UBISTOR WHITE PAPER: NAVIGATING THE ROAD TO THE CLOUD

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1 UBISTOR WHITE PAPER: NAVIGATING THE ROAD TO THE CLOUD

2 NAVIGATING THE ROAD TO THE CLOUD CONTENTS 03 Executive Summary 04 5 Reasons to Move to the Cloud 07 4 Step Roadmap to the Cloud 08 Conclusion 09 Sources 2

3 Executive Summary Businesses of all sizes have been hearing that they need to move to the cloud for several years, and the advantages are becoming more and more apparent. Cloud services remove the limitations and cost of managing physical IT infrastructure, making business computing more flexible, scalable and cost effective. Instead of buying hardware to run applications, companies can simply provision resources as needed, making new service deployments or business expansions faster and cheaper than in the past. One in five organizations were using the cloud for most of their production computing, and the same share were using cloud services for most or all of their storage requirements Given these compelling advantages, businesses are rushing into the cloud. A 2012 Gartner survey found that around one in five organizations were using the cloud for most of their production computing, and the same share were using cloud services for most or all of their storage requirements. Gartner analysts noted that the public cloud is cannibalizing traditional IT and will make the legacy data center irrelevant for many organizations in the years ahead. Yet while the pressure to use the cloud is strong, the route businesses must take to implement cloud services in their organization is not always clear, and many misconceptions about benefits and potential risks remain. Even though people recognize the advantages of the cloud, many remain unclear about what exactly it does Citrix survey found that 22 percent of Americans have admitted to pretending they know what the cloud is, with many doing so in a workplace setting. 3

4 Cloud services help improve business processes in intuitive ways and should be seen as a valuable tool rather than a daunting project. In reality, most consumers and businesses are already in the cloud in some way or another. Cloud services help improve business processes in intuitive ways and should be seen as a valuable tool rather than a daunting project. As an expert in business cloud implementation, with multiple petabytes under management and over a thousand projects completed, UbiStor has compiled a guide to cloud advantages and implementation to help business leaders feel more comfortable with making the transition. Five Reasons to Move to the Cloud: 1. Cloud costs don t add to traditional IT spending, they replace or lessen it Businesses have tight IT budgets, and most follow some sort of staggered three or five year refresh cycle. The prospect of spending on a new service is never going to sound appealing, particularly if it means abandoning a recent investment in new servers. However, a cloud transition does not have to be conducted all at once, and businesses can move workloads to a hosted environment in line with existing refresh cycles, shifting the cost of planned investments in hardware to new ones in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Hardware investments also come with other considerations that can add to the total cost of ownership (TCO), such as engineers to manage server architectures, over-buying resources, data center facility planning and the need for disaster recovery options. A cloud environment builds these factors into the model, providing added business continuity through remote hosting and allowing companies to see computing as a driver for core competencies rather than an added expense. 4

5 Rather than investing in data center space and server hardware up front, today s businesses can provision servers on demand in the cloud 2. Computing power is becoming a utility The cloud enables users to pay for compute resources according to use, much in the way they might pay for electricity to power their buildings. In the same way that it would be inefficient to operate an on-premise power plant, running a proprietary data center is increasingly becoming an outdated model. Rather than investing in data center space and server hardware up front, today s businesses can provision servers on demand in the cloud, making it possible to rapidly redistribute workloads, scale up services in line with business growth and experiment with new applications. Additionally, computing power can be purchased piecemeal in the cloud, allowing for a high degree of customization. As opposed to the all-in-one model of some traditional enterprise environments, businesses can choose to host some functions such as backup or application workloads in the cloud while retaining on-premise systems. June 2010 February 2012 An Aberdeen Group study found the average cost of an hour of downtime rose 65 percent from June 2010 to February The cloud removes the challenges of the traditional data center Operating a data center requires organizations to plan for downtime and disaster recovery, and these concerns are only increasing as more business processes are digitized. An Aberdeen Group study found the average cost of an hour of downtime rose 65 percent from June 2010 to February 2012, to nearly $161,000. To protect against downtime, many organizations invest in a second backup site, ideally at a geographic remove from the original location to reduce the risk of a single disaster taking out both locations. UbiStor s cloud services not only eliminate the cost of second location, but also build in geographic diversity by relying on a large network of data centers around the country. With this distributed infrastructure, downtime is reduced to zero, a benefit that makes the investment worthwhile by itself. Since such an architecture might make some users uncomfortable, UbiStor customers can also access their physical servers and manage their environment if they prefer to, allowing businesses to retain the same level of control without the associated infrastructure management costs. 5

