Data Center Knowledge recently featured an article, Moving to the Cloud and Understanding ROI, in which it reviewed several uses for cloud computing and a couple examples of ROI. To summarize, they were:
- Disaster recovery
- Backup and storage
- Testing and development
- Easier management
- Data center consolidation
- Enabling mobility
- Offloading security
The article covered two ROI scenarios: one for reducing downtime and the other for reducing security concerns related to data breaches. In both cases, cloud computing can be a cost saving tool in your arsenal. The author does point out that, regardless of what cloud computing model you’re considering, you need to do your homework in understanding how it fits into your business IT strategy.
In fact, for organizations that are considering the cloud for their sole DR strategy, there are just as many contractual questions as infrastructure/technical questions. For example, what about commercial apps in the cloud? Most apps don’t get restarted automatically, so they’ll need to consider what will happen if the cloud goes offline. Licensing issues should also be a concern. When do customers pay? In advance and/or for what length of term?
Likewise, while data breaches are a real threat to organizations today, does using the cloud eliminate that threat or exacerbate it? Again, there are questions organizations need to consider:
- What happens when the cloud goes offline?
- How will you be notified when the cloud goes offline?
- How is the cloud restarted? Manually or automatically?
- Is load balancing provided?
- How are data backups done?
- Do they have a disaster recovery plan?
- How do they communicate outages?
- What is their track record for uptime?
- What are the legal implications of a data breach?
There are some options beyond public cloud computing that need to be considered. While most people think of public cloud computing as their sole option, there are hybrid and private cloud computing models that, depending on your budget and organizational requirements, can be sound options.
Regardless of how you use cloud computing, there are undoubtedly cost savings to be had in the long run, and regardless of the cloud model that is best for your organization and requirements, there will be questions that need answers. As summarized in the Data Center Knowledge article:
The bottom line is this – the cloud model has a powerful presence and many organizations are adopting some part of the technology. But like any tool, piece of software or technological advancement, there needs to be a fit.