CIOs chasing cloud strategy

Posted on Jul 29, 2019 :: Partner
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Posted by by Paul Hager, CEO & owner of Information Technology Professionals

When it comes to the cloud, many businesses are concerned they won’t make the right choices. They don’t know what the costs will be. They don’t have a well-defined cloud strategy or are struggling to get momentum behind moving their data to the cloud. On top of all that, many different cloud vendors clamor for attention, saying their solution is the
best available.

Despite all the uncertainty, one thing is certain — the need for a good cloud strategy. Keeping everything onsite because that’s the way you’ve always done it is a mistake. As a CIO, your company leadership is leaning on you to develop a cloud strategy that closely aligns with business demands both now and into the future.

Let’s look at what businesses with successful cloud strategies are doing.

Cloud considerations

The cloud has many strengths. It scales up and down easily, always responsive to the growth of your business. The ability to achieve and maintain security compliance is there. Flexible and utility consumption models are there.

But time for a dose of reality. Most businesses have legacy applications. These applications are highly customized and integrated into your business processes. But they were not born in the cloud era and can’t run well in cloud platforms. We’ve seen companies migrate everything to the cloud simply for the sake of being cloud-first when it would have been more efficient to keep the legacy applications on-premise.

Picking the right workloads for the cloud

A balanced approach customized to your company’s unique workloads is the best cloud strategy. Platform what should be platformed on-premise using a web-scale, hyperconverged product. Then move to the cloud what really should be there.

In simple terms, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is a hyperscale cloud brought on-premise. The 2018 State of the Enterprise Datacenter Report found hyperconverged infrastructure improves operational efficiency, scalability and data efficiency while reducing costs.

HCI is rapidly becoming the on-premise platform of choice for successful businesses. According to Gartner, HCI’s five-year compound annual growth rate is predicted to be 48 percent, while traditional on-premise storage’s growth rate will stay flat.

What actually belongs in the cloud?

Be smart about where you put your workloads. Here’s how to sort your workload between on-premise and cloud:

On-premise enterprise cloud

  • Runs all the time
  • Latency (distance to users) is important and needs to be low
  • High performance needs

Enterprise public cloud

  • Performance needs to burst
  • Already needs to have distances from production (DR,DMZ,FTP, EDI)

Bottom line: Don’t force workloads into the cloud that aren’t appropriate for that environment. If you’re struggling to find that strategic balance between on-premise and cloud, a consultant can help. Look for a consultant that’s well positioned in legacy infrastructure, new infrastructure like hyperconverged, and also public cloud.

Embrace the cloud’s possibilities

The days of IT being just a risk-reduction game are over. Technology MUST be an offensive part of your business strategy. That means you’ll probably need to make some investments in public cloud or in web-scale hardware. Those smart investments will make user experiences better and ultimately put your company in position to be really successful.

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Paul Hager is the CEO and owner of Information Technology Professionals, an Inc. 5000 IT consultancy and managed services provider in Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee. He joined ITP in 2009 and has since made it into Wisconsin’s fastest-growing managed services provider.