Public or private? What’s the best cloud option for your business? Part 2

July 17, 2017 Srini CR

My recent post discussed what companies should look for when deciding between different cloud options. Here I look at some of the other issues that should be taken into account when migration to the cloud is being considered. 

Cookie cutter or customised?

If a public cloud is chosen as the best way forward, and if the number of applications and volume of data is small, the process can be simple. But often for medium-sized and large enterprises, cloud migration is a complex process that takes time, so they seek the support of a systems integrator or another type of technology partner. Here, the seamlessness of the migration itself, and especially the on-boarding process that follows, is critical. In fact, the lack of adequate on-boarding, whereby the enterprise is left in its own devices after the migration, can be a major cause of dissatisfaction for CIOs.

For large organisations with operations spread across geographies, hundreds of employees per line of business and rapidly evolving business demands, the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all nature of a public cloud can be too inflexible. While a customised private cloud takes longer to implement, it is an investment that more and more organisations are willing to make, given the scalability benefits it brings and the control it gives to the CIO. By working with the right private cloud partner, the CIO is also able to adopt a step-by-step approach to the cloud migration journey, moving applications and lines of business to the new IT set-up one by one to ensure a smooth migration.

Dealing with disruption in different clouds

Given the way in which cloud applications have permeated all lines of business – finance, CRM, legal, marketing and HR – and the way in which all employees rely on anytime, anywhere access to cloud-based data, any issues can easily snowball into a major disruptive incident if not dealt with in a timely fashion. While different cloud types have a lot in common, arguably they differ the most when it comes to how quickly a disruption in each type of environment is likely to be solved.

With public clouds, the cloud provider is fully in charge of managing all aspects of the infrastructure and ensuring that customers have 24/7 access to applications and data. In most cases these cloud providers have huge resources and teams, all dedicated to sticking to their SLAs, keeping the cloud up and running and safeguarding revenues for the business.

When it comes to internal private clouds, it’s up to the enterprise to fully manage it. So, the organisation’s own IT team is in charge of investigating the causes for any downtime, breaches or other issues and then coming up with a solution – hopefully with minimum negative impact on employees, customers and other stakeholders. However, while a private cloud self-managed by the enterprise gives it complete control over the entire cloud infrastructure, many enterprises don’t have the resources to deal with issues as quickly as needed. In addition, in some cases the internal IT team can be so far down the pecking order that they might not have the impetus to solve problems with the required urgency. They have no SLAs to comply with either, so, depending on the size and expertise of the IT team, it can take some time before the issue is solved and the private cloud is up and running again.

That is why companies opting for a self-managed, internal private cloud should always consider the following questions: how long can our employees and customers we cope with cloud downtime? How long can we afford to wait until any issue is resolved? Do we have the IT staff and budget to ensure quick recovery from any issues that might arise? To ensure that any issues can be resolved before they even lead to downtime, many organisations are now moving to fully-managed private clouds. This gives them access to a public cloud-like army of IT experts 24/7 while ensuring that the CIO maintains maximum control over the IT infrastructure, as well as the security and sovereignty of data and applications.

Cloud migration is a complex issue, especially for those enterprises that want to manage their IT set up as one. Those businesses looking to make the move should consider partnering with a private cloud provider that is able to give them 360-degree visibility and control over this critical infrastructure. However, a successful migration is only the start. With the right partner, the CIO is able to harness the new, hybrid cloud infrastructure for new digital transformation initiatives across the organisation – today and in the future. After all, in today’s digital world fuelled by data, the IT infrastructure is the growth engine of the enterprise.

Read more of Srini’s thoughts on the topic of cloud computing.

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