The cloud is everywhere, but is it the best or only option when making infrastructure decisions for a business? Failing to critically review your cloud storage may disrupt your company’s growth since there might be a better IT solution than the public cloud if your needs change. Proactively reviewing your digital transformation plan will ensure you avoid the potential disruption and high costs that come from staying on public cloud too long by moving to private cloud or another suitable platform.
Why businesses start on public cloud
Public cloud has a lot of benefits, and these are particularly valuable to the early stages of a business. The fact that moving onto the public cloud doesn’t require any capital investment makes it particularly appealing to startups which don’t always have the large amounts of capital needed to purchase and deploy IT equipment for a private system.
The flexible, 'pay-as-you-grow' nature of public cloud then makes it very easy to expand into the future as a company’s infrastructure requirements increase. With the added benefit of being able to scale the cloud back down if you no longer need such a high capacity, and saving costs related to that.
This makes public cloud a really valuable platform for companies to start their digital transformation on. Unfortunately though, there are disadvantages of public cloud which you need to take into account as your business grows.
The long-term challenges of 'only public cloud'
As your business grows your IT needs will grow with it. If your infrastructure can’t keep up and meet your requirements, then you’re going to run into significant problems. Unreliable IT and downtime will frustrate employees and customers alike, and you might even miss out on winning contracts if you can’t demonstrate that your IT is up to the task.
Public cloud has several disadvantages that become more prominent as a business grows larger, so you need to be aware of them and act before they become a disabler for your business:
You’re entirely reliant on your cloud provider’s security. While it may have been an advantage at first to not have to deal with the responsibility of cyber security, it means that you can’t make any decisions regarding your security policies. This might mean that you’re uncomfortable with the security measures they have in place, and it will make it difficult to win business in the banking and healthcare sectors and with any other business that prioritises comprehensive security.
Unpredictable spikes in costs
Public cloud’s pay-for-what-you-use model is great for businesses that want to minimise costs, but when you start to take on large projects with increased requirements, it leads to significant spikes in your costs. This makes budgeting very hard to predict and plan; it’s a headache for your CFO and you run the risk of not sticking to your budget plan. If you spend more than you’re supposed to that can eat dangerously far into your profit margin.
Rising costs over time
Separate from spiking costs, the amount of money you’re spending on public cloud will increase over time as your store more and more data and applications on the platform. At a certain point it will become very expensive and would be cheaper and more efficient to move onto a private platform like a private cloud or colocation in a data centre. Reducing costs is essential to the ongoing success of a business, so if public cloud becomes the more expensive option, you should probably look at moving away.
What are the alternatives to public cloud?
If you're looking to move away from public cloud, thanks perhaps to business growth or an expansion phase, then your IT is sizeable enough that migrating is no simple task. You’re going to need a new platform that can keep up with your requirements. So, what's next?
Luckily, you have several infrastructure options that will support your digital transformation, all of which will be hosted in a data centre equipped with infrastructure to provide the high-speed connectivity, redundancy & resiliency, and physical security you need.
Similar to public cloud, a private cloud platform means you don’t have to handle any infrastructure or equipment. The big difference between public and private cloud is that private cloud is less flexible since it requires a commitment to spend a certain amount as a minimum. But in exchange for that commitment, you get much more influence over how your cloud is run. You will also now have a consistent amount you pay each month.
The infrastructure option that gives you the most control while still taking advantage of a data centre. With colocation services you put your own servers into a data centre, so you have complete control over your hardware and applications. Your data centre then provides technical support and advice while keeping your servers online no matter what. This is another option that means you pay a consistent amount each month.
Hybrid IT covers any IT system which has integrated several different platforms to create one system. This is the option that lets you keep your public cloud provision while adding on other solutions to help support your business where public cloud can’t. It’s a significant undertaking to manage a Hybrid IT system, but it allows you to host each of your workloads on whatever platform is best suited for them, so you never have to compromise.
Working with an infrastructure management provider to support digital transformation
A managed infrastructure provider with a comprehensive range of solutions will be able to find the ideal solution for you within their data centre. At 4D we’re proud to be a people-focused data centre operator, and we can provide support throughout your digital transformation journey. So if you want to futureproof your IT with the best possible platform for your business, get in touch to see how we can help.