A move to the Cloud – what fits your business?
31 Jul 2012
David McCague, Product Analyst discusses a step to step approach when considering a move to a cloud based IT model.
We have all been inundated in the past couple of years with news stories and analyst reports around how Cloud computing will revolutionise our businesses. However, depending on your organisation size, strategy and priorities, this shift from traditional on-site infrastructure to a hosted ‘on-demand’ model may take a number of different paths and will occur at varying speeds. If you are an organisation with traditional on-site infrastructure, how would this work?
For those with established IT Departments who have already invested in hardware, licensing and maintenance, it simply doesn’t make sense from a cost-effectiveness perspective to make a single ‘rip and replace’ leap. It is much more pragmatic to look at the current estate and start to analyse which systems are coming to end-of-life or are beginning to move towards capacity. The end of a licensing agreement can also be a prime opportunity to explore other options. At this point we can then begin to draw up a ‘roadmap’ which is an excellent way to plot a short and long strategy around which areas of our Infrastructure are suited to a move to the Cloud.
For instance, a CRM system which is running on aging hardware may be a prime choice for a migration – this would save money on the capital expenditure costs needed to procure and install a new platform in house. The organisation would also benefit from extremely high uptime guarantees and choosing the correct partner would also ensure that crucial customer data is both replicated and backed up should the worst-case scenario occur.
An email system beginning to reach capacity may be starting to alarm those in IT departments who worry about quality of service as storage begins to deplete. It can also sometimes be difficult to forecast the capacity needs in an email environment due to the degree that staffing levels may fluctuate over time. Why not take the burden off a creaking email environment and begin to migrate some users to an on-demand service such as Microsoft Office 365 which will happily co-exist with on-site Exchange deployments? It offers excellent resilience as well as generous mailbox allocations and users can be setup within minutes – an excellent option for temporary or project staff whose ‘per month’ licenses can be removed and reallocated as needs dictate. In this way, much more value can be obtained from hardware and software already purchased while providing the company with essential added flexibility as it reacts to market changes.
As we see in the examples above (of which there are many more!), a move to the Cloud may not be an ‘at-once’ move for organisations in the ‘traditional’ mode. It can however be planned and executed over time to help drive a return on investment on existing infrastructure, provide relief to IT departments struggling to meet user demand and also help negate the need for the same levels of capital expenditure on IT – money which can be reinvested elsewhere to help your business grow.
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Author: David McCague, Product Analyst, Northgate Managed Services