By Jo Debecker, Managing Partner and Global Head of Wipro FullStride Cloud.
How a data centre exit strategy can prove to be more valuable than you might think
The benefits of the cloud are no secret to businesses. What can often be a mystery, however, is how to adopt it smoothly.
Almost all companies have a cloud strategy, aiming to capture improved operational flexibility, cost savings and innovation opportunities. The rewards for a successful migration are huge: cloud transitions can reduce total cost of ownership by 20-45%+. This process has been accelerated by the pandemic, with capabilities from data backup and disaster recovery to software development and testing becoming even more vital. Cloud can also help to reduce a business’s carbon footprint, and allows for both flexibility and scalability, so that companies can scale up and down where necessary.
Businesses generally accept that migrating from on-premises data centres to the cloud can be a complex, purely practical, and sometimes even painful exercise. But, what many companies might not know is that by monetising their data centre exits, they can also make money by switching to the cloud, offsetting the upfront costs that may be standing in the way.
It is understandable that once the decision has been made to migrate to the cloud, businesses are anxious to move fast, and rely on tried and true internal teams. However, this underestimates the size and specific knowledge needed to complete the task in an efficient manner.
Many logistical and financial barriers exist around exiting a data centre. For example, fees may apply to those who try to break their contract early, and hardware must be decommissioned correctly and within regulation in order to avoid more fines. There is also the question of where the equipment goes and whether or not companies can recoup their expenses. Addressing all these concerns can take time, but the longer businesses wait to exit their data centres, the more pressure they may feel to get ahead of the curve, resulting in rushed timelines, missed opportunities and further costs.
In addition to these challenges, companies also have to transition their applications from the data centre to the cloud—a complex and time-consuming process. For example, a typical retail bank might have four data centres running over 3000 applications and 50,000 servers. Alternatively, applications might be spread out over multiple business units, regions, or thousands of virtual machines, with little coordination between them. When the migration of vital applications goes wrong, it can too often result in a ‘double bubble’ scenario, in which businesses find themselves stuck, mid-exit, between the data centre and the cloud. Applications tend to become more complex as the transition progresses, the data sources become harder to trace and the project can stall out, increasing costs, decreasing efficiency and exposing the company to security risks.
Similarly, any lengthy downtime for servers can be highly costly, restricting key business functions and leading to unexpected revenue shortfalls. Add to this strict regulatory requirements for certain industries, and the importance of managing the situation expertly becomes clear.
All of these scenarios highlight that cloud migrations can be complicated, and working with an experienced partner can prevent issues from piling up and overwhelming an internal team’s resources.
Cloud migration experience can also make a surprising difference in other ways: not just avoiding unexpected costs and delays, but monetising the process too. Partners are adept at liquidating legacy assets such as hardware and facilities. Further, they can help businesses to be bought out of data centre lease commitments, meaning they aren’t stuck with continued and unnecessary costs. When large migration projects can involve cutting down twelve data centres to two, that is a lot of potential cost savings on the table.
Facing the dreaded ‘double bubble’ problem, there are even temporary cloud-like interfaces that exit partners can equip companies with as they transition, so that they can begin to see the benefits while planning next steps—an especially important element as it means businesses can move at their own pace and work within timeframes that suit them best.
By providing companies with interim solutions, these programmes free businesses from assets that are weighing them down and help them to reach a hybrid cloud state until the switch is complete. Meanwhile temporary ‘single pane of glass’ reporting solutions can shed vital visibility on the migration process, allaying leadership fears until the programme is complete.
There is no doubt that transitioning from the data centre to the cloud can be challenging. It can be costly, and without the right expertise, a slow and arduous process, leaving companies in a difficult position. But the rewards for getting the process right are huge. From greater cost savings, to increased flexibility and operational agility.
Working with the right partner can alleviate some of the pressures associated with exiting the data centre—including costs and the technological expertise required with switching to the cloud—and empower businesses to start making the changes they need to grow stronger, smarter and even more sustainable.
Cloud migration can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to happen en masse, nor does it have to be handled by a company’s IT team alone. In a rapid period of digital transformation and innovation, companies need to adapt; but start the transition now and you’ll reap the rewards right away, as well as for years to come.
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