President Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” He probably wasn’t speaking specifically about the information technology landscape, but he might as well have been.
Despite the plethora of managed IT services now possible in the cloud, many IT groups resist the change. Whether it’s inertia or fear, they’re entrenched in the processes and procedures of the past.
Of the many reasons they should just “let go,” here some of the most compelling.
Doing-it-yourself doesn’t work anymore
Business priorities shift too fast for a beleaguered IT to keep up. IT staffs are leaner than ever, so they’re often unable to do anything more than maintain what they have:
- Servers and network infrastructure
- Application software development
- Desktop users and equipment
- Laptops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices
- Data protection and security
Focused on maintaining these internal assets, IT has little or no bandwidth to actually help build the business, which means it doesn’t grow like it should.
But IT doesn’t have to DIY anymore. Instead of just keeping their heads above water, IT can offload most of these duties to cloud service providers. That frees up resources to further critical business initiatives.
Reducing the endless infrastructure upgrades
One of the biggest drains on IT is the endless cycle of upgrading the physical infrastructure.
This includes the more obvious components such as operating systems, application software and network firmware. But it also includes hardware maintenance and replacement. No matter which vendor it comes from, equipment will eventually fail. Memory boards, disk arrays, routers, network cabling – it all needs maintenance.
Then there’s keeping up with data storage requirements. As we collect more data, we need to add and manage more capacity, not to mention the data retention policies that go with it. It’s endless.
But these days providers offer complete Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Most physical infrastructure can live in a virtual model. And deploying more virtual servers, memory or storage requires little more than the click of a mouse. That means the service provider assumes responsibility for the maintenance and repairs.
Instead of unending hardware upgrades, IT can plan what’s needed for new business initiatives.
Eliminating the upkeep for physical desktops
It’s not just maintaining backend infrastructure that drags IT down. Desktop systems are in need of constant upgrade and repair. The typical lifespan of a desktop computer is about 4 years, so IT must budget for some replacements each year.
There’s also the operational expense that goes along with desktop support to consider – patching and upgrading the OS, shipping and doing repairs, and keeping “spares” on hand. And don’t forget providing user management and help desk support.
The cloud allows for a flexible and affordable alternative. DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service) solutions replace these computers with devices running a thin virtual desktop client. These terminals access the user’s profile and present the appropriate “desktop” on demand.
Instead of buying and managing new desktops all the time, IT can just lease the number of user devices the company needs and let the service provider deal with deployment and user management.
It’s time to get comfortable with the cloud
We live in a service-oriented world. If we explore it, we’ll realize it’s far simpler and more cost-effective to not do everything ourselves.
Managed cloud services like IaaS and DaaS aren’t magic bullets. But they can allow us to re-focus our resources on core business goals, instead of maintaining our infrastructure.
In a virtual world, we need to get comfortable with leaving server and desktop infrastructure to those who specialize in providing it.