By Dylan Bouterse, Senior Solutions Engineer
Traditional IT as we knew it in the late 90s and even early 2000s relied on dedicated, full-time employees (FTEs) that were few and far between. They were positioned as jacks of all trades and the lucky organizations that could afford many FTEs with multiple skill sets didn’t sweat the questions “What if Bob wants to go on vacation?” and “What will we do if the servers go down?” Taking care of the day-to-day IT was their single top priority.
That IT strategy evolved for some in the mid-2000s to leverage Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and offload some of the mundane day-to-day IT functions. While this helped alleviate the general dependency of the FTEs and elevated the position of some IT decision-makers within an organization, the challenges of maintaining facilities, servers, support contracts and refreshing of hardware every 3-5 years remained. Innovation was needed and the IT rose to the challenge.
Bring on the Clouds
It has taken the industry more than a decade to embrace cloud services. There have been bumps in the road with regards to security, proximity of data, letting go of touching the server, and changing to an OpEx budget model vs. CapEx. As more and more companies have shifted applications and infrastructure to SaaS and cloud providers, the benefits of cloud computing is spreading more rapidly than ever through the IT community and, most importantly, executives and C-Suites. Stories of reducing budget and cost, increasing availability and functionality, and allowing FTEs to focus on line-of-business applications and projects is real and it’s sustainable. The “cloud” isn’t going anywhere.
Taking Full Advantage
There are some inherent advantages to leveraging cloud resources. Many of the traditional pain points mentioned above became manageable or disappeared altogether.
For example, moving to a predictable monthly recurring budget takes the pain out of annual budgets. Due to virtualization technologies, the cloud is inherently much more resilient to underlying hardware failures vs. the traditional model of one OS per physical server. There is no longer the need to maintain and support additional HVAC systems, generators, and battery backup systems. Often times OS and software licensing is a component of the cloud solution, streamlining the business’ IT resources to track and maintain budget for that expense. Providing a disaster recovery solution becomes much more elegant and aggressive around the RPO/RTO that the business desires or requires. And the icing on the cake is choosing a provider that also provides a fully managed experience, truly allowing the IT staff to focus on the line-of-business applications. This should include migration services, deployment of resources (virtual machines, network, security), upgrades when new versions are available, monitoring of these resources so proactive measures can be taken to reduce production-impacting events, and a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution with Help Desk support.
The Big Picture
With all of these IT services moving to a secure cloud solution, a business’ total cost of ownership is reduced, the effectiveness of the IT staff is significantly increased and the business is able to forge ahead without the traditional challenges this digital revolution introduced. The path to get here might have been turbulent, but the future is smooth sailing for those who embrace managed cloud and keep security top of mind.
Dylan Bouterse is based in Raleigh, North Carolina and his role is focused on supporting RapidScale’s partner network with pre-sales engineering support of the RapidScale product portfolio. Dylan has nearly 20 years of experience in the Service Provider, Data Center and Cloud space.