Cloud. Has there ever been a five-letter word that brings to mind so many different ideas and concepts? Ask for a definition and you will find nearly every person has a different answer. Some execs believe the operational agility provided by such elasticity frees up their staff to focus on more strategic efforts, while allowing them to respond to business needs more quickly. Other IT leaders have concerns around security, migration and governance. While there are legitimate concerns to be addressed when looking to move workloads to a cloud environment, more and more organizations have gone beyond dipping a toe in the water and are actually adopting cloud strategies.
In my role as a solution architect for CDW’s Aggregation, Infrastructure and Managed Services practice (AIM), I am finding customer questions moving away from security concerns. I mean, of all the hacking-related incidents focused on customer data being compromised, how many were cloud solutions? That’s a rhetorical question and a focus for another blog post. For now, it is safe to say the majority of security breaches are on-prem solutions managed by in-house IT staffs.
Instead, more discussions seem focused around making the most of existing investment in infrastructure. Where is an organization in the depreciation cycle? How do they leverage a hybrid environment in which they are able to spin up cloud resources as they decommission physical assets? There is an art to migration and integration that goes along with the science.
So, what are the white-hot areas in the cloud space as it pertains to infrastructure? My colleagues and I see it focused in three spaces:
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
Every organization understands the need for a disaster recovery strategy. Historically, that meant having a geographically diverse secondary environment that looked very similar if not identical to the first. Times are changing, though. Now, more people are asking, “Why buy a second home that looks exactly like the first? I want homeowner’s insurance.” Enter DRaaS, which provides the ability to reserve resources and then scale up on demand, as needed. This allows for a very flexible plan that can meet defined recovery time (RTO) and recovery point (RPO) objectives today while allowing for changes to be made as necessary without substantial capital investment.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
UCaaS is today’s version of what was previously known as hosted voice over IP. Now, all functions of the collaboration suite are available in the “as a service” model. Managing an on-prem phone system is yesterday’s way of doing things for many people. It required a very defined knowledge base and skill set or a very expensive maintenance contract. More and more, businesses are deploying a financially flexible solution priced on a per-seat basis rather than incurring a significant capital outlay. Equally important, this model allows for business continuity as the brains live in the provider’s redundant data centers to be accessed from anywhere at any time, regardless of physical location.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) strategy, anyone? There are many different use cases for virtual desktops and the concept is quite interesting to most IT professionals. Who wouldn’t want to be able to move from location to location and device to device without worrying about where files are actually located? However, the implementation and ongoing maintenance are often messy, at best. Do we have enough storage to account for the boot storm? Should we deploy Citrix or VMware or something different altogether? Does my team have the expertise to handle the support required for our end-users? These are all very important questions that explain why DaaS is seeing such a dramatic adoption rate.
More and more, technology companies are making the most of their deep knowledge base and skill sets to provide these types of offerings. Some are focused in one specific area or one product while others allow their customers to leverage multiple products and service sets. Without question, the world is changing and, in the technology space, it’s for the better.
For the latest trends in cloud, check out BizTech Magazine to see how businesses are leveraging the technology.
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