Business Drivers For Migrating To The Cloud
Businesses and individuals may elect to migrate some or all of their applications and systems to the cloud for a number of reasons, among the most frequently quoted are:
Businesses judge that moving to cloud-based services will provide them with a competitive advantage over other companies. There may be many ways in which an advantage may be quantified but they could include faster or more flexible responses to changing market conditions and the ability to roll new products and services out more quickly than would have been possible with a legacy IT architecture. The three following drivers can also be viewed as ways of improving an organization’s competitiveness.
One of the issues with traditional ‘in house’ IT architecture and applications is scalability, both in terms of scaling up and scaling down. If a business with a legacy architecture is required to scale up its IT capacity it may entail a lengthy round of requirement definition, design, vendor selection, procurement and deployment before the additional capacity or capability becomes available. Conversely, if a business suddenly finds that it has too much IT or application capacity it is generally faced with the options of selling off, mothballing or leasing out the unwanted capacity. Cloud-based services are usually able to scale up or down very quickly, in some cases scaling can be managed automatically in response to demand levels. The risk associated with procuring and implementing new hardware and application capacity rests solely with the cloud service provider. This allows organizations that employ cloud-based services to respond to change with much more flexibility and at potentially lower costs than would have been the case in the legacy model.
This follows on from the points related to scalability. Cloud-based services can, in many cases, be automatically provisioned and deployed directly by the end user without the need to interact with the provider. New services or additional capacity can be brought into use ‘at the click of a button’.
This is possibly the most contentious area of cloud computing and the one that generates the most debate. When the total cost of ownership of a legacy IT infrastructure, or even of just a single software application, is compared with the ‘pay as you use’ cost model employed by many cloud-based services there is generally no argument that the cloud service is less expensive. The reduced capital outlay, elimination of operating expenses and reduction in management overheads associated with cloud services generally make them much more affordable than fully-owned infrastructure. However, there are scenarios in which the pay per use fees related to the use of, for example, SaaS applications by large corporations can scale up and become very expensive.