One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to transitioning to a cloud computing environment is: “What do we do with the existing on-premise infrastructure?”
In many cases, companies will have already made significant investments in building their own infrastructure, hiring resources and having a full operational system in place. You cannot get rid of it that easily, and there is always the ROI consideration – “What about the money already invested?”
Leveraging the Flexibility of Cloud Computing
Free Tier for Small Companies and Startups
Shutting down your own on-premise infrastructure is never an easy decision. Fortunately, it’s a decision you can actually delay as long as possible but still exploit the advantages cloud can bring to your table.
To begin with, companies, especially smaller ones, need to take advantage of the freebies offered by all the top cloud service providers. Businesses can start by moving parts of their development and testing to third party cloud computing infrastructure providers.
At the time of writing this article Amazon was offering 750 hours of compute capacity per month, 5GB Storage and a lot more for free for 12 months. You can get the details of the free tier here.
Microsoft Azure offers a one month free trial and also provides $200 worth of Azure Credits which you can then use for any Azure service. IBM Softlayer is free to use for one month, while Google Cloud Platform offers $300 credit for any GCP service.
The free tier levels may be small, but you can give it try and see how things pan out. If you like it you can always expand capacity. After all, it is the cloud, isn’t it?
Of course, these free tiers wouldn’t make much sense for large enterprises, but that shouldn’t stop them from exploring other ways of leveraging the scalability offered by cloud computing. Since there are so many different services offered by cloud solutions providers, enterprises can choose to move specific functionalities to the cloud while retaining everything else.
One of the options to explore is Cloudbursting.
Cloudbursting for Enterprises
“Cloudbursting is an application hosting model which combines existing corporate infrastructure with new, cloud-based infrastructure to create a powerful, highly scalable application hosting environment.” – Amazon
But cloudbursting isn’t as simple as it sounds. It brings a lot of advantages, like not paying for resources you don’t use and retaining your on-prem infrastructure, yet enjoying the benefit of cloud when you need it. However, businesses need to plan and address workload migration, data synchronization, network connectivity and so on.
IBM has a standalone product called IBM CloudBurst that enables you to rapidly implement a complete cloud environment consisting of the cloud management infrastructure, including the cloud resources to be provisioned.
“IBM CloudBurst is a prepackaged and self-contained service delivery platform that can be easily and quickly implemented in a data center. It allows the data center to accelerate the creation of service platforms for all types of workloads with a high degree of integration, flexibility, and resource optimisation, providing an enhanced request-driven user experience, while helping to drive down costs and accelerating time to market for the business. This offering allows organisations to pilot and prove a cloud computing model, and provides the tools to extend cloud offerings into production.” – IBM
With this model, companies are encouraged to create application platforms that leverage cloud computing capability. It also allows the user to deploy their applications on cloud, while still retaining their core infrastructure.
Essentially, it solved a business problem for companies that are constantly expanding and enhancing their capabilities. But instead of having to invest even more in on-premise infrastructure, IBM CloudBurst allows companies to move the active parts of their new initiatives to the cloud, build them out, pilot them and even deploy them on the cloud.
That’s a great entry point into cloud computing, especially for larger companies that have millions of dollars invested in on-premise infrastructure. They’re not required to give up their on-prem, but they can still exploit the various benefits that cloud computing brings to the table, such as resource optimization, reduced cost, faster deployment and much more.
This allows enterprises to test the waters, gain first-hand experience in cloud environments and then possibly chart out a long-term cloud migration plan for even more workloads until their own infrastructure is fully optimized, and complemented with cloud infrastructure.
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