Karen Griffith, Practice Lead, Cloud Solutions EMEA has over 15 years’ experience in the IT industry. She and her highly skilled technical team work with customers within the full lifecycle of Cloud Services, from the initial asset discovery, pre-sales including POT’s and POC’s, to the Cloud Strategy and Architecture Services and on to the cloud migration, transformation and automation services
Migrating to the Cloud is not a new concept and yet is by no means a declining one. Cloud migration means different things for different groups, whether business users or the IT technical team. On the surface, the drivers for migration appear the same, however the value cloud brings to various parts of the organisation can be very distinct.
First, let’s consider the natural evolution of IT as one of the main drivers. Most IT teams we work with have a desire to remain focused and up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques and processes to streamline costs and improve efficiency around everyday tasks, all whilst serving increasingly demanding business needs. The business itself wants to focus on core activities. Therefore migrating IT infrastructure to a cloud IaaS is a natural step.
In May 2011, in a statement on the Network World blog, Jim Honerkamp, CIO of Steel Technologies said, “Infrastructure does not differentiate us in any way, shape or form in the marketplace. To be a strategic IT organization, you have to be delivering value in technology tools, either to strengthen customer relationships or to be used as weapons against the competition.” Although that's an old statement now in the IT world, it’s still relevant and very much applicable.
Operational expenditure verses capital expenditure is another driver for migration. Businesses enjoy moving away from expensive and cumbersome processes of buying and managing hardware to the cleaner and predictable operating expense model, which for many, means a monthly manageable cost, allowing finance teams to improve budgeting and forecasting accuracy. Gone are the days of worrying about hardware depreciation and the expense of employing highly skilled engineers or consultants to ensure the hardware and software is kept up-to-date and managed. Companies pass the overhead and pain of hardware replacement to the cloud providers. Moving to the outsource model both in terms of employee resource and services delivers further cost savings.
The integrated approach to service and system design is another prime driver. Successful companies are excelling at the use of these new cloud platforms, which provides a common approach for application integration of services, data, security, identity and management. This integration approach brings with it benefits of evolving middleware software that enables easier management of software stacks with flexibility to deliver changes more frequently and faster. At Avnet, we see the integrated approach as being one of the main drivers and as such developed TALOS, a tool that enables businesses to automate configuration changes and application deployments across both commercial and open source middleware platforms. The TALOS tool helps companies move towards improving performance, efficiency and lower costs by automating deployment of the full software development lifecycle. Learn more about TALOS.
In the past businesses of all sizes have had challenges and difficulties over the management of hardware and infrastructure to handle peak demands. For example, retailers have several peaks and troughs throughout the financial year, something that has always been an expensive challenge for those managing their own hardware. Migrating to the cloud and the drive for scalability is becoming increasingly important as the markets become more competitive. The flexibility and agile nature of the cloud services means businesses no longer need to overcome such challenges resulting in both time and cost savings.
The speed companies and their IT departments need to react to changes in the market is, for some, the most important driver in moving into a Cloud IaaS. Historically, the time taken to purchase, install and configure services and systems has been recorded in weeks or months. Now, we are looking at cloud service providers spinning up services in a matter of hours, hence the belief that speed is one of the prime drivers. A more important factor is the ability to release these resources at the end of a new project and or peak in services, thereby removing such costs from the books. These opportunities didn’t exist in the old world as liquidating newly provisioned systems was not easy. When you take into account the speed and flexibility that cloud providers offer, it’s easy to see how it benefits businesses that need to react quickly to market changes.
There are obviously more drivers to cloud migration being discussed by businesses, but one of the most popular and sometimes controversial drivers is that of security. Cloud providers have been claiming for a while now that the Cloud is more secure than on premise infrastructure. The main basis to this claim is that Cloud providers have more skilled and specialised resources available to them, and a greater attention to security combined with economies of scale. Avnet is seeing increased demands in specialised security skills around the Cloud which supports this statement.
Low risk migration is a key driver to be considered, Avnet believes there are three important things to consider in accelerating low risk migration to the cloud. The first being improved cost savings and easier management, the second, the ability to deploy more frequently and faster without costly configuration errors. Finally, the need to have better visibility into your infrastructure. Avnet and its business partners can help organisations successfully succeed in low risk migration and deliver all three aforementioned drivers.
As I stated at the start of this blog, the drivers for any one business to migrate to the cloud are very different to another, however, once a decision to move has been made the same rules will apply. Those rules include ensuring the move is planned thoroughly, the costs are identified accurately and finally once migrated, the platform needs to be monitored to ensure the return on investment is delivered.
To find out more about how Avnet can help businesses successfully migrate to the cloud, please contact me at Karen.Griffith[at]avnet.com.