Many organizations are embracing the benefits that come with migrating their physical data centers onto the virtual environments offered by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud providers. It’s no mystery why – increased flexibility, decreased operational costs and exposure, and an ability to take new risks in their digital business are just a few of the reasons that IaaS providers are showing record growth in enterprises.
However, there are plenty of concerns, too. Traditional IT administrators are still distrustful of cloud infrastructures, citing fears around compatibility and performance, security, and application interoperability. The decision to move to the cloud is an important one, and not one to be taken lightly especially when considering the criticality of an enterprise’s core applications. So how does one know when the time is right to take the next steps with an IaaS offering?
A cloud strategy is absolutely critical for success. Migration, modernization, and maintenance are all key aspects of any successful operational plan, but even before these are considered, the enterprise must consider the nature of their business and the current business realities. Reasonably static infrastructures or a lack of ongoing development may serve as detriments. There are the sunk costs of existing hardware contracts to weigh, and of course, for any public-facing applications, there are the customers. If they are not in a region which is well-served by the cloud vendor of choice, or WAN connectivity in their local region is subpar, then, a hybrid or on-premise infrastructure may continue to make more sense.
This is a complex decision, and once made it isn’t over and done. As the needs of the business change and new initiatives are taken on, so too must the strategy and operational plans be able to adapt. This is why a true managed service provider is so critical. A managed service provider for IaaS with real expertise in your needs and solutions, as well as the realities of cloud infrastructure can assist with architecting and overseeing the emergent infrastructure, meeting regulatory requirements, and determining the right time and approach to scaling. If a more hybrid solution is what will meet the business’ short and long-term priorities, then, a managed service provider utilizes the managed infrastructure for superior results in aspects such as network access, security, and compliance.
As we all know, a large factor in eventual success is being set up to succeed – so engaging a managed service provider early into your IaaS evaluation is absolutely critical. The degree to which a correct understanding is reached in auditing/evaluating the existing infrastructure (for things such as languages, data, growth, security, compliance, reports, and disaster recovery) is the degree to which a proper operational plan can be created and executed against. However, a true partner goes beyond and helps evaluate not only the solution design but the key business objectives that drive it and works to establish the strong executive support for such an initiative that are so critical to success.
Calculating ROI and tracking the progress, having strong testing and project management, and being able to embrace agility and change in the complex world of enterprise infrastructure – these are the stories that a good managed service provider should be able to tell and the capabilities that they should bring to bear, at a minimum. As an infrastructure partnership is such a critical choice and one that should help change the business trajectory and success of an enterprise, choose carefully.