As popular business publications tout a fully cloud-based environment, it’s important to consider the most strategic use of cloud services. It’s necessary to balance the functionality and productivity you need with significant expense reduction to improve ROI.
According to Forbes, the cloud can “provide a 37% savings over a 3-year period for a retail/e-commerce organization when compared to a self-managed, on-premises solution.” Moving operations to the cloud results in lower infrastructure and storage costs and increased operational efficiency, giving you control without responsibility over expensive hardware and operating systems.
A cloud environment offers lower upfront investment, improving margins by eliminating costs associated with hardware procurement and operations. Physical storage space is not needed for hardware, and utility costs to keep hardware running are also not a factor.
Fully-Managed or Self-Managed?
Another major consideration in cloud adoption is how your data will be managed. Fully-managed cloud is managed entirely by your provider, which improves efficiency since your IT staff does not have to spend time supervising a cloud server.
Self-managed cloud is managed on-prem, and no support is provided by the host. Self-managed setups are less expensive than those that are fully managed, and the user has full control. But this also means that IT staff is responsible for all maintenance and server upkeep, which may increase human resource costs.
- No expensive hardware is needed.
- No Capital investment approval is required, as costs are typically low and can easily be worked into operational expense budgets.
- Minimal human resource hours are needed to configure a cloud setup. Cornerstone Cloud, for example, can be set up in less than an hour.
- No effort or overhead expense of updating server operating systems is necessary.
- Your data security is in the hands of your cloud vendor, meaning that you are not fully in control.
- “Often, there are unexpected costs that may not have been accounted for in the initial assessment, such as a network connection that maybe you weren’t paying for when you were on-premises,” warns Rick Drescher, MD, Critical Facilities Group.
On Prem/Cloud Hybrid
If you have recently purchased expensive hardware or don’t have the resources to handle a migration to a fully cloud-based environment, an on-prem/cloud hybrid setup is a great solution. A hybrid environment is perfect for those who value the control of having some data stored on-prem and the cost savings of remote storage.
A hybrid environment offers the low upfront costs of a cloud solution, without reliance on a single cloud environment to store your important data. This solution allows you to leverage existing IT investments in hardware and maintain some control over access and security, while reducing IT operating expenses. According to VMWare.com, “75% of organizations have integrated or want to integrate cloud services with their on-premises data center resources,” and 56% of organizations believe the hybrid model improves disaster recovery.
- On-prem applications are reliable, and allow enterprises to keep their control over access and security.
- Clustering across your on-prem and cloud setups improves disaster recovery. Cornerstone MFT provides failover capabilities so data is always available, even in the event of a hardware failure or any other server interruption.
- A hybrid implementation can be a stepping stone towards a full cloud implementation.
- “By building your IT systems with the right mix of public and private cloud capacity, your company can better monitor and control its IT costs. Paying for what you need can be monitored and changed as required,” according to 5nine.com.
A hybrid approach may be attractive for your enterprise, particularly if you are considering the cloud, but are not quite ready to commit to a fully cloud-based implementation. A hybrid implementation enables you to determine precise costs and determine the bottom-line impact of expense reductions.
- Your company is still responsible for ensuring server security and maintaining hardware, while adding the operational expense of cloud services.
- Expertise is required when using the cloud, and enterprises must be sure that they have IT staff with the skills needed to configure, deploy, and manage cloud infrastructures.
Not every company is ready for a complete cloud migration. Yet, when data application and storage requirements change, it is important to have a setup that will allow you to evolve, rapidly taking advantage of the flexibility and reduction of capital expenditures that cloud services provide.
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