By now, you’re well-versed in all the cool stuff the cloud has to offer.
Advanced analytics, faster speeds, and more flexibility are all things that have helped cloud adoption rates skyrocket over the past few years (today, more than a third of organizations see cloud investments as a top three investing priority). But there’s arguably an even better benefit of the cloud: It’s completely malleable. That means, no matter your business scenario, you can use the cloud in a ton of different ways to uniquely fulfill your long term—or short term—goals.
Here are the three most common business scenarios for cloud computing, and how you can use cloud services to finally jump-start your digital transformation.
Use Case #1: Leveraging a hybrid cloud model to jumpstart the migration process.
You’d consider this use case if: Your current application and on-premises infrastructure environment has an active user community, but it’s often met with constant demands for changes and enhancements. You know you need a more modern solution to meet those needs, but you’re unsure about moving your entire operations to the cloud.
Here’s what to expect: A hybrid cloud approach lets you optimize your current enterprise application landscape by moving non-production infrastructure to a dynamic cloud environment. For example, you can retain your production and quality assurance application instances in your current infrastructure while moving all non-production instances—like development, training, and testing—to the cloud.
A lot of businesses choose this as a starting point in their cloud migration journey because it helps them reduce their data center footprint and better prepare their staff for a more expansive cloud strategy down the road. In other words, this is a less-intimidating, low-risk way to reap the benefits of the cloud without having to go all-in right away.
Here are the benefits for leveraging a hybrid cloud model:
- Better cash flow: By moving a heavily utilized non-production landscape to a cloud landscape, you can optimize your cash resources. You’ll eliminate the need to purchase costly hardware everytime you need more storage. Instead, you can leverage application instances everytime you need to scale your infrastructure up or down—so you’re only paying for what you need, when you need it.
- Increased speed and flexibility: Unlike traditional infrastructure, the cloud helps you react to changes (like fluctuations in data storage needs) quickly and efficiently. For example, the cloud eliminates the process of manually adding more storage (like physically shipping and installing new hardware), and instead lets you receive instances that are configured and ready for functional use in a matter of minutes. This dramatically enhances the user experience, allowing your users to access updated systems with no disruption to the business.
- Reduced IT resource constraints: Like most businesses, you probably experience an endless stream of requests for your critical (and limited) IT resources. Each of these requests usually require deep technical skills, too. The cloud’s simplified and easily-consumable features and automated processes will help your IT team support a larger number of initiatives, instead of becoming a bottleneck or resource constraint.
Use Case #2: Leveraging the cloud to automate your disaster recovery solution.
You’d consider this use case if: You’re currently a hardware-focused business, and you’re still investing in resources that are idle, lack automation, and aren’t tested on a regular basis. You might also have a disaster recovery strategy that isn’t truly physically independent, or it’s dependent on multiple co-location providers.
Here’s what to expect: Traditionally, protecting your business from a natural disaster, cyber attack, or major infrastructure outage meant deploying and maintaining sizable hardware to keep your data safe. Oftentimes, you’d also have to employ the skills, process, and technology to conduct recovery tests on a regular basis to ensure backup files, log files, and database files are all fully recoverable within a reasonable outage window. It’s an overwhelming and time-consuming task.
Moving your disaster recovery strategy to the cloud, however, simplifies the process. The cloud’s built-in resilience and durability offers a secure backup solution, ensuring a tight recovery window without all the upfront capital and software investment.
Here are the benefits of this using the cloud for more reliable Disaster Recovery:
- Improved total cost of ownership: A cloud-based solution can save more than 70% when compared to more traditional approaches to disaster recovery. That’s because the costs of having compute resources on standby are eliminated, and the only costs you incur are solely based on usage.
- Higher data and recovery assurance: Once your disaster recovery solution is set up in the cloud, the recovery testing process can be automated and validated at periodic intervals. This gives you peace of mind that your data is always protected.
- Better resource optimization: Because many of the disaster recovery processes are automated, standardized, and repeatable once you move them to the cloud, you’ll be able to keep your IT resources focused on their core activities and priorities.
Use Case #3: Leveraging the cloud to manage, extend, and enhance your existing applications.
You’d consider this use case if: You’re happy with your current enterprise applications, but you want more out of them. You strive to be a world-class digital business, which means you’re always looking for new offerings, new innovations, and new features that can set you apart from your competitors. But with this push for innovation comes a challenge: Your existing budgets are being absorbed by the traditional data center costs, making it hard to enact the change you need.
Here’s what to expect: If your current enterprise application supports a large network of global users, it’s time to pivot towards next-generation technology that can promise big data, IoT, and advanced analytics: The cloud. Migrating your technical landscapes to the cloud helps you seamlessly manage and support the breadth of applications across the entire enterprise all in one user-friendly, highly-accessible place. The cloud also opens up new opportunities to experiment with innovative features that can extend the capabilities of your current applications—like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Here are the benefits of using the cloud the manage your complex applications:
- Lower total cost of ownership: Moving your enterprise applications to the cloud gives you a chance to optimize the landscape to better align with your usage. That means instead of investing a ton of upfront costs into hardware that may go partially unused, you’re only paying for what you need.
- More flexibility: Before the cloud, you probably had to manually update your hardware to accommodate high-growth periods. But when your enterprise applications are hosted in the cloud, memory can be optimized based on actual usage. For example, for non-production environments that may have required periodic, high-activity data usage (like testing or training), you no longer need to allocate and dedicate hardware infrastructure. Instead, you can subscribe to the exact amount of storage you need, even if it’s for a finite period of time.
- Improved reliability and resiliency: The cloud protects your investment thanks to its ability to leverage geographically diverse data centers. This gives you a more reliable and resilient infrastructure, so you no longer have to worry about unplanned downtime. It also gives your end-user community improved application availability and the potential for better application performance.
Now that you know how to use the cloud.
How do you get the rest of your team on board? It starts with building a strong business case. Check out our guide on how to build a business case that’ll help you get to the cloud faster.