Can Cloud Database PaaS Solutions Replace In-House Systems?

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1 Can Cloud Database PaaS Solutions Replace In-House Systems? Abstract: With the advent of Platform-as-a-Service as a viable alternative to traditional database solutions, there is a great deal of interest in PaaS among IT Decision Makers and Business Decision Makers at enterprise-class organizations. This white paper covers aspects of PaaS that organizations should explore when deciding whether solutions in the cloud can fully replace the functionality of onsite database infrastructure and processes. PaaS Is Rapidly Gaining Momentum In 2010, technology research experts at Gartner, Inc. jolted the business world with a shocking prediction. They suggested that by the end of 2012, one out of five companies will not directly own any IT hardware assets (1). Is this type of transition really possible? Such a dramatic change is certainly more likely among smaller firms rather than enterprise level organizations. However, many large businesses are beginning to streamline IT by divesting themselves of infrastructure that has become too costly to maintain. Obviously, these businesses now feel comfortable with hosting at least some data and processes in the cloud instead of on-site. This confidence in the quality and reliability of cloud services is spreading. Another recent Gartner survey found that 40% of organizations already support 10% or more of their business processes in private or public clouds (2) and a 2011 Network Instruments survey of almost 100 participants at the Las Vegas Interop convention found that one out of five had deployed some form of PaaS (3). Once a new technology achieves this level of market penetration, it s time to begin thinking seriously about how your organization might benefit. Who Wants to Move to the Cloud? It may surprise you to learn that IT is not always the driving force behind the decision to migrate to the cloud. More than half the companies studied by Gartner funded cloud business process management initiatives out of their line-of-business budget not from their IT budget. This money trail indicates that business leaders in operational and general strategic planning roles are as likely as IT professionals to initiate a move toward cloud solutions. When business leaders take ownership of their information technology, powerful transformations can occur very quickly. Issues with Traditional Systems make PaaS an Attractive Alternative Traditional database solutions in use by most large enterprises generally deliver the necessary level of basic functionality to maintain business operations. However, inefficiencies and shortcomings in on-site platform solutions often place constraints on strategic planning and entail high ongoing costs. Consider a switch to PaaS if you re looking for improvement in one or more of the following areas:

2 Increased Agility When your business is locked into a rigid on-site platform structure, it has less flexibility to evolve. In many cases, the design of the infrastructure itself is an impediment to change. PaaS tends to be designed around a dynamic services model that has adaptability built into the architecture rather than being available only through the addition of individual applications. This departure from the siloed approach to data management permits easier resource sharing. The agility of the cloud platform also lends itself to more effective management of resources. Since access is readily scalable with an advanced PaaS provider, your businesses can acquire more space and computing power as needed to develop and test new products. Lower IT Costs You re probably aware of the most popular benefit of PaaS cloud computing: a positive impact on IT expenses. Outsourcing to a third party reduces your capital costs for on-site infrastructure and licenses. Cloud providers achieve greater economies of scale compared to dedicated on-site servers and database platforms. These savings are passed through to you. The pay-for service model allows you to treat platform costs as regular operating expenses. This approach has potential tax benefits and also makes it simpler for you to budget for IT costs month to month. ROI is typically achieved much faster than with a traditional platform since your up-front investment is minimal. The fact that service (regular maintenance, security, periodic upgrades, backups, etc.) is bundled into the pricing agreement limits the risk of unexpected costs. Greater IT Alignment with Business Goals With a PaaS solution, your IT department has reduced responsibility for managing the database platform. The vendor is responsible for ensuring the system is operational and minimizing downtime. They handle backups, patching, maintenance, and so forth. This frees internal IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives rather than being tied up with administrative or operational tasks. Funding set aside for IT can be targeted at adding new capabilities that have readily identifiable business value. Perceived Disadvantages of Standard PaaS Solutions While the benefits of PaaS make the idea of transitioning appealing, you may still hesitate because of perceived or real challenges associated with the cloud model. Frequent areas of concern for enterpriselevel organizations involve: Data and network security Availability of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for appropriate accountability Privacy and degree of control over database content and processes Compatibility with enterprise-level products and drivers Complexity of implementation Ability to add value rather than simply moving existing functions to the cloud

