By Robin Ferris, Cloud Solutions Architect, Pulsant
Technology has evolved rapidly in the last decade. It has given us more performance, greater resilience and faster ways of working on all manner of tasks. It has influenced how organisations are run, impacted staff working practices and changed how we shop and socialise. Technology continues to drive change today, however, some aspects have been consistent in the last 10 years. One example is Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 which have been in use since their launch in February 2008. But even that is set to change imminently as Microsoft withdraws its support for both applications.
A decade of digital transformation
A lot has moved on in the last decade, if you cast your mind back to 2008, cloud computing was more of a concept than a reality although the opportunity of the cloud was recognised. In IT circles it was being hyped as the next big disruptive force to the industry and any consumers accessing web-based email and data storage services were already using it — albeit unknowingly. However, this wasn’t the case for most businesses and many assumed it was just another metaphor for the internet. It wasn’t until the term ‘cloud’ entered the dictionary in 2011 that its adoption really began to be taken seriously.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is inextricably linked with the cloud, but in 2008, apart from Salesforce, there was little in the way of enterprise software available through this model. And although Amazon Web Services existed with EC2, Microsoft Azure had not yet been launched.
Data backup was also a different story in 2008. The technologies existed to enable remote backups, but not many businesses were practicing this. Additionally, backing up data could be a lengthy process and although deduplication technology was being used, businesses were accumulating an ever-increasing amount of disk and tape backups. And when addressing the disaster recovery aspect, it was remote datacentres rather than colocation services that were being used.
Another area where we have seen drastic change within the last ten years is mobile devices. The first iPhone was released in 2007 but even then, Apple could not have conceived the huge revenues generated from the two million or so downloadable iOS applications which there are today. In fact, back in 2008 the first Android device, the HTC dream, had only just been released and the Blackberry was still king.
Cloud has given us the ability to carry out a huge variety of tasks, on our smartphones and otherwise, that simply wasn’t possible 10 years ago. It’s easy to reminisce about how great your Blackberry was, but it couldn’t give you access to the applications you now have at your fingertips through your smartphone and via the cloud.
Make the change now
Spring forward to 2019, if businesses need access to a large amount of computing power, they can leverage some of the most powerful systems in the world for a fee because of cloud technology. Data can also be backed up and recovered at the flick of a switch and this resilient service is now a reality for all businesses from a cost of just a few pounds.
The last 11 years have seen considerable transformation. Cloud has moved from a concept, to reality, to widespread adoption — proved by the fact that 88% of businesses are now using cloud-based services. In fact, we’re already enjoying the next evolution of cloud, which is hybrid cloud; taking advantage of the different cloud (and managed hosting) models to get the best combination for our needs, whether that’s increased agility, cost savings or better performance.
In today’s cloud-centric world it’s unlikely that businesses will still be using hardware from a decade ago. But it’s not always the same for applications. Many businesses are still using Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 services and when Microsoft withdraws its support, these businesses run the risk of cyber attacks, non-compliance and may need to invest significant amounts of money into maintaining outdated technology.
Moving to a hybrid cloud model with the likes of Microsoft Azure or Azure Stack mitigates this problem and enables organisation to put legacy systems into Azure IaaS Services, while moving cloud-ready apps to a public cloud environment.
If your business is still using Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 services, then there is a way to gain an additional three years of Microsoft support by moving your apps and workloads to Microsoft Azure or Azure Stack. If you’re not sure how this affects your business, find out more by visiting our dedicated support page.