According to a recent IDG survey, about 70% of companies have at least one application in the cloud. An additional 43% want to migrate most, or all, of their data workloads and analytics capabilities to the cloud over the next few years. Cloud adoption is growing due to pressure to increase agility and responsiveness to market changes, shrink data center footprints, adapt to changing analytics needs, and move IT costs from CapEx to OpEx.
However, cloud migration is often hindered by concerns about security and the lack of IT staff with experience to manage a cloud environment. As a result, many companies struggle to identify the cloud model that’s right for their goals. One model that can help you meet your goals, regardless of your size or resource capabilities, is intelligent clouds as-a-service.
Intelligent clouds contain analytics capabilities and cloud storage, bundled as a managed-services package—typically on a subscription basis—that can be scaled up or down quickly, at will, depending on your needs. They allow you to deploy the latest, and most sophisticated analytics capabilities, combined with flexible, secure, cloud storage that fits your workload size and operational requirements.
What you get
With an intelligent cloud, your focus is shifted from wrangling your IT infrastructure to leveraging sophisticated analytics capabilities and large data sets, so you can gain faster, deeper insights into your business to improve performance and outcomes. How?
- You get predictability, both in performance and cost. You pay only for the storage and analytics capabilities you need, and you can scale up or down quickly, depending on your everyday workloads, or any special projects that you might wish to undertake. This gives you resource efficiency and allows you to get more from your technology investments. It’s an awesome capability to have when you’re responding to ever-changing competitive and market conditions.
- You get peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about your data, or your analytics capabilities. If you have a DBA on staff, that person can manage the interaction between you and your cloud/analytics partner. Otherwise, the infrastructure management, and the analytics capabilities are taken care of—not to mention the security of your data and applications. The entire process is managed for you, to enable you to focus on your business, not your IT infrastructure.
- You get availability. Because the process is managed for you, and it’s infinitely, immediately scalable depending on your needs, your analytics and storage capabilities are there when you need them, as you need them. Most cloud/analytics vendors will guarantee performance in their SLAs. Can you do that by managing your own infrastructure? Probably not. Also, because your needs can change, and you need ultimate flexibility, most analytics/cloud vendors will offer options to go with public clouds like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, their own hosted clouds, or a hybrid thereof. It’s the ultimate mix of scalability and flexibility.
What to Look Out For
It’s clear that intelligent clouds as-a-service can help you maximize your efficiency and focus on boosting your analytics outcomes, but there are some things you need to look out for when choosing a vendor partner to manage your intelligent cloud.
- Performance guarantees. Best-in-class vendor partners will guarantee 99.5%+ availability. That lessens the possibility of downtime for mission-critical applications and gives you the confidence to undertake large-scale projects with big workloads, without worrying about whether you can scale up or have access to your data and apps when you need it.
- The best vendors will offer sophisticated security with excellent encryption and monitoring capabilities. They shouldn’t ever see or touch your data in the process. The SLA should clearly spell out security measures and guarantees to give you peace of mind as your workload migrates from your control to theirs.
- Superior customer service and management. Subscription and pricing models should be flexible and customizable to match your needs—now and in the future. Top vendors will offer some sort of easy-to-use portal system where your DBA can perform tasks such as scaling up or down, viewing metrics, starting and stopping the database, scheduling backups, and setting firewall and security parameters. Your SLA should also offer 24/7 customer service, or at least 24-hour service during the work week.
There are almost infinite cloud service models out there, and it’s crucial to your success in producing better analytics outcomes to choose the right one for your business. Intelligent clouds, with their flexibility and performance, can be that right choice for any business, large or small.