The clouds are rolling in: Three reasons to take the cloud plunge in 2018

In the past year, cloud technologies have dominated the headlines; not just the major players, but new and emerging platforms that promise to become mainstream in the very near future.

As more and more enterprises seek out the capabilities a cloud solution can provide, including data distribution, improved performance and controlled costs, we can anticipate this trend will only continue into the new year. This is apparent by the thousands of companies who already have a fully-baked cloud strategy in place or have one in the works. According to IDG’s 2016 Cloud Computing Survey, cloud technologies are now used by at least 70 percent of U.S. businesses, and Gartner predicts 90 percent of organisations worldwide will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities within the next two years.

Still, whether private, public or a hybrid mix of cloud computing models, there are many organisations who have yet to fully take the leap. So, let’s look at three compelling motivations for businesses to implement a cloud strategy in 2018.

Motivation #1: Reducing operational overheads

Most companies fail to realise the total cost of IT ownership, such as support, additional hardware, maintenance, etc. In fact, Gartner’s 2017 IT Budget reveals that healthcare companies often spend nearly 75 percent of their IT budgets on maintaining internal systems alone.

Since cloud services operate on a subscription model, companies only pay for their usage over time, preventing IT teams from spending all their budget at once. Moving to the cloud means a decrease in rack space, power usage and IT requirements, which results in lower installation, maintenance, hardware, upgrade and support costs. It also gives IT teams time to focus on building the business in more progressive ways instead of becoming bogged down by maintenance and support tasks.

Motivation #2: Increasing control and flexibility

Many enterprises that are growing at a fast-pace are often face a bottleneck when all operations are kept on-premise. By using a hybrid approach, data centre managers and IT teams alike can enhance innovation and create new systems that can scale and grow as demand increases, while providing the necessary flexibility to turn these cloud environments up, down, or off depending upon circumstances or needs.

Through a single network that connects an on-premise data centre to several cloud environments, companies can effectively manage both standard and critical workloads to move the business strategy forward.

Motivation #3: Boosting your data centre’s security

With a growing number of companies moving to the cloud, security measures are evolving to account for this growth, pushing providers to offer higher levels of security and data integrity. However, with the shifting role of IT in business now spanning strategic planning, revenue generation, efficient management of resources, and advancing innovation, organisations have little time for such comparatively mundane tasks.

It’s important to realise that the cloud is no less secure than servers managed internally by most companies. In fact, there’s a very good chance that these cloud infrastructures are more secure. By storing data in the cloud, businesses will be able to securely and remotely access this data from any location or device, as well as manage any potential breaches, including deleting or moving sensitive data at risk in real-time.

Now that we understand several compelling reasons why more companies will move their data to the cloud and experience the value it brings to their organisations, such as a reduction in operational overhead, increased control and flexibility, and boosted data centre security, let’s briefly examine how IT staff can best utilise a mixed cloud strategy to reach a company’s full data potential.

By providing greater visibility and real-time insight into power usage, thermal consumption, server health and utilisation, cloud infrastructure tools help IT teams better understand how their cloud is performing. Whether an organisation’s cloud computing model is private, public or hybrid, the major benefits are improved operational control, infrastructure optimisation and reduced costs.

Especially as a business transitions from private to public or hybrid clouds, an organisation’s IT staff needs to understand how its systems perform internally. Understanding the needs of its mission-critical applications — including memory, processing power and operating systems — should determine what to provision in the cloud. By collecting and normalising data to help IT staff better understand their current implementation on-premise, cloud infrastructure tools enable them to make intelligent decisions concerning the requirements of a new cloud configuration.

Cloud infrastructure tools can also identify idle or under-used servers. These so called “ghost servers” can draw as much as half the power used during peak workloads. At any point in time, 10 to 15 percent of servers can fall into this category. Hence, cloud infrastructure tools can assist data centre managers to consolidate and virtualise these servers to avoid wasted energy and space, which is essential in a hybrid cloud environment.

Additionally, given that energy costs are the fastest-rising expense for today’s data centres, cloud infrastructure tools deliver real-time power and thermal consumption data, providing IT staff with the clarity needed to lower power usage, increase rack density and prolong operation during outages.

There’s no question that hybrid infrastructure creates new challenges for IT staff. By ensuring that energy, equipment and floor space are used as efficiently as possible, cloud infrastructure tools assist IT staff to optimise their organisation’s multi-cloud environment.