Your business may already be using some cloud-based applications, such as Salesforce.com or Dropbox, and maybe you’re contemplating moving even more of your infrastructure to the cloud. There are definite benefits of a cloud-based infrastructure including flexibility, guaranteed performance SLAs, regulatory compliance, shifting CapEx costs to the OpEx budget, and, depending on what type of data center service provider you choose, a greener footprint.
Here are five positive aspects of making the cloud your primary technology infrastructure:
1. It’s Dynamic and Instantly Scalable. One of the most challenging aspects to maintaining an on-premise system or an enterprise private cloud is accounting for fluctuating bandwidth needs. If you operate a seasonal business, for instance, and web traffic is higher at peak times and lower at others, you’ll need to buy, configure, and maintain ready-to-go hardware that can be brought online immediately if traffic spikes.
By using a cloud infrastructure that’s hosted by a data center, your provider can “burst” or dynamically increase your bandwidth whenever traffic suddenly jumps. Your service provider takes care of everything on their side and seamlessly increases your system’s capacity to handle more traffic.
2. SLAs for Guaranteed Uptime. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) spell out exactly what level of service you can expect from your data center provider including percentage of uptime, what will happen if you experience downtime while using their services, and more. Reliable data centers will guarantee 99.99% uptime. It can be challenging for most companies to hit 99.99% uptime within their own enterprise networks.
In the event a data center provider doesn’t hit its uptime guarantee, the SLA should provide financial compensation to you. This gives providers great incentive to have redundant networks, power and cooling in place and in-depth plans for quickly restoring service in the rare event it’s interrupted.
3. Satisfy Expensive and Time-Consuming Compliance Standards. Many companies need to satisfy compliance standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS and others in order to meet regulatory requirements. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process. In most cases, you’ll need to hire an auditing company to evaluate if you’ve adequately followed every required step to satisfy the compliance requirements.
By using a data center service provider that’s already certified for these standards, you’ll save your company time and money. The data center will take on the burden of hiring auditors to certify their processes, equipment, and systems. While you may still need to take additional steps to maintain internal systems, using infrastructure that is technically compliant goes a long way towards meeting major compliance requirements.
4. Reduced CapEx. When your company buys hardware and software for its private infrastructure, these expenses normally hit the Capital Expenditures (CapEx) budget. Often this budget is tougher to increase and goes through more approval processes than the Operating Expenses (OpEx) budget. Generally, CapEx budgets are determined annually and if the budget is depleted, departments must wait until the next fiscal year. By contrast, OpEx budgets—which also include items like salaries and office rent—are usually much more fluid.
By using a cloud provider for your primary infrastructure, you’ll be billed a flat service rate each month which can be treated as an operating expense rather than a capital expense. For CIO’s who are balancing expenses against the need for infrastructure to grow, avoiding budgetary spikes triggered by major hardware purchases can be one way to keep spending predictable and get around budgets that may be frozen.
Another advantage of using a cloud service provider is you can re-allocate your existing unused hardware resources as a failover or backup infrastructure in case of an emergency.
5. Lower Your Carbon Footprint at a Great Price. As green technology becomes more common, data center service providers are changing their infrastructure to reduce their carbon footprints. Data centers specifically designed for energy efficiencies utilize 40% less energy and often are powered through entirely renewable resources like wind energy.
Green data centers also extensively use virtualization technologies to lower energy consumption. Virtualization is a more efficient use of resources as less hardware is needed which, in turn, reduces cooling and energy consumption.
When you use a green data center, your company’s carbon foot print is also reduced. And don’t automatically assume if a data center is green, then it’s also expensive. Using the right green technology can be very cost-effective for data centers. Responsible providers will pass these savings on to their customers.
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