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Why a big bang approach is the wrong cloud strategy

By Matt Nash, Cloud Product Manager

Despite all the hype from the big cloud providers the truth is that most organisations rely on hybrid infrastructures now and will do so for the foreseeable future. Typically, this includes on-premises infrastructure and at least two public cloud providers. This is not a step on a journey to being 100 per cent cloud, it is the strategic destination many have chosen.

At Pulsant we see customers who have made big bets on going fully cloud often returning to a hybrid set up because of its inherent advantages.

If you have low-cost, reliable and secure capacity which deals with a good percentage of your normal business processes then moving it to the cloud makes no sense. Providing you have a cloud strategy in place to deal with peaks of demand then there is no need to go ‘all-in’ with one provider.

For highly unpredictable and resource heavy workloads with global users it is hard to beat the hyperscale providers. But this can be a sledgehammer to crack a nut. A large proportion of business computing does not require this level of service. If your organisation is happily, cheaply and securely managing to run payroll every month then why start a potentially expensive migration process that will leave you in less control of costs in the future?

Getting a clear view of cloud costs is very hard. When tempting introduction deals disappear costs can quickly rise. And if you’ve not taken a strategic view you can end up a virtual hostage of your provider.

Think clearly about the cloud

The problem many businesses have is that their reliance on cloud services has just sort of happened. Different departments have signed up to different services without taking a strategic view. Developers spinning up environments and then forgetting about them and workloads being migrated without either infrastructure or costs being optimized— this is a recipe for over-paying and losing control of your core services.

The first step is to get a clear and accurate view of exactly what your organisation is using and where workloads are running. Then you can take steps to ensure that you are sweating your resources, both on-premises and in the cloud, and don’t have ‘zombie infrastructure’ soaking up costs to zero business benefit.

Next is some strategic thinking about where workloads run, and where they could run better. At Pulsant we can offer a cloud workload assessment which can carry out a full inventory of your estate and match it to the right public cloud providers. It can also help you understand the cost of your own infrastructure in order to accurately compare it with cloud providers.

Crucially this approach means you can deal with individual workloads one at a time, according to your own timetable and the needs of the business and not be rushed into a mass migration.

Future proofing your cloud investment

The key benefit of a well-designed hybrid set-up is the freedom it gives you to pivot in several directions as future strategy evolves.

At Pulsant we are seeing more customers embracing edge computing as part of this evolution. Edge computing takes advantage of 5G technology, Internet of Things devices and edge data centres to change how you can make use of data. We’re seeing compute power move to the edge of networks – where the data is created. This saves on interconnect costs, improves security and cuts latency.

For some applications there will still be a need for central processing and advanced AI – but even then a lot of data crunching and early analysis will happen at the edge. For instance real-time monitoring of manufacturing equipment will need some intelligence at the edge to provide timely warnings of equipment failure. But that partly-processed data might then go to a central data centre in order to power predictive maintenance scheduling and cost analysis.

Hybrid is here to stay

Whether you’re ready for edge computing or not, a hybrid cloud infrastructure is the best place for most organisations to be. It allows you to take advantage of the undoubted cost savings that the hyperscalers can provide, while ensuring you don’t lose control, visibility and security over your core assets and data.

At Pulsant we’re experts at helping companies of all sizes get the best from hybrid. With our cloud management tools, our nationwide network of edge data centres providing co-location and managed services, and our state-of-the-art interconnection network, you can securely and reliably connect to the cloud service of your choice.

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