling companies to place their workloads where they will perform best while taking advantage of the benefits each environment offers.
To learn more about hybrid IT, take advantage of these free resources from Peak 10: