Transitioning your data centre to the cloud: A CIO's guide

Those involved in the technology world are used to things changing quickly, but it’s likely that few anticipated how fast organisations would shift from managing on-premises data centre infrastructure to declaring a moratorium on it and moving to the cloud. Not too long ago, many CIOs thought a hybrid approach was the way to go, since it seemed that some workloads just didn’t belong in the cloud and that public cloud security was not wholly adequate.

Today, though, that thinking has shifted as well. Most CIOs now believe that the big 3 public cloud providers can do a better job of securing their corporate apps and data, and CIOs in both the public and private sectors are issuing directives to avoid on-premises data centre infrastructure investments in favour of moving to the cloud. At this point, IT teams that continue to make on-premises data centre investments will have some explaining to do. In a recent report, Prepare for the Death of the Datacenter as We Know It, Gartner Research Director Tiny Haynes stated, “By 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centre, versus 10 percent today.”

If the Gartner report is right, in a little less than seven years the vast majority of on-site data centres will be gone. That’s a huge change. What does this mean for your organisation, and what do you need to do to prepare?

The strategic value of cloud computing

More and more enterprises are realising that there is little to no strategic value for the company in their on-premises data centre infrastructure. They have quickly evolved to a place where moving to the cloud is enabling the flexibility, compute power and business agility they need to achieve their corporate growth goals.

It no longer makes sense to spend money on and deal with the complexity of managing and maintaining a data centre. It’s not just about the maintenance overhead of on-premises infrastructure; among the many compelling reasons for cloud computing is the ability to hire talent anywhere in the world and pursue new business regardless of geography. This opens up revenue opportunities that were just not addressable because of the computing limitations organisations face with on-premises data centre infrastructure. In a nutshell: Cloud computing brings business agility that has never before been possible.

In addition, AI, machine learning and other cloud-enabled technologies are poised to revolutionise entire industry sectors, and CIOs are considering the possibilities for their own organisations. This is particularly true in healthcare and life sciences, where cloud computing allows for unprecedented data analytics that will quite literally save lives. You’re just not going to get there with an on-premises data centre. 

PC in the cloud solutions are a turning point

Clearly, business is migrating toward the cloud, and that migration will look different depending on the regulations and existing infrastructure each enterprise must deal with. A high-impact way to start is adopting a PC in the cloud solution. Whether you are working with physical desktops and workstations now or you’re grappling with complex and costly on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), cloud-native virtual desktop options exist that will surprise you with their simplicity, instant scalability and performance.

As you consider PC in the cloud solutions, be aware that there is a huge difference between cloud-native solutions and those that are merely cloud-enabled. A cloud-native virtual desktop solution is built for the cloud; it’s the only way to achieve the benefits of robust security, instant scalability and better-than-PC performance. When you put your PCs and workstations in the cloud, you can overcome the complexity, poor performance and high price of legacy VDI solutions. Maintaining your own infrastructure for virtual desktops is no longer necessary, and even better, making the move to cloud PCs brings with it a whole new level of agility, and that can add up to a competitive advantage for your organisation.

Many options today

Though many CIOs are eager to step away from running a data centre, there are those who remain hesitant, either because of investments they’ve already made or because they face regulatory requirements that complicate moving data to the cloud. It’s certainly not trivial to make the move, but there are more options today to accommodate those who need to keep an on-premises presence or need to take an incremental approach to moving to the cloud.

Reclaiming IT’s time

Although it may not be obvious at first glance, your IT team will become more strategic to the business as your data centre infrastructure becomes less strategic. That’s because cloud computing frees these smart, highly valuable resources from “keeping the lights on” tasks associated with managing data centre and virtual desktop infrastructure. Sure, some of them will need to acquire new skills to navigate your cloud infrastructure, whether those are coding skills, big data experience or soft skills that will help them communicate technology considerations and decisions to the C-suite. Supporting that transition for valuable IT personnel is a no-brainer when you consider that end-user computing in your organisation will become simple, secure and future-proof, with IT teams focused squarely on driving business goals.

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