There can be a tendency to think too simplistically about the benefits of moving applications to the cloud. Traditional logic centres around the cost savings that companies can make out of the shift from on-premise deployments but there is another, more important element of the cloud that should be given more credence – speed. The need for speed amongst enterprise organisations is critical, and, with growing understanding and competence, enterprise organisations are harnessing the potential of operating mission-critical applications in the cloud.
More Than Meets The Eye
When thinking of speed and the cloud, raw compute power tends to immediately spring to mind. The cloud can provide an environment where existing applications can run up to seven times faster than they would on-premise, giving enterprises the chance to work in real-time, completing tasks in minutes that would otherwise have taken hours. But in fact this is one of the least important benefits of speed that cloud can bring, there are more types of speed in cloud computing that large businesses can take advantage of.
There is an increasing level of knowledge around cloud that means that the key question is no longer “should we follow the cloud model?” but “how can cloud computing best serve the business’ needs”. What are the significant improvements to business performance? This is where the other layers of speed come into play. The speed of deployment is the first key factor to consider. New and existing applications can be deployed` and changed in the cloud within minutes, a process that would previously soak up weeks or months at a time. Immediate productivity benefits can be seen without impacting performance through a lengthy migration process.
A flexible cloud environment is giving enterprise organisations the chance to operate with the agility of the newest tech start-up, enabling them to respond to changing business pressures in as close to real-time as possible. Just look at John Lewis. The retail giant has recently initiated a huge ERP rollout replacing a significant number of legacy systems across the business.
In a sector such as retail, moving critical applications to the cloud gives them the ability to deal with seasonal peaks in demand without impacting the service delivered to customers. All year round, the same level of service can be guaranteed to individual customers, allowing a retailer to widen its customer base at no expense of quality. Put simply, the speed with which a cloud deployment can allow businesses to move frees them up to pursue growth rather than just replacing a system that just keeps them ticking over. It allows the enterprise to take the lift to growth rather than the stairs.
Now that any mission-critical application can be run in the cloud it’s possible to apply cloud speed to every aspect of IT, and by working with a cloud provider IT departments can free themselves up to address the new (and exciting) new business needs rather than ‘just keeping the lights on’.
Don’t Forget The Basics
What enterprises must not forget, in their attempt to gain the flexibility and responsiveness of a tech start-up, are the unique challenges that they face. It is true that many businesses have to cope with seasonal peaks in demand, whether that be a retailer around Christmas time or a financial services company meeting monthly audit requirements.
Yet, unlike an SMB, coping with these spikes in the enterprise is a much more complex scenario. Such organisations cannot afford for exceptional demand for resources to impact their core activities and workloads that must be guaranteed day in day out. This is where the cloud comes into its own, allowing the enterprise to scale up or down according to demand, allocating the correct compute/storage/networking resources to ensure high performance across the board.
Speed is a key indicator of the maturing attitudes amongst large businesses about cloud. For many, the question of moving mission-critical applications to the cloud is no longer a concern. Now the focus lies more with how enterprises can get the most out of the cloud and where they can do it.
The different facets of speed, from the raw pace of application performance through to deployment and the ability to dynamically change cloud environments are elements that companies are now focusing on more and more as awareness grows. The case for cloud computing is being won but the enterprise is now waking up to the need for speed at all levels of the business. Cost savings are one thing, but the speed of the cloud is what will make them the top gun of the business world.