“Don’t be Kodak!” This is a phrase I’ve used in many cloud presentations for years. The meaning is that at one point Kodak was the main player in the camera/film industry but once digital came along, they did not move fast enough to keep up with the market. By the time Kodak took digital cameras seriously, they missed the boat and other camera companies were far ahead in the technology. The same analogy is happening today with companies that are behind in cloud technologies, and more to the point in this post, some technologists are missing the boat.
The hardest part of being in technology is keeping up with the latest trends, and there are many smart IT professionals out there that would be very happy to keep their infrastructure onsite and fully under their control. After all, they have managed their environment successfully onsite for many years, why change now? The answer varies depending on your current data center situation. If your DC is newer and you’ve already paid for the hardware/software running in it, it might make sense to utilize it ’till those contracts run out. But eventually new hardware will be needed or the real estate the DC is taking up could become more valuable being utilized another way. At that time, it will make sense to migrate to the cloud and take advantage of the scalability and DR advantages the cloud offers.
The fact is, the cloud model is cheaper, more secure, and easier to manage than an onsite environment and even if your company is not migrating now, they will be at some point in most cases. Let’s break these reasons down:
Cheaper: Microsoft spends billions on each data center they build and they have approx. 50 DC’s around the globe. They build custom servers, custom storage, and custom networking, all of which is done on scale and is much more efficient than other non-cloud providers can do it. Even the data centers themselves are more efficient, water/air cooled and some powered by natural resources. Net is, it costs Microsoft much, much less to run a DC then it does your company. Add to this is flexibility of being able to run your servers when needed, as opposed to 24/7, and more money can be saved.
More Secure: Microsoft spends over one billion dollars on security yearly and has also acquired many security companies. They have a 24/7 security center in Redmond, WA that monitors their Azure Cloud environment and works with other major security centers (including governments) to prevent, discover, and eradicate security issues. Lastly, Microsoft has all the major security certifications and was the first cloud provider to obtain GDPR compliance. Please check out the Microsoft Trust Center for more details.
Easier to Manage: This one may seem like a stretch but it’s true. I worked with a private university a couple of years ago to do a complete “lift and shift” to Azure. The only servers remaining onsite were a couple of domain controllers and print servers. Besides the cost savings, the first advantage the IT staff realized was that they no longer had to manage the hardware or hyper-visor. No more calls at 2AM because of a failed hard drive. In addition, because the management systems (including backup and DR) are so easy and robust in Azure, they no longer had to spend their time on OS updates, clusters management or backups.
In my years of dealing with IT Staffs, I’ve worked with many, many smart people that were experts in their areas of expertise. The best of them were smart enough to step out of their comfort zones when new technologies became available and took the time to learn them. One final example: Exchange was once the leading email system in the world and I knew many Exchange administrators who were excellent. Now a days, most companies have, or are moving to, cloud email like Office 365. Most of the Exchange Admins I knew have moved on to other technologies because just like the cloud examples above, it’s much, much easier to manage Office 365 then Exchange onsite. Remember: Don’t be Kodak!
If you’re ready to take that next step into the cloud, please check out my colleague, Bob Ballard’s blog post from last week on how to prioritize the transformation here.
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