Cloud Benefits: It’s More Than Just Cost Savings

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Spending less and saving more is the fifth most popular New Year’s resolution. People love to save money. They love to tell other people about the latest great deal they got or how much they saved by doing something different, better, or faster. The same goes for businesses. Businesses love to talk about moving to the cloud to save money.

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Today, 95% of organizations use some kind of cloud infrastructure to power their business. Organizations ranging from startups to large, global enterprises have adopted cloud computing technologies to launch their applications, automate processes, and store data. The original premise for many organizations moving to the cloud is cost savings. Few would dispute cloud’s hard cost savings — you can’t much argue with capex versus opex. But the process of moving to the cloud can be expensive, as companies reshuffle and retrain teams, and we’re starting to see businesses talk more about cloud’s hidden costs.

Like the failed New Year’s resolutions in our rearview mirrors, the “It’s cheaper” argument for moving to the cloud may be a thing of the past. Cheaper simply can’t be the only reason to make a move to the cloud. Organizations need to reframe the decision to move their applications to the cloud around business value.

The true value of cloud is in two soft benefits that are arguably more important than any cost consideration:

  1. Agility
  2. Scalability

Increased agility

It used to take a long time to build an application and get it to market or to enter into a new market. Take, for instance, a U.S.-based organization that wants to enter the Japanese market. This required buying a datacenter in Japan, building the infrastructure, and getting a team of experts there to troubleshoot. Only once that was done could the company launch services in Japan. That could take months.

With cloud computing, this same company can expand its operations into Japan using someone else’s cloud that is already there, and be up in a matter of days. The same scenario plays out for building a new application, deploying critical updates to applications, rolling out new features, or accommodating new customers. Projects don’t stall out because resources aren’t available for three to six months. Organizations can provision and deprovision pretty much unlimited resources at will, in hours, not months, and with minimal cost. That’s agility, and it can be the difference between the life and death of a company.

Faster scale

The business value of cloud is just as much about being able to scale faster. Let’s say a company comes up with a killer new app. Hundreds of thousands of users flock to the app at launch — awesome. But, let’s also say this company managed its own servers and didn’t have enough capacity so its killer app crashes from the flood of traffic — not awesome. With cloud, the company could scale up to deploy additional servers quickly and manage the unexpected traffic.

Other high-demand situations are easily handled with cloud, such as big shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday when retailers’ traffic increases exponentially. The added benefit is being able to quickly scale down when an organization overestimates the capacity required for a particular application or time frame. Cloud computing gives organizations the flexibility to scale up and down as needed — and fast.

While organizations might originally look to the cloud for cost savings — pay for what you use — the bigger payoff is in moving quicker, deploying faster and, the ultimate win, grabbing larger market share.

Monitoring cloud applications

Migrating applications to the cloud and managing application performance once they’re up there still can be difficult, however. IT organizations need to monitor and know what’s happening to the applications on servers up in the cloud. They need to be able to answer: What’s the latency? What’s the user experience? Where are users coming from? And they need to do this through the lens of a full stack: from the network, all the way to the application layer. Only then can IT help the business make better decisions.

Riverbed SteelCentral™ provides IT organizations with the market’s most complete, modular, and integrated performance management solution to enable you to monitor end-users, applications, networks, and infrastructure — wherever they are, on or off the cloud. You move away from a fragmented, ineffective approach to performance management to a holistic one. This is critical to being proactive in detecting performance issues, instead of reacting to a problem after it’s already hit. This speeds your ability to pinpoint the root cause, regardless of whether it originates in the application, network, infrastructure, or end-user device.

Riverbed SteelCentral will enable you to take a balanced approach to performance management. To learn more, please click here.

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