According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, by 2021, 94 percent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers. That means most of you reading this have either deployed workloads in the cloud – and probably even different types of clouds – or you’re strongly considering it. Cloud deployments include benefits such as:
- Better resource utilization. Instead of having your best people maintaining your IT infrastructure, you can have them focused on initiatives that drive the business forward like the IoT and data analytics.
- Lower overhead. When you deploy resources in the cloud, you eliminate the cost of maintaining an onsite data center: power, heating and cooling, janitorial services, etc. You can also eliminate much of your infrastructure maintenance costs.
- Increased availability. Ask any data center manager when the last time their systems went down, and they’ll probably be able to tell you the day, the hour, and maybe even the minute. It’s that painful. While no cloud is immune to downtime, commercial clouds tend to experience fewer outages than the average on-site data center, and their uptime guarantees include penalty clauses that provide at least some financial remuneration.
- Improved performance. Reputable cloud providers keep their hardware constantly refreshed and their systems fine-tuned, giving you better performance than you’re likely to get from the aging infrastructure in an on-premises data center.
- Tighter security & compliance. No cloud provider can make you compliant or guarantee data security. However, many providers offer more advanced security and compliance offerings that data center operators can afford to implement on their own.
Create Your Vision
The benefits of using cloud resources are many, but they aren’t automatic. To get the most from your could investment, it helps to know how your current infrastructure is performing, so you have a baseline against which you can measure any improvement. You can also use industry benchmarks. Some of these are easy to find, e.g., Ponemon Institute’s Cost of Data Center Downtime report can provide some stats on average downtime across a wide swath of businesses.
You should also do an honest assessment of where your organization stands in a few critical areas. We put together a quick checklist of questions that you can leverage to get your assessment started. You can access that here: IT Strategy Self-Assessment Quiz.
The key here is that when shopping for a managed service provider, you’ll want to look for one that can help you address the challenges you’ve identified and reach your performance goals.
Inspect to Get What You Expect
Finding a provider who can get you to the cloud is only half the battle, and maybe not even the more important half. The events that can impact your cloud deployment are too numerous to list, but here are a few examples:
- Acquire a new company (or you get acquired)
- Implement a new piece of software
- Upgrade an application
- A vendor introduces new features or patches
- A vendor stops supporting some of the features you rely on
- You migrate a legacy application to the cloud
- You add new users
- Your sales team decided to implement a new app on their mobile devices (without your knowledge)
- A new regulation or an enhancement to an existing one is introduced
- You replace some of the equipment you use to connect to your cloud
- You implement a new physical security system, cameras, alarms, etc., that connects to your systems (and uses bandwidth)
- A new variant of malware, virus, etc., is unleashed
As I said, the list could go on and on. The important point to take away from this is that any one of these can impact the performance of your cloud, and you need to constantly adapt to your cloud environment. If you’re working with a managed cloud provider, that’s one of the responsibilities they should be handling for you. And, they should be sharing that performance data with you.
I can’t emphasize that last point enough. One of the most common complaints we hear from companies that are considering switching to us is that their current provider doesn’t give them enough visibility into their system performance. (And, no, reports at the end of the month aren’t good enough!)
Make sure you ask potential cloud service providers how they will keep you apprised of the performance of your cloud. Specifically, what metrics will they use, how will they share that information with you, and how often will you see it?
At Connectria, we developed a management console called TRiA, which helps us keep an eye on our customers’ clouds and monitor system performance, security, and compliance. If we’re managing more than one cloud for the customer, we can see all of them from one console. (What some in our industry call a “single pane of glass.”) We also provide this same console to our clients, so they can see what we see. If you’d like to learn more about TRiA, you can visit our website – TRiATM Multi-Cloud Management Platform.