By: Brad Kessler, CTO – LiteCloud
Lifecycle can be one of the easiest overlooked yet potentially disastrous scenario that can impact you organization’s IT and communications. Often we budget to build our network, storage, computing, and communications solutions and in many cases budget for annual sustainment of those solutions. But how do we plan for the time when our investments in servers are no longer powerful enough, networks are no longer fast enough, storage is no longer reliable, hardware vendor maintenance is no longer available, software is end-of-support (patches/bug fixes), and things are just starting to fail. lifecycle is very difficult to plan for, as the capital required to finance lifecycle along with the operational challenges associated with transition and downtime are not usually justified until it is too late.
The Cloud can present an interesting and cost-effective solution to the lifecycle challenge and vice-versa, lifecycle could lead more organizations towards cloud adoption. As hardware does not meet the capability, performance, or reliability requirements and software support reaches it’s end (I.E. Windows Server 2003) it could make good business sense to evaluate the cloud as an option. There is no all or nothing requirement as many cloud customers today have certain components of their infrastructure they keep on premise and some that they have moved to the cloud. Adoption of the cloud is often swayed slowed by customers not wanting to place all their resources in the cloud at once (who could blame them). It is perfectly understandable and often recommended to gently test the waters to ensure that performance, reliability, manageability, and service are up to par with expectations. The lifecycle approach to the cloud lends itself well to this practice.
The cloud can assist an organization in eliminating any number of lifecycle challenges by moving, migrating, or standing up a new service in the cloud. These could include:
- Aging or unreliable hardware (Compute, Storage, Network)
- Additional performance requirements (CPU, RAM, Storage, Network)
- New capabilities (Applications, Server Virtualization, VoIP/UC, Virtual Desktop)
- End-of-support (no vendor patches or updates)
- Regulatory requirements (HIPAA, SOX, PCI, GLBA)
- Aging security capabilities (Firewalls, VPN, IDS/IPS, Virus, SPAM, Malware)
- Complexity and scale outgrew internal staffing resources
- Environmental challenges (outgrew onsite power, space, cooling)
Cloud providers take upon themselves the onus of maintaining hardware and software lifecycle making this a seemingly transparent process to the customer. A “Good” cloud provider will constantly be upgrading compute, storage, and network resources to meet the demands of newer customer applications while maintaining vendor relationships and software licensing agreements providing access to the latest versions of hypervisors, operating systems, and applications. Cloud providers maintain sufficient staff to operate and maintain the environment to support their customers as well as the data center resources to house and scale their platform offerings.
Next time you are facing a lifecycle challenge within your IT environment, consider making the leap to the cloud and eliminating the costs, downtime, and headache of having to face it again.