3 You re not wrong to have these concerns. The array of PaaS database solutions currently available varies widely in ability to fully meet enterprise customer needs and requirements. For example, the major cloud-based PaaS providers often focus on providing only storage space and basic data management rather than high-level, fully relational database technology. Freshly launched offerings from smaller players in the PaaS market may offer niche solutions that are useful in specific industries but lack a proven track record for keeping SLA commitments. Critical Questions You Should Ask Collaboration between business leaders and IT personnel within your organization is critical in evaluating whether a PaaS solution offers the functionality and security to replace an existing in-house system. For example, the CIO, COO, and Director of Procurement might all need to be involved in the bid specification and contract award process to ensure that technical requirements, business goal alignment, and cost efficiencies are given adequate consideration. Below are some of the questions that your decision-makers should ask potential PaaS providers during the evaluation process: Factors that May Affect Data and Network Security What levels of connection and database encryption are available? Is a dedicated domain used to provide trusted authentication? How are dedicated TCP ports used to control access? What layers of security are implemented to create multiple obstacles to unauthorized access? Can access be further restricted to control each user s permissions within the database? Factors that May Affect Business Operations Is burstable processing power readily available to meet short-notice or seasonal needs? What backup and restore options are provided for databases hosted via PaaS? Are both private and public options available to meet business requirements? What is the vendor s track record for service availability? Can services be managed through a portal? Factors that May Affect Costs How does the total cost of ownership (TCO) for PaaS compare to the existing dedicated database server? Is a lengthy contract required to obtain affordable pricing or are month-to-month terms available? Which party handles any software licensing? Can additional services be purchased on an as needed basis? How might access to a flexible cloud computing system accelerate time to revenue? As you explore each of these questions, you should take the opportunity to query vendors on the specifics of how each service requirement is met. This approach will help eliminate providers who are making unsubstantiated service claims.

4 The Solution - SAVVIS Symphony Database At Savvis, we deploy industry leading databases such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle into our Symphony cloud. This high performance PaaS offering is designed by our enterprise-class, global IT experts to meet the needs of large-scale business clients. Symphony Database is currently the only solution specifically developed to provide affordable, customizable PaaS database cloud technology for the enterprise level business sphere. The Savvis approach delivers the benefits and cost savings of Best of Breed PaaS and guarantees satisfaction with SLAs that meet our customers availability requirements. Here s what you can expect from your Symphony Database solution: Instant availability We have the capacity to supply all of your database and compute resource needs right now. You can immediately connect and begin using our services to host your data and run your business processes in the cloud. Ease of implementation Our SQL Server and Oracle offerings are compatible with the most popular applications. Upload a backup of your existing database securely through the Savvis portal to quickly recreate your database on the cloud with just a few clicks. Or, create a new, empty database in the cloud and run DDL scripts to populate it quickly and efficiently from your chosen application. Instant scalability We provide access to more storage space and burstable processing power at any time to handle any workload. You can run massive batch jobs or use extra resources to develop and test new applications to meet your core business goals. Multiple layers of security Network encryption, firewalls, credentials, permissions, authentication, and other physical, technological, and administrative privacy features make the Symphony Database an exceptionally secure environment for your data. An availability service level of 99.99% We understand that constant uptime is essential for the smooth operation of your business. Maintaining our customers access to critical business data is a top priority. All necessary software licenses But you still just pay a low monthly bill instead of the high upfront investment for software purchased for on-premise systems. Additional services, any time Our customers can request data replication and backup storage as needed. These services are provisioned on a per GB basis. With Symphony Database, you only pay for what you use, giving you control over your costs at all times. Automated database maintenance We handle the administrative upkeep including all maintenance and upgrade activities for this database solution, allowing you to focus IT resources on making your business more productive.

5 Special features with Microsoft SQL Server Get database mirroring, snapshots, and encryption that add functionality and extra security to your system. Conclusion The PaaS industry has achieved sufficient maturity to support enterprise level customers. Businesses that continue to delay making the transition to this more cost-effective, agile system may face disadvantages in the marketplace compared to competitors who are accessing the advantages of cloud computing. However, organizations should take steps to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of PaaS technology and services prior to migration to ensure that these benefits are realized. We hope this white paper has given you the information you need to begin exploring your options. To learn how your organization can rapidly deploy a solution that pairs the integrity you expect from an in-house IT department with the advanced capabilities of cloud computing, contact our client advisors at: or visit Sources for Cited Statistics: (1) Gartner's Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2010 and Beyond: A New Balance (2) "The State of the BPM Platform Cloud Market, 2011 Gartner, Inc. (3) Improved Service Availability and Scalability Drive Cloud Network Instruments; May 10, 2011

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