It’s easy to talk about the benefits of using a cloud platform rather than in-house or colocated hardware. In 2017, few would question those benefits. But it can be challenging to see a path from a company’s current infrastructure to the cloud. Moving complex and critical legacy applications is a big step, and without executive buy-in, it’s difficult to get the ball rolling.
One of the most effective ways to get executive buy-in is with a practical demonstration of the efficiency, cost savings, and agility that a cloud platform can bestow on a company.
Even if there’s little support within a company for the migration of business-critical services to the cloud, there’s plenty of scope to move peripheral or less vital business functionality onto cloud platforms, especially those that would particularly benefit from the flexibility and elasticity of the cloud.
Once the benefits have been clearly established with these pilot or limited-scope deployments, the case for migrating larger sections of a company’s IT infrastructure to the cloud will be easier to make.
Let’s take a look at three areas where moving to a cloud platform will bring the most advantage with the minimum of potential disruption.
Development and Testing
Development and testing servers are the perfect platform to showcase the benefits of cloud infrastructure. Typically, companies already use virtualization within their own data centers to deploy ephemeral dev, staging, and testing servers, so it’s not difficult to move from deploying those servers on self-managed hardware to a cloud platform.
The big win here is that the company no longer has to house and manage the physical hardware and benefits from the expertise and economies of scale of the cloud vendor.
Big Data Analytics
Big data analytics typically involve large volumes of data with highly variable compute and storage workloads. A public cloud platform offers excellent efficiencies for variable workloads and deployments can be scaled up and down depending on current demand.
Big data applications are largely platform agnostic: they’ll run just as well on cloud servers as they do in an in-house data center, with the obvious benefit that the company doesn’t have to make a capital investment for infrastructure to support peak loads.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Virtual desktops are another application that’s relatively easy to move to a cloud platform and provides a host of easy wins for the company. Centralized virtual desktop infrastructure can be more efficiently managed and secured, offering considerable cost savings for IT and support departments.
For end-users, the experience doesn’t change substantially, the same applications and operating systems are available, but their virtual desktop environment can be accessed from any location, on any device — enhancing the company’s ability to efficiently manage office space, computers, and worker time.
Cloud adoption needn’t be a once-and-for-all process. Every company has internal services that could be made more efficient, functional, and cost-effective by moving them to the cloud.