6 54 percent of Americans who claim to never use cloud computing, 95 percent actually do in some form. NMM UM SM QM OM M 4. The cloud offers enterprise-class infrastructure and security Businesses avoiding the cloud often cite uptime and security as their two biggest concerns, but, in reality, few companies have the resources to build a data center as safe and reliable as the ones that run the cloud. Since cloud providers have a large number of customers, they can access certain economies of scale that remain out of reach for all but the largest companies. UbiStor s cloud uses enterprise-class network security controls, making it as secure or more than an internal network, and all transmissions and stored data are encrypted. Each customer s servers are siloed from other users in the cloud. UbiStor also has industry certifications such as SSAE-16 SOC 2, which outline processes and controls with full audit trails which can be difficult for smaller businesses to obtain and manage independently. Additionally, companies have access to cloud software tools for storage management and security that do not interfere with their own computing loads. The data centers running UbiStor s cloud have best-in-class physical security controls, such as biometric scanners and mantraps, and they offer of uptime. With the cloud, any organization can access these enterprise features, whether it has 50 employees or 50, You re already in the cloud Regardless of any fears or misunderstandings about cloud services, nearly everyone is already using them. The Citrix study found that of the 54 percent of Americans who claim to never use cloud computing, 95 percent actually do in some form, whether that includes online banking, social media or online file storage. In business, many popular services, including Gmail and Salesforce, operate in the cloud, and many users may already be making use of consumer-grade cloud options such as Dropbox in lieu of approved, business-class offerings. Companies shouldn t let the name intimidate them: the cloud is likely already being used throughout their organization, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Furthermore, businesses can assume the advantages in flexibility and scalability are attractive to their competitors as well. Organizations risk being left behind by more nimble competitors if they fail to adopt solutions that will enhance their flexibility as well. 6

7 Summary Adapting to cloud is different for every organization: Cloud services can be adopted gradually, replacing on-premise functions as needed. A Four-Step Roadmap to the Cloud Each organization s journey to the cloud is slightly different, but the flexible nature of a hosted environment makes it easy to transition data and applications following a customized model. Since cloud transitions are often built into existing refresh cycles, the server loads that get moved into the cloud often vary according to which parts of its IT infrastructure a business is looking to update. Fortunately, one of the benefits of the cloud is that it is not necessary to make wholesale changes all at once. Most organizations follow a hybrid adoption approach, keeping some systems on-premise while moving certain functions into the cloud. No matter where your organization is in its cloud transition process - whether you re looking at putting some data in the cloud for the first time, considering moving to a fully hosted model or leveraging the cloud for disaster recovery - UbiStor can help develop a custom migration and management plan. While the specific process varies according to need, UbiStor recommends the following four-step adoption roadmap for businesses using the cloud for the first time, as these steps allow organizations to develop familiarity with the cloud in increments: 1. Use the cloud for data protection The simplest and most common use for the cloud is as a way to move backup business data off site. Instead of building a second data center for disaster recovery, organizations can store data on hosted servers, allowing them to retrieve in the wake of a business disruption. Cloud storage is inexpensive, secure and easy to use, making it a great starting point for hesitant companies. Complete end-to-end encryption and 100% customizable backup and retention schemas are just a few of the robust features provided. 7

8 By storing server images remotely, companies can improve their recovery time objective (RTO) 2. Use the cloud for server recovery After moving static databases to the cloud, organizations often next choose to use the environment to store full server backups, as this is the next level of business continuity protection. By storing server images remotely, companies can improve their recovery time objective (RTO) over legacy data centers for spinning servers back up to predisaster operations - often cutting RTO from three days to one. The lack of live replication means that this service is still relatively cheap, making it a manageable intermediary step and perfect for the important but not critical applications.. 3. Use the cloud for application failover By fully and continuously replicating server data rather than simply storing server images, organizations can further decrease their RTO, making it possible to bring applications back online in the wake of a disaster in a matter of an hour or two, as opposed to a day. While this level of hosting still requires a declaration, it offers the faster recovery window for critical applications. Understanding the complete soft and hard cost of a specific critical applications downtime quickly helps all stewards of the business realize the value of business continuity. 4. Use the cloud for full hosting services Organizations that move primary workloads into the cloud build disaster recovery into their infrastructure, and they are also able to access the full range of the platform s flexibility, scalability and redundancy benefits. Fully hosting applications and data in the cloud can enable businesses to reduce or eliminate their traditional IT infrastructure and shift to a model in which they pay for resources as needed, cutting costs. New applications, upgrades or refresh cycles all present great opportunities to efficiently leverage the cloud. Conclusion The cloud is becoming a necessary investment for today s businesses, but making the transition away from on-premise systems does not have to be intimidating. By moving processes to the cloud incrementally, following UbiStor s recommended roadmap, the hosted environment will soon seem like a natural extension of existing computing functions. To develop a custom solution that fits your specific business needs and begin your cloud migration process, work with UbiStor, an industry leader in data and system protection, recovery, hosting and infrastructure solutions. 8

9 Sources most-americans-confused-by-cloud-computing-accordingto-national.html rising/ 9

10 UBISTOR UbiStor 1111 N. Plaza Dr. Suite 600 Schaumburg, IL, United States 10

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