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Is your business too big for the cloud?

Data Center Dynamics recently hosted a panel on how the economics of compute, storage and network are evolving in the cloud era.

05 / 27 / 2020
3 minute read
Cloud and digital transformation hero

I was joined by Eric White from the Clinton Foundation, Shane Brauner from Schrodinger, and Alan Howard from OMDIA to discuss hybrid IT strategies and cloud repatriation. 

Here are my key takeaways

1. The right cloud solution can vary from application to application

It’s important to remember that not only does every business have unique IT requirements, but so does each workload. Before migrating to the cloud, IT leaders should take the time to fully understand their business’ workloads before placing all of them in a single infrastructure environment. Start by creating a cost model that evaluates the return on investment of moving each individual application, system, or other business element. The cost model should consider a multiyear run rate for production applications to accommodate how platform needs might grow. Businesses may also want to consider where and how storage needs will grow and the cost of switching platforms (i.e., exporting data) if needs change.

2. Develop a governance model upfront

The inherent tension between agility, security, and the budget can get businesses into trouble. The solution is to integrate a robust security strategy into the heart of the development and operations approach, including onboarding the right talent and putting the right governance model in place. The governance strategy should incorporate ongoing costs and capacity management to ensure resources are not being wasted.

Unfortunately, the development of a security strategy requires a skill set that isn’t available en masse yet, and staying on top of the ever-changing security landscape requires substantial time and effort. Fortunately, modern cloud solutions providers often offer highly certified security professionals who can help develop the right security strategy to suit unique business needs. Once a governance model has been developed, businesses must be diligent about following the processes and procedures. IT leaders should keep in mind that security is especially important in hybrid IT environments.

Businesses may also want to develop a governance strategy incorporating ongoing costs and capacity management to ensure resources are not wasted.

3. Highly experienced consultants can cut costs and save it leaders time

A hybrid IT model means that IT leaders must manage an infrastructure where workloads are running in several different environments. The best data center providers offer a team of highly certified technical experts that can act as an extension of internal IT resources so IT leaders can spend more time on strategic initiatives. The team can help optimize existing IT systems and determine where the business can benefit from housing a workload in a different environment. 

A data center provider that takes a consultative approach can help align the right services with the needs and requirements of specific applications. Service providers will even help design the organization's infrastructure strategy, including security, assistance with cloud connectivity and networking, and application migration to help guide the entire transformation.

4. Hybrid IT is often the best solution

The overall sentiment of the panel was that hybrid IT is often the best solution for businesses. By turning to a data center partner with a broad, end-to-end product portfolio—a mix of colocation, private cloud, and public cloud infrastructures—IT leaders can create a robust ecosystem that allows their businesses to place each workload in the infrastructure solution that best matches its unique needs—decreasing costs, improving security and end-users experiences, and supporting growth and changing business needs.

Many enterprises that placed all their workloads into a single infrastructure environment, such as hyperscale cloud platforms, have realized that a one-size-fits-all solution can be an expensive misstep. The most successful IT leaders are “boomeranging” their workloads back from an all-in hyperscale cloud model to a hybrid IT model that maximizes cost-efficiency, performance, security, and scalability.

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