Eventually all IT systems age out of their usefulness, marked by frequently required maintenance, mandatory end of life from vendor support, and increased costs for your business. You may even run into some downtime.
IT infrastructure that is on the verge of failure may still appear to be working fine — but it still leads to sneaky problems, including higher operational costs, lower reliability, limited agility, and less opportunity to embrace new applications or technologies. Legacy infrastructure can also be much less secure.
But how do you know when your infrastructure is truly about to kick the bucket? Here are six major warning signs that it’s time to bite the bullet and modernize your IT.
With all the talk about digital transformation and IT modernization, you’d think that everyone was all-in with the cloud at this point. But there are many legacy systems still in production, even at enterprise organizations.
Regardless of why you still have them, there are almost certainly legacy systems within your IT ecosystem, and keeping them secure is of paramount importance, especially if they’re past their support lifecycle and have become exposed to potential vulnerabilities.
Another year, another trend in the data center world. Although edge data centers first starting making headlines circa 2014 or 2015, they’ve become mainstream as more and more users slurp down increasing amounts of data. That takes serious bandwidth; to the point that many pundits are pointing towards the placement of workloads in edge facilities, rather than the traditional centralized data centers in major markets, as a sign that cloud computing is starting to wane.
On the contrary, edge data centers serve to supplement and improve the reach of even the major cloud computing providers. No major cloud service provider (CSP) is going to only place workloads in major markets. Just look at our neighbors in Cheyenne: Microsoft has a huge facility that they’re actively expanding. Amazon operates data centers in Ohio, which, while central for the US in general and equidistant from major population centers like Chicago and New York, is hardly a major market in itself.
And beyond large scale platforms like Azure or AWS, you have players like Green House Data, who offer smaller scale virtualization from data centers in a myriad of second and third tier markets.
But it's not just about the cloud spreading itself to the edge. Here's why edge computing will be important, but will also become more of a niche deployment model, with cloud remaining the king of application processing and data storage.
The past five or ten years have been jam-packed with cloud computing hype. Indeed, the cloud is here to stay, without a doubt. But recent reports show analysts expect hardware sales for on-premise enterprise IT to tick up significantly.
High profile examples like Dropbox show that moving back to a more traditional data center can create efficiencies and free up cash flow. Is the enterprise data center – and by extension, colocation – about to put up a fight against the cloud?
Cloud computing adoption has been linked to “digital transformation,” a term encompassing the shift from traditional modes of consuming and administrating IT services to the new on-demand model, punctuated by the hiring and reshaping of IT staff around working cloud services, shifting to DevOps methods, or otherwise changing their business operations model in order to maintain or improve a competitive position in the market.
One major piece of digital transformation and cloud adoption is the use of multiple cloud service providers depending on the workload at hand. This mode of cloud computing is now one of the leading deployment types — and could be considered a sibling, or even the same thing, as hybrid cloud.
A recent survey from VMware and the MIT Technology Review classifies three stages on the way to a successful multicloud deployment. Where is your organization on this path towards hybrid cloud enlightenment?
We thought everyone finally had cloud terminology all cleared up. You’ve certainly seen the countless blogs about IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS; not to mention the ever-proliferating surveys and reports on hybrid cloud being the deployment flavor du jour.
But things aren’t as clear as we might want them to be. For example, tell me what you think of when you hear the term “public cloud.”
Is it a hyperscale provider like AWS, Azure, or Google? It is, isn’t it? If not, you probably work with or for an organization similar to Green House Data, which has a public cloud offering with some major differences from the hyperscale players.
So how can we clear up the cloud? Has public become synonymous with hyperscale and self-provisioning? Has private cloud fallen by the wayside? And what should your business focus on, anyway?
Hybrid IT infrastructure seems to be the deployment mode du jour, but some theorize that hybrid is just a stopover on the way to a 100% public cloud environment. With cloud adoption as a whole moving slower than many anticipated, it may be too early to definitively say whether hybrid is here to stay, but in our opinion, hybrid will remain a valuable model for many years to come.
Surveys from McAfee and RightScale both show hybrid cloud and multicloud adoption increasing, with McAfee finding a jump from 19% of organizations using hybrid cloud in 2015 to 57% using hybrid cloud in 2016, and RightScale showing an increase from 58% to 71% over the same period.
But are these increases just because hybrid cloud is the easiest deployment model? Often times a company will add cloud resources alongside their current infrastructure, which is considered a form of hybrid cloud. Or is it because the definition of hybrid cloud itself is shifting?
While designing a new application may be the hot development path right now, enterprise organizations have a multitude of legacy applications that should not be ignored when undertaking a cloud initiative.
If you’re preparing to migrate some or all of your applications to a cloud environment, you’ll need to examine them and determine which of these four categories they fall under. With careful planning and perhaps some investment in development, your applications will work just as well in the cloud as they did on-premise.
While debt can be a useful tool for funding your organization (Green House Data is in fact currently leveraging debt as part of our expansion plans), you need to have a payment plan and carefully manage your debt in order to continue solvency. No business owner who wants to succeed would ignore debt and just hope it sorts itself out, or pay only the minimum required to avoid bankruptcy.
Technical debt shouldn’t be ignored, either. The term refers to the practice of putting off critical infrastructure or software upgrades. Out of date systems pile up — whether it’s your overall systems architecture, an aging switch that can’t handle new network speeds, or an application that only runs on 32-bit servers — and become a mess of band-aided solutions that are ready to fall apart at any moment.
Executives should take technical debt seriously. When your CTO or IT Manager tells you they need to focus budget and staff on reducing technical debt, it’s time to listen.
Focusing on cloud initiatives as a technology problem rather than business realignment can be a major mistake. Success in the cloud comes from more than just telling your CTO that you want your systems on a cloud platform. It requires a shift in overall business strategy and clear messaging from leadership on down.
You need to identify your business goals and work backwards from there to figure out how specific cloud technologies can help solve them. This may involve the creation of a cloud team or adjusting your organization to be an agile, “DevOps” style operation.
Ultimately the core technologies your team will use in the cloud aren’t much different than the old model of IT (at least if you were already virtualized), but they do require a shift in your business model to better use the flexible resources available from cloud computing, or the development of a plan that boosts efficiency, reduces costs, and thereby improves your bottom line.
Here are a few tips to keep cloud strategy front of mind.