Transition to the Cloud or an IT-as-a-Service model is a natural evolution for most organisations. The benefits of on-demand scalability, reduced capital costs, more flexible access options, reduced operational overheads, and greener IT - to name a few - are very attractive. However, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the new models.
Tech Effect will simplify the discussion and help answer questions like:
- What does the Cloud offer?
- So why move to the Cloud?
- Is the Cloud right for my business?
- What is the difference between private, public and hybrid Clouds?
- What are the appropriate services/systems to transition?
- What do I need to consider?
- How do I get to the Cloud?
- What will I have to manage?
Cloud is a core focus for our business as market demand has increased and offerings have matured to be enterprise ready. We’ve invested heavily in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to assist our clients plan, design, and transition to the Cloud. In addition, our Managed Services offerings have been enhanced to cover the management of Cloud contracts and solutions for our clients.
Some of the solutions that we’ve architected on the back of Cloud Services, such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure Platforms include:
Backups are, traditionally, a major ‘friction point’ for our clients. They struggle with the legacy backup model of storing critical data on physical media (tapes), and needing to store data offsite in specially equipped environments, to ensure longevity.
Cloud Backup allows for the same critical data to be stored on highly available and redundant, low cost storage platforms accessed from the public cloud, such as Windows Azure. Cloud Backup is either an addition to or a total replacement of the on premise tape.
Having a Disaster Recovery (DR) capability is a complex and costly endeavor for our clients. Yet, regardless of the size of the company, the heavy reliance on IT means that just about everyone has to have some form of DR. The main issue is the high cost of procuring, configuring and maintaining IT systems which are only ever expected to be used infrequently i.e. in the event of a disaster.
The key benefits that Cloud Services bring, such as scalable, pay on demand infrastructure, make using the Cloud for DR very attractive. With Cloud Services, backup and recovery assets can be easily accessed and initiated in case of a disaster. Options for using cloud services for DR functions can range from having backups for key systems (such as replicating SQL databases to the cloud) through to hosting complete DR replicas of existing on premise virtual machines.
Cloud Messaging & Collaboration
Messaging & Collaboration are some of the ‘low hanging fruits’ when considering services to transition to the Cloud. Delivered through Microsoft’s Office 365 Platform, it provides our clients with access to Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office Web Apps through a service, hosted and managed by Microsoft.
The service offers additional features such as spam & malware protection, data leak protection (DLP), compliance & ediscovery, and unlimited archiving. With the increase in user mobility, Cloud Messaging and Collaboration makes sense for many organisations.
Managing Test/Dev environments is a struggle for many of our clients. Aside from the overhead of the additional infrastructure (compute, storage, virtual server etc) required, many Test/Dev environments are poorly managed, using out of date and unpatched systems that can often hold copies of confidential data.
The utility pricing approach, and flexibility, that Cloud offers is perfect for Test/Dev environments.
Developers can create new instances of machines as needed and decommission machines when no longer required – all without the need to purchase any new infrastructure. And, it’s immediate - so there’s more time to develop.
Cloud Infrastructure delivers compute, storage, and virtual server resources as a service – also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The benefits of on-demand scalability, reduced capital costs, more flexible access options, reduced operational overheads, and greener IT are very attractive.
There are many considerations that need to be taken into account, including:
- Access and identity management
- Network bandwidth & resilience; and
- Appropriate support models
Connecting to the Cloud is not without challenges. There are many considerations that require attention in order to ensure the delivered services run efficiently and effectively. Considerations including:
- Bandwidth requirements (upload and download)
- Link resilience
- Link Optimisation; and
Tech Effect can assist design and implement the appropriate connection to the Cloud – without the network Cloud is inaccessible.