Cloud computing options for managing your Microsoft application workloads are becoming ubiquitous. IDC estimates that total public cloud investment is roughly $46 billion USD per year. Furthermore, Technology Business Research (TBR) estimates that Microsoft alone is already providing nearly $5 billion USD per year in cloud related services. Even with the prevalence of cloud computing options today, choosing the right one (public, private, or hybrid) and ensuring it meets your data management needs is so cloudy, it has most in a fog!
This three part blog series should help clear the skies by defining each option and describing their benefits. Part 1 focuses on public cloud. A public cloud is a multi-tenant IT environment provided by a third party. The management and provisioning of system resources within the public cloud are virtualized and automated to dynamically meet the needs of your organization and enable self-service capability.
Public cloud is best used when an organization is seeking the following benefits:
- Greater predictability in costs associated with implementing and managing a system. Public cloud providers typically charge a monthly subscription fee for the service based on usage. This model eliminates massive capital expenditures when purchasing a new system. Instead, one only pays for the system when it is used. Transitioning these costs to operating expenses is preferred by most financial managers as it provides greater predictability for expenses and their impact on net income.
- Focusing IT resources on more strategic work core to the organization. Outsourcing the less strategic work to a public cloud provider shifts resource focus to activities more aligned with the organization’s goals and core competencies.
- Improved performance, management, or security. Often a public cloud provider can help an organization improve all three leading to the delivery of more IT services faster which can dramatically help an organization achieve its overall goals.
When contemplating a public cloud option, consider the following:
- Are you comfortable relinquishing control of your data? Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server have become mission critical applications generating data vital to an organization. Allowing a third party to manage the data may expose it to new security risks, violate governmental regulations, or eliminate any proprietary advantage derived from the data by granting the cloud provider access to it.
- Thoroughly examine the new operational costs of the public cloud. While you may not expend significant capital to start the service, the subscription fees over time may actually exceed the initial capital outlay and your own operational costs to deploy it and manage it on your own.
- Finally, the quality of service you receive with public cloud offerings for Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server may be different than what you are accustomed to receiving when you manage those systems yourself. Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure and other service provider offerings provide standard service level agreements that offer little flexibility to customize them to meet your organization’s needs. Ask yourself how long you are willing to wait in a queue with the provider’s other customers when you are trying to retrieve critical data.
There certainly are benefits to moving your Microsoft applications to a public cloud. However, the public cloud may not be the panacea for all of your challenges. The key is to choose the right cloud option to meet your needs. Don’t worry, it may seem cloudy now but the long term forecast is a bit clearer as you learn all about your cloud options for Microsoft application workloads by reading this 3 part blog.