Businesses working towards entire data centre rebuilds are increasingly considering cloud to ‘fill the gap’ as demands on business-critical applications creep up. Cloud solutions of this type are allowing organisations to extend legacy infrastructures until they can be re-built, upgraded, or until they take the decision to deploy more cloud computing services.
Let’s explore how cloud is bridging the gap as a temporary fix:
Avoiding a ‘floor sweep’ of the data centre
A ‘floor sweep’ of the data centre is when a company faces major capital investments in the replacement of data centre hardware: cloud can be used to mind the gap by avoiding this. Additionally, when faced with limited IT capacity, cloud can be used to support more traditional IT systems to deliver the flexibility that is required in terms of capacity. This is also known as ‘cloud bursting’, and lets companies augment their on-premise systems with short term additional capacity in the cloud.
Example: A national satellite entertainment service provider had aging hardware systems, some of which were nearing their limits or facing reduced support from vendors. The company had a mature IT group that operated its own data centre. In addition to maintaining a large corporate data warehouse, its production applications ranged across all the corporate functions, including managing a large service fleet to install and repair devices among their customer base.
The provider knew it faced major capital investments in hardware upgrades, or a “floor sweep” of its data centre. In facing a limitation in IT capacity, the company put the cloud to the test to see if it could be used to supplement traditional IT systems and provide the flexibility and capacity required.
The organisation found that the cloud was an ideal solution to the demonstrated limitation in IT capacity that it was experiencing, particularly around its needs for development and testing. In its attempt to avoid a floor sweep, the business began to get to know cloud architectures better, and could evaluate the whether the transition of its production systems to the cloud would be an efficient way to fill the gap.
As a result, the company decided to supplement its traditional IT systems with a cloud based development system, minimising a floor sweep across its entire data centre.
This is one story of many that demonstrates the cloud’s ability to bridge gaps previously left open by large scale IT transformation programmes. Therefore, when it comes to considering a full floor sweep, it’s hardly surprising that a multitude of companies are choosing to use the cloud to both plug gaps and capitalise on market opportunities in a cost-effective way.
Bridging the data centre deployment gap
For its traditional big-box data centre, the hardware purchase and installation of an equivalent system would take nearly a year to become production ready. Numerous companies facing these extended timescales have begun to consider the benefits of cloud solutions as a ‘temporary bridge’ to a future hardware purchase.
The right cloud solution can provide a company with the ability to extend the life of a critical application, enabling a medium-term bridge to continue operations and allowing the option to bring the application on-premises at a future time. This can all happen while a major data centre is being re-built, or in place of a large-scale hardware purchase.
Minding the staff gap
Even if an organisation has significant IT infrastructure on-premises, it may choose to adopt a cloud approach to deliver the desired flexibility and speed required for new initiatives. The right solution means a business will be able to avoid any impacts on the existing production environments and IT staffing: it is relatively straightforward to add and subtract cloud resources without diverting significant resources away from the day to day operations activity for the on-premise systems.
Adopting a multi-cloud structure to fill the gap
In order to deal with increasing demands on its current IT system and challenges associated with mixed workload environments, a business might look to a solution with a multi-cloud structure, with different workloads allocated to different cloud providers and technologies. For example, database management could be hosted on a private cloud behind the business’ firewall with report generation workload being run on a public cloud and sized based on reporting and processing requirements. The reporting systems could be augmented at busy month end periods with capacity reduced during alternative times of the month. This can ensure a company can support its IT operations economically with a small number of employees.
Ultimately, it’s easy to see the appeal in terms of businesses adopting cloud solutions as ‘temporary bridges’ to a future hardware purchase. In contrast to hardware installations, cloud solutions can be production ready within a matter of weeks, with the additional benefit of costing the fraction of a full re-build. Of the many companies that have successfully chosen the cloud to mind all manner of gaps, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that many find their stop gap cloud solutions rise to meet end-to-end business challenges, becoming the go-to solutions for many organisations.