Less than 5 years ago, we were all discussing whether computing systems should be housed on-premise or in the cloud. Today, we know neither side won. In fact, here at Protocol, 100% of our clients have a hybrid cloud setup with parts of their operation on-premise and the rest in the cloud, and 77% of U.S. businesses overall have at least some component of their infrastructure in the cloud.
The digital transformation the United States is seeing since the pandemic has lent itself to businesses considering – or reconsidering – a cloud hybrid solution for their computing infrastructure even more. To make this decision affordable and effective, a cloud computing platform is the best way to set your company up in the cloud.
The world’s largest cloud computing platforms are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, at No. 1 and 2, respectively. These cloud leaders, along with other smaller providers, have massive, secure data centers with hundreds of servers, storage systems and other crucial components used for machine learning, data analysis and storage and backup, as well as streaming media content to host your business in the cloud.
By using these components via a cloud computing platform such as Azure or AWS, your business saves money while keeping your risk very low versus laying out a huge amount of capital on dedicated networks and other necessary (and expensive) components to set up your own cloud computing application.
Slash Risk, Augment Compliance
A good cloud platform slashes your business’ risk of data breaches, as its shared environment includes virtual firewalls and ongoing updates to integral elements of your system, so software patches and OS changes aren’t missed by a busy, in-house IT person. Compliance concerns are also reduced when you rely on an established cloud provider. Azure and AWS are leaders in setting the standard for government compliance regulations.
Azure vs. AWS
Basically, AWS and Azure provide the same capabilities for computing, storage and networking, as well as the common public cloud elements such as self-service and instant provisioning, autoscaling, security, compliance and identity management features.
However, when deciding on which cloud platform to utilize for your business, know that each comes with their own advantages, and it all depends on your business needs.
Businesses with an existing relationship with Microsoft traditionally select Azure for their cloud environment, as it was developed based on Microsoft engineering and is a natural fit for Microsoft essentials like Outlook Exchange and Active Directory.
- Azure intuitively installs software into the Windows operating system. With AWS, you have to know specific installation quirks for each software program you install.
- Azure will allow you to use end-of-life Microsoft legacy software such as older versions of Exchange. This allows you to upgrade in the cloud while retaining the look and feel of your current environment. It also saves you the dollars required for a physical upgrade.
- Azure is designed for an enterprise environment with more availability zones capable of adhering to the rules and guidelines of a country or region.
- Azure has a set fee for a specific period as opposed to an à la carte service charged by the hour.
- Azure engineers can be less costly to hire, as there are more Microsoft certified engineers in larger enterprise organizations.
AWS breaks down its services into different products to allow businesses to try what they need. Start-up businesses can spend a little and expand as they grow.
- AWS is a market leader with a 60% share worldwide.
- AWS has over 175 services across compute, storage, database, analytics, networking, developer and management tools, security and enterprise applications. AWS offers more features and configurations, but can require time to fully understand the nuances.
- Pricing is based on a sliding scale tied to monthly usage.
- You can easily run an Oracle database on AWS.
3 Considerations for Your Cloud Move
- Why are you moving? It’s important to take the time to think about what you want to do. If you’ve invested a lot of money in your current infrastructure, you probably don’t need to move to a cloud environment. Serious consideration of cloud migration should take place when your machines are about 5 years old.
If you’re ready to move now, determine what objectives you want to attain and then decide which environment setup is best for your business. Make sure to plan ahead for your company’s future growth and infrastructure needs.
- Despite initial anticipation of potentially cutting labor costs because of a reduction in IT infrastructure from 100 servers to two, your business still needs IT staff to take care of immediate issues when cloud support is either too busy or unable to address a problem. Just because your new car is supposed to alert you when a tire is low doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check your tires before a road trip. The same applies to cloud computing – you are responsible for watching your business network closely and often.
- Model your current environment and costs accurately so you can correctly set a budget for your cloud migration. Although cloud services may seem inexpensive at first glance, pay attention to extras that add to your overall project costs. These additional considerations include adequate bandwidth, space, disk storage speeds and data reads and writes.
Start Your Move to the Cloud
Need help moving? We are here to plan and implement cloud migrations for your business. Contact us today online or call 877.676.0146.