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Is Your IT Environment a Barrier to the Cloud?

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The promise of cloud services as the means of delivering applications and services is quite attractive. However, in the rush to adopt cloud services, a few myths have been created that can lead to bad decisions and botched implementations. One myth that has created more problems than most is the belief that, by using the cloud, a company doesn’t have to worry about its on-premises IT infrastructure or the support systems for it.

The assertion that cloud service providers “handle everything” is not really true. They provide access to the services as long as your equipment can get you to their data center. While this may reduce the load on your servers and potentially your storage hardware, in many instances using the cloud creates a need for new networking hardware to support much higher wide-area network (WAN) utilization both in terms of number of users and the amount of data traffic. When companies want to use multiple network carriers for cost, reliability, and performance issues, the result may be more network hardware than initially expected.

In addition, relying on cloud services means the network infrastructure that gets you to the cloud must be highly available and reliable. If your network is down, there will be no access to cloud services. In some organizations, the demands for uptime and the reliability of the on-premises infrastructure to get to the cloud are higher than the legacy uptime demands for on-premises servers and other hardware. The physical facilities that house this equipment must be highly reliable and available. And many data centers or server rooms in small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t meet that requirement.

It’s essential that you house your network equipment in an environment that has the power, cooling, and manageability necessary to keep it reliable, as the business now depends on it. Today’s latest generation of switches and routers have similar thermal characteristics and demands as servers. For this reason, you need physical infrastructure (racks, power distribution/provisioning, and cooling) that can stand up to the demands for high availability. It is also important that your physical infrastructure has a substantial amount of agility and scalability, as the use of cloud services often grows and changes over time. This will likely impact the on-premises equipment population.

A second myth that needs to be exploded is that with cloud services you can put everything into the cloud. This would be nice, but it rarely comes to pass. There are two key reasons for this. First, the cost of loading everything up to the cloud can be quite high, and some things are still cheaper “in-house.” Second, some sensitive or private data may have to stay on-premises to meet legal or compliance directives. As a result, the same highly reliable, scalable, and dependable physical infrastructure can be leveraged to ensure that the remaining on-premises equipment is well supported.

To learn more about how you can have this kind of modern and reliable infrastructure to support both cloud-focused and more traditional on-premises IT equipment, follow this link.

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