10 lessons on the journey to the public cloud - Part 2: Why go to the public cloud?
In part one of our blog series on the journey to the public cloud, we took an introductory look at what it might mean to move to the cloud, and how Virtual Clarity helps clients understand the challenges ahead and identify the obstacles within their organizations.
Our experts, based on decades of experience, have pulled together ten helpful lessons for those considering the cloud. Let’s look at the first five, where we think about why we should go to the public cloud.
Lesson one: Operate at the speed of your business
The most obvious reason to choose public cloud is if you need your IT to respond at the same rate as your business. You might well have barriers that inhibit your speed to market. Bureaucratic cost controls for infrastructure, for instance, can require a lengthy approvals process, with a back-and-forth on rationale, cost and time to implement, second guessing those at the coalface - even for nothing more than a new server. Cloud removes traditional bottlenecks. Your developers can build infrastructure as code, spinning up the resources they need, giving access to a new server in minutes. The cloud process is shorter, and technology is delivered faster.
Lesson two: Meet spikes in demand
Many businesses have large peaks and troughs in demand for their services, which leads to peaks and troughs in demand for infrastructure. This is where cloud offers a real cost advantage, as you dial up and down what you use, paying for and consuming what you need, when you need it. Too many businesses are stuck with either insufficient capacity at peak times (think of the Black Friday sales) or investing in something that is under-used but with no opportunity to recoup costs; accounting infrastructure, for example, is often sized for month-end or year-end processing, and sits idle the rest of the time. In the case where a bank on the west coast of America may be required by regulations to provide geographical resilience in case of a catastrophic earthquake, it meant either building and owning an expensive data center with physical servers on the east coast, or considering a much lower cost, basic infrastructure in the public cloud, ready to expand on demand.
Lesson three: Avoid traumatic capital expenditure
If a business is about to have a really material cost event – such as merging with another company or needing to add expensive capacity to a $300m data center – this is a compelling and obvious reason to look at public cloud services. “The cloud is moving up a layer in the technology stack: with a few exceptions, you get no value out of being the best at racking servers or picking Dell over HP,” says Avi Deitcher, Principal Consultant. “It’s a waste of your energy, a distraction and CapEx you don’t need. You will not differentiate yourself by being better at cable and servers; those are commodities.”
Lesson four: Challenge the disruptors
Competition is the obvious push: consultancy McKinsey’s research on using the cloud for IT modernization estimates that companies that really transform their operations with the help of public cloud reduce their IT overheads by 30% to 40%, reduce incidents by up to 70% and drastically improve business flexibility. Chris Buckley, Lead for Modern Platforms, says, “for you to benefit most from cloud transformation, clients need to rethink their approach to IT operations and it’s a big change to their business. “After all, competitors ‘born’ in the digital age, with no legacy of outdated IT platforms, already have this 21st century set-up. They can move more quickly, so you need to level the playing field”.
Lesson five: Know the limitations of public cloud
Cloud isn’t for everyone. Companies dealing in time-sensitive, high frequency trading, for instance, might use specialized hardware and hosting companies to connect to markets in nanoseconds; public cloud may not be the right choice for this. “There are cases where you are so sensitive to consistency and latency, or to hardware type, that you have to run your own,” says Deitcher. “Cash Equities trading is one example; in live markets trading where nanoseconds matter, cloud isn’t an obvious fit.”
Watch out for part three of the series, in which we look at the last five lessons and consider what is holding your organization back from adopting a public cloud strategy. For more information on how we can help, contact email@example.com.