There are many reasons your company might be considering moving your operations to the cloud. Perhaps you have an aging mainframe that is costly to maintain and repair, or you are having a hard time finding skilled people to service it. Maybe your IT team is spending more time and money upgrading hardware than innovating. Or, it could be that you are not considering a move to the cloud but are curious about its pros and cons. In this blog post, we will address common concerns about moving to the cloud so that you can carefully consider your options and make the right decision for your business.
1.What is the cloud and are there different types?
We are going to start with the basics here. Feel free to skip to the next question if this is too elementary. As Microsoft Azure explains, the cloud “is a term used to describe a global network of servers, each with a unique function. The cloud is not a physical entity, but instead is a vast network of remote servers around the globe which are hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem.”
As it is in the sky where there are different sorts of clouds, there are four different methods to deploy cloud resources. There is the public cloud that provides services and resources to the public through the internet, the private cloud that is normally hosted on-premises and isn’t shared, the hybrid cloud that shares between public and private clouds, and lastly, there is the community cloud that shares resources between organizations such as departments in the government.
2.How secure is the cloud?
This is one of the first questions we are normally asked, and it’s an important one. After all, every company has important data that forms the basis of its operations. Losing essential business information is not something any company wants to think about. With local hardware deployment, there is a comfort to resources residing locally. You have control over your data. With that responsibility comes costs and, surprisingly, risk. Your company bears the cost of holding and securing data and is also responsible for disaster planning. One benefit of the cloud is that cloud providers place assets in multiple zones, which provides your company with disaster resilience. Beyond the physical security of data, there is another concern that we all have, which brings us to our third question.
3. What about data breaches?
Local hardware also has its perks in terms of data security. Data can be encrypted at rest and in transit. Similarly to physical security, companies take on the cost and responsibility associated maintaining a data security infrastructure, including encryption keys and physical access. In the cloud, data can also be encrypted at rest and in transit but the cost and responsibility of securing your data is provided by cloud services by default.
4. Does the cloud support redundancy?
Redundancy, as you know, is an essential feature of any healthy IT system. And when your business uses local hardware and wants to add redundancy, it’s back to the “hardware” store for you. The cloud vastly simplifies the practicalities of redundancy by provisioning additional virtual resources, including automated failover and recovery capabilities.
5. Can the cloud scale easily?
Growing companies need flexible infrastructure that allows them to scale up and down with ease. If your scaling timeframe is in days to months, physical hardware can work nicely. While your company has to shoulder the cost of hardware, you control exactly how much you need. Virtual hardware can be nearly instantly and automatically scaled up to handle demand. If you are a startup or anticipate quick growth for any reason, the cloud allows you to scale up or down easily. Pay-as-you-go cloud services can also drastically reduce the costs when it comes to hardware investment.
6. Is the cloud easily maintainable?
It’s probably one of the best features of the cloud: your company doesn’t need to maintain hardware; the cloud service provider does that. Instead of having the responsibility of maintaining all server and network hardware, cloud service providers maintain all hardware as part of the hosting cost. That’s pretty nice, right?
7. How does the cloud handle load balancing?
If your company is handling load balancing in-house, you know how it works. Your company must provision and maintain additional load balancing hardware and software. In the cloud, load balancing is provided as a simple-to-configure virtual service. And, the deployment API allows hot code upgrades via load balancer.
8. How extensible is the cloud?
When we talk about extensibility, we mean the ability of your system to take growth into account. Businesses with local hardware deployment must manually change the server and software resources as the company grows and changes. Also, businesses must manage licenses and costs associated with that. With cloud services, additional services or changes to existing services are a simple matter of provisioning. Companies simply add, remove, change,or upgrade resources via the cloud services management console.
9. Does the cloud provide more or less availability than local hardware?
In the cloud, automated failover and multiple availability zones provide high availability out of the box. As mentioned above, provisioning additional resources is cheap and pain-free. Companies that deploy local hardware are dependent on their own network and server infrastructure, and any improvements to availability require a purchase of additional resources.
10. What are the total costs of ownership associated with local hardware and the cloud?
In total, when your company maintains local hardware, you bear all of the costs of hardware infrastructure and software, plus the risk and cost of any downtime or loss of availability. Depending on your industry, it could be worth it. But for many businesses, the cloud provides security, scalability, and maintainability that is cost-effective and saves time. Cloud-based costs are known upfront and can be easily scaled to accommodate usage and budgets. Also, there are no long-term commitments to hardware or software.
Fairway has extensive experience designing, developing, deploying, and managing cloud-based applications using Microsoft Azure, AWS, and other cloud-hosting environments. If you have any further questions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.