Is it finally time to move your data center to the cloud and accrue the benefits that come with cloud operations? These benefits of moving all or part of your operations to the cloud cannot be ignored; cost, scalability, higher redundancy, and flexibility of operations.
However, moving to cloud services must be done in the right way to realize these benefits. Potential risks include business operations, data security, performance, and service delivery. A wrong move can have disastrous financial and legal consequences. There is also the risk of a damaged brand reputation.
A competent IT relocation services provider is needed in planning and executing the migration. You will have a better insight into evaluating the benefits and risks of different options available. These options are picked in the light of these three top considerations;
#1 What kind of IT relocation is to be implemented?
There are different models of IT relocation that come with varying degrees of ease in execution;
- The conventional migration involves moving IT assets (hardware and software) to another physical location.
- Full cloud migration involves moving your entire data center IT assets to the cloud. You will then be fully dependent on cloud-based software apps, hardware, and networking.
- Hybrid migration is a mixture of the two other models. You could move apps to the cloud, for example, and maintain the physical networking infrastructure.
There is also the issue of the duration to complete the migration. There are two ways to go about it;
- Shutdown and reboot – This is where you shut down the data center, migrate, and then power up again. It can be done over the weekend, or at a maximum of 3 days. This is a clean break that comes with high rewards and high risks.
You stand to realize the benefits of cloud operations immediately. But this is very disruptive. Your clients will not access services for the duration that you shut down. This can expose you to legal suits and damage your brand. This way of migrating to the cloud is more suitable for small data centers.
- Phased migration – This is where you migrate your IT assets to the cloud over an extended duration of three or six months. Some large operations can take up to a year to move.
The biggest advantage of a phased IT relocation is that you have the time to experiment and perfect. It gives you time to plan, design, and execute over several cycles such that you get what works best for your client and industry demands.
The obvious disadvantage is that you continue tolerating the old inefficiencies over the migration period. This continues to expose your operations to the risks that you are trying to run away from.
#2 What cloud service level is needed?
Cloud computing services cost according to the level of services you require. This, in turn, depends on the level of service you need. The commonly available service levels are;
This service allows access to software apps over the internet. It is the oldest and most demanded cloud service. High bandwidth speeds have enabled ease of use for all kinds of software including Operating Systems. SaaS allows installation, configuration, and uninstallation of the apps.
SaaS is accessed through web browsers or client programs. The biggest advantage of SaaS is machine independence. You can access the software from any authorized machine anywhere with internet access.
SaaS enables the use of networked apps such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Management Software (CRM). This software can be deployed seamlessly in a short time for global operations even by small startups. Examples of SaaS include Microsoft 365, Google Suite, and Salesforce.
This service allows you to rent IT infrastructures such as servers, Virtual Machines, storage, and networking infrastructure. You can customize these virtualized resources, for example, the storage space size.
IaaS operates just like physical hardware. A low spec Virtual Private Server (VPS), for example, will lag when you try to run a memory-intensive app on it. An IT relocation service will advise on the appropriate infrastructure resources matching the needs of your resource center.
IaaS is suitable when the cost of buying, running, maintaining, and upgrading IT hardware is not economically viable. Other considerations that raise the need for IaaS include physical security and locational flexibility demands.
IaaS is very suitable for resource-constrained operations such as startups. It allows saving on infrastructure costs. You also get the flexibility to allocate more resources as the data center operations grow. Examples of IaaS include Google Computing Engine, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure.
Other two service levels that may or may not be relevant to a data center are;
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)- This is a service that offers developer tools such as database management, OS, emulators, and coding platforms. PaaS is helpful in building, testing, and updating software apps.
- Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)- This service depends on triggers to allocate resources to keep costs low.
#3 What Type of Cloud Service Deployment is Preferred?
Where will your IT assets be hosted? Who will have access to these assets? How easy is IT relocation from one cloud service provider to another? These are some of the questions that help you figure out the kind of cloud service deployment you need. They include;
- Public cloud service
This is where you share the services and infrastructure with other customers. Good examples are Google and Amazon. The advantages here include low costs and massive resources. There is easy scalability, both up and down.
The disadvantages of public cloud services include rigidness in the configuration. All assets are under the control of the provider, which makes customization a bit difficult. A sudden change by the provider necessitates a sudden change on the customer’s end. There is also rigidity in transferring assets from one public provider to another.
- Private cloud service
This is where you are the sole user of the cloud service. You do not share the infrastructure. Private cloud services are usually behind firewalls. This provides obvious advantages in data security and configuration of infrastructure. You are also assured of fewer disruptions as you control the infrastructure.
But private cloud services are sometimes limited in resources. The advantages of added security and high customization translate into higher costs.
- Hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud service combines the best elements of public and private cloud services. One type of hybrid model keeps the assets behind firewalls and encryptions but is connected to the public cloud to take advantage of extra resources when needed. It offers advantages in security while allowing higher scalability. This is often called cloud bursting.
The other model keeps some assets behind firewalls and outsources the rest to a public cloud service. This separates critical and noncritical assets, maintaining high security while taking advantage of the scalability of resources.
IT relocation has to be planned carefully with a thorough look at these considerations. A competent IT relocation service should be able to offer valuable input for useful answers. a well-planned and executed move into the cloud will realize massive benefits. There is a direct positive impact on profitability, service delivery, and improved brand reputation.