Essential Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Cloud Investment

There are myriad benefits to transitioning from on-premises to the cloud. However, you may not realise them all with a simple lift and shift. Here are the essential steps you should take to get the most out of your cloud investment.

With the cloud market continuing to grow at an impressive rate, it’s highly likely that your organisation will be considering moving part or all of its infrastructure to the cloud. There are a number of considerations you’ll want to make when it comes to transitioning from on-premises data centres to the cloud. Of these considerations, cost is inevitably a big one. In order to maximise your cloud investment, it’s important to understand the different cost factors that go into transitioning to the cloud. In this blog we’ll take you through how to compare on-premises data centre costs with cloud costs, and how using this knowledge will enable you to maximise your cloud investment.

A Day in the Life of an IT Manager

In order to understand the costs of on-premises infrastructures, it’s useful to consider a day in the life of an IT Manager. IT Managers will typically need to maintain control over three cost bases on a day-to-day basis:

  • IT operational costs. These are the basic day-to-day costs of maintaining an on-premises infrastructure.
  • Day-to-day maintenance. Onsite equipment requires constant upkeep to ensure it runs optimally and does not run into issues that cause downtime.
  • Skills debt. Skills debt may be slightly less tangible, but it is not less important. Skills debt refers to the need for an IT Manager and their team to constantly upskill in order to support the evolving technologies their organisation operates.

All three of these cost bases can often be hidden when organisations consider the recurring cost of maintaining an on-premises data centre. They shouldn’t be. Before you incur them, though, there are also the costs of setting up an onsite data centre. These are extensive, and invariably include physical servers, storage devices, switching, cabling, cooling, backup power units and and fire safety equipment and physical security, recurring costs for power consumption, internet connectivity, equipment servicing and more. Not to mention the environmental impact of owning you own data centre.

It’s a lot to consider, and so is the day-to-day maintenance of these items. This includes – but is not limited to – resource management, license management, server clean-ups, keeping switches up-to-date, keeping patching up-to-date, VPNs connecting correctly, ensuring the internal network is built and managed properly, keeping applications up-to-date, managing Active Directory and managing email. And that’s before you’ve even got to day-to-day break fix requirements.

When you combine all of these factors, the true cost of on-premises data centres begins to come to light. But there are some hidden costs that you should consider, too.

The Hidden Costs of On-Premises Data Centres

The typical physical server lifespan is three to five years. When you purchase a physical server, you tend to go bigger than you need in order to prepare for expansion. However, these large, expensive servers can soon become outdated, and they may cease to support applications and networking – introducing risk.

It’s also worth touching again on skills debt, as it’s super important. Everyone has an application that fixes a problem, but you can’t know everything when you have a small team with a broad scope of responsibility. This is a massive issue, and it can be a massive cost. Outsourcing skills is normally cheaper than employing these skills in-house, as providers like Six Degrees will spread costs across our client base so we can employ the best of the best.

At the end of the day though, there are a lot of small items that may not be considered when comparing the cost for your on-premises data centres to cloud computing. These are still a cost though. You may be thinking that colocating is easier, as you’ll mainly manage your own hardware while your colocation company manages the rest. There is truth in this. However, this costs money too – typically at a monthly rate – and what you pay will depend on the tier of the data centre you use, not to mention the cost behind traveling to and from the data centre and the time it takes to travel.

How Cloud Removes On-Premises Pains

At Six Degrees, we believe cloud removes all of these pains. And what’s more, it enables you to move away from day-to-day break-fix which enables you and your IT team to be strategically focused on the further development through technology to help drive success. This is essential in today’s competitive landscape where speed of doing business is critical.

When it comes to getting the most out of your cloud investment by optimising cost, cloud really comes into its own. You pay for what you use, when you use it, and you don’t have to forecast. Cloud also enables you to scale and bring features online quickly, when you want; whereas physical servers takes around a week to provision, cloud servers take minutes. This enables you to save people costs as they are able to focus their time elsewhere.

A key consideration for cost optimisation is that cloud won’t be cost saving for you if you don’t manage it. Data is exponential – if you don’t manage your data, it will grow and costs will increase. An essential step you will need to take is remembering to switch things off, not just switch things on. Running lean and mean is an essential element of getting the most out of your cloud investment.

You should also ensure adequate security in place, in order to minimise risks of costs incurred by security issues. These can be financial, but are often also operational and reputational – a dangerous combination in today’s hostile digital landscape.

As we said at the beginning of this blog, a simple lift and shift may not be the best way for you to maximise your cloud investment. Advisories and assessments allow you take an in-depth look at your current environment, and look at digital optimisation for migrating on-premises infrastructures into cloud native services.

Maximise Your Cloud Investment

In this blog, we’ve explained a number of the hidden costs you may not associate with maintaining an on-premises infrastructure. We’ve also suggested that cloud relieves many of these costs, as long as your cloud migration is well planned and executed.

Our cloud assessments are designed to help you understand your infrastructure and potential cloud adoption workloads while collaboratively identifying how they slot in with your overarching business goals. Learn more about our Cloud Assessments and schedule a call with us to begin your organisation’s cloud transformation.

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