Todd Piper, Chief Information Officer at Service Express, explains the differences cloud options on the market and how a hybrid strategy can help companies support their digital transformation initiatives.
Working in the data center is a considerable undertaking for IT professionals. It’s not always setting up computers, downloading software, or completing service tickets. IT leaders are responsible for maintaining uptime, budgeting, security and so much more. This year has seen a shift in priorities, changing the road map for IT teams. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start accelerating digital transformation. According to Twilio, 97% of executives believe the pandemic sped up their digital transformation projects.
In some cases, a six-year roadmap was completed in months or even weeks. Many companies had to switch to same-day delivery, telemedicine or curbside options to continue serving their customers. As IT teams have pivoted to supporting work from home and enabling process improvements via web-based technologies, businesses need to invest in new resources that advance this transformation.
This is where rethinking your infrastructure strategy comes into play. Before making the next move, you need a well-thought strategic plan. When it comes to your company’s network, do you know if on premises, private, or hybrid is right for your business? The first step is to establish a thorough understanding of the business requirements and then evaluate the on-premises platforms available to meet those needs.
When considering the size and scope of your company’s needs, the business impacts and the timing of implementation expected, you may need to adopt several data center services. Let’s take a closer look at the two primary cloud options – public and private.
Public cloud, otherwise known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), is owned and operated by a third-party provider and is open for company use. Public clouds save companies from the expensive cost of purchasing on-premise equipment. Organizations use public cloud when they subscribe to Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Google Workspace, Adobe and Shopify. When your organization has remote access, the application is available from any or device. Companies offering public cloud-based services include Google Workspace, SAP, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
In comparing public cloud to public transportation, Erik Anderson points out that buses and subways are typically used by those who do not own a vehicle. The public transportation model may limit your options for non-stop departures, but the trade-off is that by paying only when you board, your costs are lower than owning a vehicle yourself. Depending on the type of storage, networking and capacity you’re looking for, you’ll find reasons to use or avoid public cloud.
Private cloud can also be understood as a “single-tenant solution.” This is when a company owns and operates its servers or leases servers from a third-party company. Like public cloud, a private cloud can host a series of SaaS applications. Private cloud gives customers the benefit of accessibility and the flexibility to customize their infrastructure to meet business demands. Private cloud offers more control over security parameters since all efforts are managed in-house or outsourced to a security provider.
On-premises or “on-prem” refers to the data centers companies create and maintain onsite. With on-premises data centers, your team is in complete control. Every resource is owned, managed and maintained in-house. Managing the data center makes sense for medium to large companies due to the increased control, convenience and customization.
Although various reports have projected a decline in on-prem data centers, this is far from reality. Spiceworks analyst Peter Tsai says, “While many workloads are shifting to the cloud, on-premises server hardware continues to be vital to the workplace, and the vast majority of businesses plan to buy servers for the foreseeable future, even if they’re also taking advantage of the cloud.” If companies continue to keep and maintain their hardware on-premises, third-party maintenance providers like Service Express can help you prioritize initiatives, cut costs and save time in the data center.
A hybrid strategy is a mixed computing environment that includes on-prem and cloud (private or public) platforms. This strategy allows companies to scale computing resources and eliminates the need to make capital expenditures to handle short-term spikes in demand. The hybrid approach gives companies the flexibility, control, security and scalability they need in changing business environments. Instead of purchasing new equipment to increase capacity, companies can use the cloud to house information and invest in new equipment when it’s critical.
Choosing the Right Option
Despite the immense challenges companies continue to face, accelerating digital transformation is imperative for IT departments in the months and years ahead. Before tackling these initiatives, IT leaders need to revisit their infrastructure strategy to ensure capacity, productivity and save valuable OpEx budget dollars. Take the time to listen to experienced IT partners to learn more and help you determine which solution delivers the most value and flexibility for your business.
To keep up with the pace and volume of ongoing demand, companies must adopt new and transformative measures to reach their customers or maintain business operations. Investing in the right infrastructure is critical to finding a way to resiliency. IDC estimates the world’s data will increase around five times its current size by 2025. Finding new ways to help your business meet demands will create a sustainable strategy that ensures long-term success.
Todd Piper is Chief Information Officer at Service Express.