A recent article in InformationWeek states that “even with cloud, companies don’t want to give up their internal data centers.” The article explains why companies have been reluctant to give up their internal data centers, but the truth is that companies ascribing to these reasons are going to be left behind. To maintain a competitive advantage today, IT systems must modernize. That means enterprises need to shift their resources away from running data centers and back to their core competencies.
We chatted with our VP of Cloud and Systems Engineering, Todd Barrack, on why the enterprise should let go of their internal corporate data centers, and the benefits of entrusting IT to a managed service provider.
Existing System Investments Are a Sunk Cost
It might seem easier to maintain existing systems without moving them to the cloud, but this keeps enterprises tied to single points of failure from a human resource perspective. By maintaining the status quo, enterprises are maintaining private data centers, people, and systems at great expense when they don’t have to. Maintaining old systems does not give companies a clear competitive advantage because they are missing out on new functionality from the cloud.
The challenge these companies have with making the move to cloud is that it’s a highly customized undertaking. There are companies, like Unitas, that specialize in moving customized private infrastructure into cloud implementations, and for enterprise resource planning (ERP) specifically.
Lifecycle Management is Inefficient and Costly
If a company maintains on-premise data centers, they also must maintain all the parts of on-premise IT that go with it. One example is the hardware refreshes that must be done every three to five years. The costs for this kind of IT program are not fixed: the refreshes require major capital expenses plus a very large operating expense.
An organization must also consider disaster recovery and business continuity. Companies without a large geographic presence often maintain a few data center locations in close proximity to each other. A power outage occurs that covers both locations could be a serious problem. When working with Unitas, that is not a concern. We set up our disaster recovery solutions so the disaster recovery site is located in a separate power grid from the primary site.
If an enterprise is maintaining their own internal corporate data center, they need staff members with network and systems expertise. Someone must know storage and security. It is difficult to find just one or two people with the breadth of knowledge that it takes to maintain all of those requirements.
Moving computing to the cloud means the requirement for expertise in-house is less. When enterprises choose a partner like Unitas, they don’t need to worry about the human capital overhead or the churn. We have all the skill sets needed to build, manage, and maintain enterprise cloud and connectivity.
Myth: Security Is Higher for Internal Data Centers
Enterprises have to do their homework when looking for a cloud company and make sure the one they select has solid security. At Unitas, security is a top priority. (Read more on how we advise companies keep up their security and resiliency while working from home.)
Internal data centers are still susceptible to hacks and attacks. Because running a data center is not the primary business for most enterprise companies, the physical controls for their internal data centers are not up to the standards of the Tier III data centers where Unitas hosts our clients’ infrastructure. The data centers we use have top of the line physical controls in place, including verification, validation, and ID checks. These help ensure a high level of security for our clients’ data.
Many organizations do not have the human capital or the knowledge in-house to meet compliance standards, so they outsource it. For example, when paying a utility bill online there may be a convenience fee added. The reason for this is that the site is using a third-party company to provide their PCI compliance, because they don’t have the capability to offer it in-house. Unitas provides support for companies like this so they don’t have to self-certify.
Greater Agility and Flexibility Are Achieved Through Cloud
Many companies like to keep internal data centers for their workloads and utilize external data centers for disaster recovery. This is largely in effort to maintain control of their own networks. While that was a fine strategy in the past, SD-WAN and connectivity have been game-changers for cloud like virtualization was a game changer for hardware. In the past, companies had to trust in the CoS setting to prioritize data across shared networks. But with SD-WAN, they do not need to rely on their old network models, and companies have visibility into data routes and prioritization. Utilizing connectivity solutions like those from Unitas, companies can reach and manage all of their points very easily from the cloud, including the last mile.
Tying back to what we discussed earlier in this article, internal corporate data centers require the company to maintain infrastructure. By outsourcing data center maintenance to a specialist, enterprises gain flexibility by freeing up resources who can focus on the company’s core business applications.
With Cloud, Failover Does Not Mean Lost Productivity
Cloud is a great consideration for disaster recovery purposes. Yes, the failover can go to the cloud if a disaster occurs, but the problem with an internal data center is if it fails, the company has to spend time and resources getting that data center back up and running instead of focusing on its core business.
Outsourcing to an infrastructure management partner that is reliable and competent means someone else manages the company’s primary site recovery while they are focusing on running their business instead of on their IT infrastructure.
Looking for Competitive IT Advantages? Move to Cloud
Cloud offers enterprises numerous competitive advantages. One of them is freeing up human capital. By migrating to a data center, an enterprise no longer needs an in-house systems specialist, network specialist, storage specialist, etc. Instead, they can use that headcount to work on their core business function and just have one strategic technology leader driving the strategy with their managed service partner. The cloud partner works closely with the enterprise’s management partner who has teams of staff dedicated to IT and staying on the cutting edge so the enterprise client doesn’t have to.
Maintaining an internal corporate data center means in some cases spending hundreds of thousands of capital dollars on equipment that needs to be refreshed every few years. With an MSP like Unitas, IT costs are fixed, not variable. Clients know exactly what their IT budget is so they can use their savings and invest them in their businesses.
Interested in transitioning your corporate data center to the cloud? Click here to speak with one of our specialists about the process.