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On Cloud 9: The Benefits of Integrating Cloud Applications with Your MPLS Network

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Thinking it’s time to upgrade your current legacy infrastructure and integrate more Cloud applications?

If so, you’re not alone. Cloud Computing Trends of 2016 reports that “17 percent of enterprises now have more than 1,000 VMs in public cloud, up from 13 percent in 2015 [and] private cloud showed even stronger growth with 31 percent of enterprises running more than 1,000 VMs, up from 22 percent in 2015.”

Looks like everyone’s picking up and moving to the Cloud.

It’s not quite as simple to migrate to the Cloud as it is to, say, pack up your suitcase and get on the road. The process can be complex with unforeseen costs so it is important to plan and have your best team looking at all aspects of migration to make deliberate, well-informed decisions.

However with the proper strategy in place, switching your apps to the Cloud comes with plenty of benefits, which is probably why so many companies are taking the plunge.

Looking for specs on industry-leading SD-WAN solutions? Click here to download our Top SD-WAN Companies of 2016 Comparison Whitepaper today.

The Benefits of Cloud Migration

Before we dive further into Cloud Computing, let’s offer up this generally-accepted definition of what it is exactly:

the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.”

It is Internet-based, off-premise computing that generally is divided into three categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), and also three types: Private, Public and Hybrid.

For a quick explanation of the different Cloud options, check out these resources:

Cloud migration, though popular and reliable, is not for everyone. To decide if moving your apps to the Cloud is right for your business, consider the following scenarios in which a Cloud migration might be the best option.

1. You want to decrease operational costs.

Cloud Computing can decrease the operational expenses that you are currently spending to maintain your MPLS network and data center because you will have less hardware and in-house systems to operate and maintain.

A reduction in the use of your own data center will inevitable lead to a lower electricity bill and fewer data center responsibilities for your IT staff. But don’t worry that a Cloud migration means you will have to lay-off Larry who has been with the company for 30 years and has two kids in college.

The shift of network maintenance responsibilities to a Cloud provider simply means that your IT staff can have more time to focus on other aspects of your business and work more effectively.

A Cloud migration will also mean little to no capital costs for you because paying the capital investment is now the provider’s problem. Redundancy is also their problem, which means that you don’t need that extra hardware that is there just in case of system failure back-up.

2.  Your app (or apps) is experiencing increased traffic.

Congrats, you have a successful app! Who would have thought that success could come along with frustration? Our guess is every successful person ever. But, hey, who’s counting?

A successful app means more traffic, which means you need more resources to meet the increasing demand. If you are finding it difficult to find these resources on-premise, then a Cloud migration might help you by allowing you to utilize the host’s resources for a cheaper price tag than reconfiguring your in-house network.

3. You need more and more storage.

This goes hand-in-hand with number two. With increased app traffic, you may also find that it’s difficult to keep up with growing storage needs. If so, consider Cloud migration.

Although you have to pay for a host’s Cloud storage (past a certain amount), the price tag is cheaper than storing locally depending on how much storage you need.

This is a case-by-case benefit, as some apps don’t need the extra storage and are perfectly suitable for a local data center. You and your IT team will need to analyze your current network infrastructure and the possible benefits of increased Cloud storage to see which solution is best for you.

If you are having trouble meeting storage needs in-house, the aspect of the Cloud’s seemingly endless space is very appealing. Just be wary of “unlimited storage” offers as some providers have backtracked on their promises as more people migrate to the Cloud.

4. Your employees work remotely.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the Cloud, other than reduced operation costs, is it’s ability to work with our increasingly mobile lives.

If your team is or will be dispersed geographically, they can easily access apps, communicate with each other and share work with the Cloud.

Not being tied to a cable-connected data center allows whatever is stored on the Cloud to be accessed remotely. This is extremely beneficial for multi-region corporations and fits well into the hectic lives of mobile workers that are constantly traveling.

5. You want better, cheaper disaster recovery for your network.

Setting up and operating an in-house data recovery center can greatly increase your operational expenses and require more manpower, taking away from the time that your IT staff could be working on more pertinent tasks.

If you migrate to the Cloud, your host will also take care of data recovery and can do so more quickly and simply than you could in-house. With Cloud computing steadily increasing, hosts have more resources than ever to control for things like redundancies and recovery. It’s just one more thing off of your plate.

6. You wouldn’t mind passing off administrative duties to a third-party Cloud provider.

A major concern for a lot of our clients is the apprehension they feel for handing over any aspect of their business (especially data storage) to a third-party provider. If you share this concern, we feel you.

It’s an increasingly cynical world when it comes to Internet hacks and our private information. But, there are ways to negotiate SLAs with your provider to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for and to make sure they are held accountable for any failures.

If you have done your research, and you feel confident with Cloud migration –  we say go for it. With the increase in time and money, and decrease in responsibility, you can move manpower over to other business ventures like important projects that have been neglected.

7. You’re a lover of all things green.

Yes, green. The color of money.

Also, the color associated with companies that are environmentally-friendly.

If your company prides itself on utilizing green practices and being environmentally conscious, or if these are things that your customers care about, Cloud migration can lower your carbon footprint and help keep you honest.

Switching your applications to the Cloud will reduce your footprint in the following ways:

  • You will be using less energy by reducing your on-premise hardware and optimizing your network.
  • Digital filing and communication reduce the need to use paper. 
  • Allowing employees to work remotely can decrease unnecessary trips into the office (by car or public transit). 
  • You will be able to rely on what your host has done to reduce the data center’s environmental harm.
Looking for specs on industry-leading SD-WAN solutions? Click here to download our Top SD-WAN Companies of 2016 Comparison Whitepaper today.

To Migrate or Not to Migrate: What is Your Question?

Though Cloud benefits are intriguing and are prompting more and more people to use hosts for their apps and IT infrastructure, the Cloud is not for everyone.

Risks sometimes associated with the Cloud:

  1. Not being able to maintain apps that store very sensitive consumer data
  2. Decreased visibility and control of your IT team into your application performance
  3. Added latency and decreased end-user performance depending on traffic and location
  4. Hardware is controlled by a host so you lose some hands-on control.
  5. The way your app is set-up may not be compatible with Cloud architectures.
  6. If you aren’t experiencing problems with your current infrastructure, there may be no need to consider a move. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Before migrating, a strategy needs to be in place that takes into consideration all of the pros and cons of your current infrastructure and compares them to the pros and cons of a move to Cloud computing.

What you come up with will help you decide on a migration strategy.

If the Cloud benefits convince you that a move is the right decision, keep in mind some of the risks associated with migration and figure out how you can combat them.

CTC Technologies can inform you about many software solutions like Silver Peak’s Unity, an Intelligent WAN fabric that unifies your network with the public Cloud so that your IT guys and gals have increased control and visibility into application performance.

Migrating to the Cloud doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of your app control. Contact us to learn more about how CTC Technologies can help you seamlessly move your apps to the Cloud, reaping all of the benefits without losing control of your sensitive info and visibility into your app’s performance.