When to put workloads in the public cloud
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When to put workloads in the public cloud


Steve Bigelow: The days of vast, complex, and costly private data centers are waning as businesses look for workload deployment alternatives. Perhaps the most important of these alternatives is the public cloud. There are five major factors that drive businesses to migrate their workloads to the public cloud. So, let’s look at each one. Cost benefits are usually the first factor that drives workload migration to the public cloud. Traditional data centers require expensive investments in physical hardware and facilities, not to mention the costs of continued maintenance. In some cases, being tied to hardware can stifle innovation too. In the public cloud, a business uses the cloud provider’s infrastructure and services, which sheds much of the investment and overhead associated with running business applications. But remember, I said cost benefits and not cost savings. There are certainly still costs involved when operating a workload in the public cloud. And over time, those total costs are not always lower than they would be if the workload was run locally. The difference is in how those costs are handled. Cloud providers typically bill on a pay-as-you-go basis, and businesses only pay for the resources they actually use. Organizations can transition potentially risky capital expenses to recurring operating expenses, and exercise granular control over those costs. And this can vastly lower their financial risk for a business and possibly enhance its willingness to innovate. A traditional data center can impose serious maintenance headaches. The business owns and operates the facility and infrastructure which it needs to keep running 24/7. This means dealing with a mind-boggling array of logistical issues that include monitoring power, cooling, server status, storage, network performance, application health, and more. When a server fails or an air conditioning unit needs repairs, the business has to foot the bill. With the public cloud, many of those worries go away; the cloud provider is responsible for keeping the lights on and the systems running. High availability is a vital strategy for mission-critical workloads. But it can be difficult to execute. Organizations have to guard the workload against data center failures, either due to connectivity problems or physical issues such as natural disasters. But data centers are prohibitively expensive, and most organizations just can’t afford redundant locations in different parts of the world. Public clouds are global by nature, with many data centers spread strategically worldwide. Enterprises can run workloads redundantly across multiple cloud regions to provide comprehensive workload availability in a way that would just be far too expensive or technically demanding locally. Today’s businesses seek a global reach, which means accommodating a global user base. Network latency and unpredictable effects of internet congestion can impair workload performance for users on distant continents. And this can lead to user dissatisfaction and a loss of competitive advantage for the business. The global footprint that powers public cloud providers can also boost workload performance in key global markets. An organization can run a workload in a cloud provider region, such as Asia Pacific, for example, that brings that workload closer to its intended audience, keeping latency and congestion low and effectively boosting performance and the resulting user experience. Finally, public clouds are developing an astonishing array of specialized services. These tools readily support a greater range of workload types that an organization can’t readily cobble together inside their own data centers. For example, big data projects can take thousands of server instances, enormous amounts of memory, and complex supporting software. Doing all this locally is expensive. But the vast availability of public cloud resources and ready-made services make complex tasks faster and more practical without any infrastructure investment. The point here is that tomorrow’s businesses can focus on designing and running workloads that benefit their businesses, rather than worrying about deploying and maintaining their own infrastructure. Now, none of this means that the local data center is going away. Mission critical and security sensitive workloads may still need the oversight and control that a local facility can provide. But the cloud has become an attractive alternative for all the reasons we’ve discussed here and more. I’m Steve Bigelow, Senior Technology Editor for TechTarget. For more information on all aspects of cloud computing, visit searchcloudcomputing.com. Thanks for joining me.

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