Cloud computing alters traditional IT architectures and is pushing businesses to take their core technology configurations and extend them beyond the traditional data center walls. This shift gives organizations an opportunity to mix and match apps and services in new ways, disrupting traditional work models and changing the way IT teams operate. Technology consultants play a vital role in this new climate as IT departments are asked to balance a wider range of services and environments on a day-to-day basis.
All of this cloud-driven change and disruption comes to a focal point in two key areas - availability and productivity.
Cloud computing and service availability
Maintaining high levels of availability has traditionally been a matter of maintaining server, storage and network systems in such away to ensure at least five nines (99.999 percent) availability and prevent unplanned downtime. Today's IT departments must now incorporate systems housed in colocation facilities, managed servers and cloud apps, infrastructure and platforms into their availability plans. According to a recent CenturyLink report, the complexity created by hybrid IT environments - configurations incorporating cloud, premise-based and various third-party systems - is changing the way companies handle availability.
Hybrid IT environments are likely going to be in place for at least the next few years as companies make a gradual transition into fully hosted environments, and that is assuming they do so at all. CenturyLink explained that organizations must plan for a variety of conditions in hybrid environments, including:
- An influx of new network segments.
- A need to adjust security procedures around cloud apps and services.
- A configuration in which processes must be connected across systems residing in diverse platforms.
Organizations that incorporate all of this system variety effectively can eliminate single points of failure, reinforce their recovery rollovers and dramatically improve availability. CenturyLink pointed out that an on-premise database can be replicated in the cloud, where the related application and web server also reside. From there, those servers are replicated in a separate cloud data center, ensuring that these components of the configuration are all synchronized across multiple platforms.
Cloud computing and the resulting hybrid environments can make high availability configurations accessible from a capital cost perspective.
Cloud computing and productivity
Cloud systems make technology accessible to end users through the internet, empowering them to get the job done in more convenient, intuitive ways. For example, a recent TG Daily report pointed to the ability to work on the go as one of the primary ways for organizations to improve productivity. Employees who are free to work anytime, anywhere depending on their preferences and availability can often be more productive than they would be if they were tied to their desks. Cloud computing makes key apps and data accessible on the diverse range of devices and locations needed to create this kind of flexible, productive operational climate.
Achieving availability and productivity benefits
Taking advantage of cloud's availability gains depends on coordinating and overseeing diverse network infrastructure systems within a hybrid IT configuration. Using the cloud for productivity hinges on controlling data workflows and app accessibility across an array of end-user devices and locations. This complexity eliminates the single points of failure that limit availability - if the network is down at the office, just use your mobile data plan to keep working until it is fixed. It also drives productivity gains by giving employees technology that empowers them to be at their best. However, managing a more complex collection of technology resources isn't an easy adjustment.
This is where modern technology advisors and consultants are stepping in. These organizations are building on basic managed IT providers that offer some services and a help desk to provide full-service consulting, service management and related options to help companies handle the complexity of hybrid IT environments. High levels of availability and productivity can be achieved with the cloud, and the right partnerships can help you get there.