Taking your business to cloud can save you time and money
The rise of cloud computing technologies has been nothing short of extraordinary. Gartner predicts that by 2025, as many as 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional data centers and shift to public cloud. For a significant number of enterprise CIOs and CTOs, traditional data centers cannot handle the demands of modern applications and workloads.
Ben Kehoe, a Cloud Robotics Research Scientist at iRobot, frames the weighing up exercise in terms of competitive advantage: “For most businesses, the marginal performance gain you get by owning the technology is outweighed by the opportunity cost involved in tying up resources to support that technology. A greater competitive advantage is the ability to ship more user-facing features faster.”
Kehoe is absolutely right. In our experience, cloud computing’s value proposition is the resulting competitive advantage gained by enterprises, but what makes this value proposition so compelling is how multifaceted it is. Cloud computing technologies are able to support and facilitate an enormous number of use cases. In the most macro sense, cloud transformations free up time and money resources, but, as we plan to explore in this article, cloud delivers these benefits across multiple axes.
The case of TransferWise
TransferWise is an interesting case in point. When they began to provide services in Latin America, North America and South East Asia, the limitations of their Europe-based on premises data centres soon became apparent. Growth was suddenly hampered by the need to build out data centre partnerships with multiple vendors all over the world.
TransferWise, therefore, migrated their application environments from on-premise data centres to an AWS hybrid cloud storage architecture. This addressed pre-existing network constraints, but it also had many ancillary benefits. TransferWise were able to close down their Netherlands based data centre and were also able to reduce time spent on database administration, making huge savings in money and time.
Thomas Hewer, Technology Lead at TransferWise, talks about the principal win which comes from such a cloud solution: “With the reliability and high availability of the AWS Cloud, we have improved debit card application uptime in Europe and rolled the card out to North America, Australia, and New Zealand without requiring development of new data centres in those regions. We could not have done this without AWS.” The frictionless ease with which compute, storage, and networking resources can be provisioned and scaled is one of the public cloud’s greatest advantages. This ease allows enterprises to focus on innovation, and not matters ancillary to their business objectives.
Ryanair's 65% cost saving
Ryanair, the largest passenger airline in the world by number, is another example of an enterprise that has derived enormous benefit from moving their backup process to AWS Storage Gateway. Paul Walsh, a Senior Systems Engineer at Ryanair talks about the, frankly, painful physical backup process they lived by which is worth describing for its gory details. Backups were saved daily on physical LTO tapes and held locally until they fell out of the local back up window, at which point they were shipped to archives. Walsh estimates that for 5 - 6 years, Ryanair had to carry out tens of restores a month, which necessitated shipping to and from the backup storage facility, and of which a shocking 40% of attempted backups failed.
Moving this service to AWS derived various benefits. Not only was there a significant cost saving of 65%, but the reliability of the AWS service versus its physical counterpart was unrivaled. The business risk was carved out as physical hardware was decommissioned. Walsh also talks about ease of administration too - gone are the days of lugging physical tapes up flights of stairs and dealing with shipping orders. Instead, he just logs into the console and clicks a few buttons.
Sunny Delight's boost in profitsCloud-based migrations in the vein of the above have significant time and cost upside. A lesser spoken of benefit is that cloud-based storage solutions, with their ability to scale up and house enormous data sets, also enable enterprises to run advanced data analytics. Sunny Delight was able to integrate various siloed BI initiatives into a unified cloud-hosted suite that allowed them to derive significant new big data analytics insights. The net results were that they were able to boost profits by roughly $2 million a year and trim $195,000 in staffing costs annually. Yet another cloud use case which has enormous potential if leveraged correctly.
The new cloud hegemony is not without its challenges, though. Cloud cost management is complex with ever-changing cloud assets, new services onboarding, and dynamic pricing models. The complexity of migration projects can also easily scupper enterprises that aren’t tooled up with the right expertise - an ever more scarce asset in current climes. Nevertheless, the 3 big hyperscalers (AWS, GCP and Azure) are committing billions of dollars toward R&D a year and their offerings are improving at a breakneck pace. Whilst complexity can make cloud a difficult space to navigate, for those that do and do it well, the rewards are colossal.
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