Many companies negotiating full data centre rebuilds are considering cloud solutions to ‘fill the gap’ as demands on business-critical applications grow. Cloud-based solutions of this type are providing businesses with the ability to extend legacy infrastructures until they can be upgraded, re-built, or until companies decide to deploy more cloud computing power. Here are some examples of how the cloud is minding the gap as a temporary fix:

  1. Filling the gap by avoiding a ‘floor sweep.’

Cloud can be used to fill the gap by avoiding a ‘floor sweep’ of the data centre: this refers to when a company faces major capital investments in the replacement of data centre hardware. Also, when facing a limitation in IT capacity, the cloud can be used to supplement traditional IT systems to provide the flexibility regarding capacity that is required. Also known as Cloud bursting, this allows businesses to augment their on-premise systems with short-term additional capacity in the cloud.

For example, a national satellite entertainment service provider had ageing hardware systems, some of which were nearing their limits or facing reduced support from vendors. The company had a mature IT group that operated its own data centre. In addition to maintaining a large corporate data warehouse, its production applications ranged across all the corporate functions, including managing a large service fleet to install and repair devices among their customer base.

The provider knew it faced major capital investments in hardware upgrades or a “floor sweep” of its data centre. In facing a limitation in IT capacity, the company put the cloud to the test to see if it could be used to supplement traditional IT systems and provide the flexibility and capacity required.

What the company found was that the cloud was an excellent solution to the demonstrated limitation in IT capacity it was experiencing, particularly around its requirements for development and testing. In its journey to avoid a floor sweep, the company began to understand cloud architectures better and were able to evaluate the whether the transition of its production systems to the cloud would be an efficient way to fill the gap.

Ultimately, the company decided to supplement its traditional IT systems with a cloud-based development system, minimising a floor sweet across the board.

This is one story amongst many with a focus on the cloud’s ability to fill gaps previously left open by large-scale IT transformation programmes. So when it comes to considering a full floor sweep, it’s not surprising that many companies are opting to use the cloud to both plug gaps and capitalise on market opportunities in a cost effective way.

  1. Filling the data centre deployment gap

For its traditional big-box data centre, the hardware purchase and installation of an equivalent system would take close to a year to become production ready. Many companies facing these extended timescales have started to consider cloud solutions as a ‘temporary bridge’ to a future hardware purchase.

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For example, the right cloud solution can provide a company with the ability to extend the life of a critical application, enabling a medium-term bridge to continue operations and allowing the option to bring the application on-premises at a future time. This can all happen while a major data centre is being re-built or in place of a large scale hardware purchase.

  1. Filling the staffing gap

Even if a company has considerable IT infrastructure on-premises, it may decide to adopt a cloud approach to provide the desired flexibility and speed required for new initiatives. The right solution means a company will be able to avoid any impacts on the existing production environments and IT staffing, for example, it is relatively straightforward to add and subtract additional Cloud resources without diverting significant resources away from the day to day operations activity for the on-premise systems.

  1. Filling the gap with a multi-cloud structure

In order to deal with increasing demands on its current IT system and challenges associated with mixed workload environments, a company might look to a solution with a multi-cloud structure, with different workloads allocated to different cloud providers and technologies.  For example, database management could be hosted on a private cloud behind the organisation’s firewall with report generation workload being run on a public cloud and sized according to reporting and processing needs.  The reporting systems could be augmented at busy month-end periods with capacity reduced during other times of the month.  This can allow a company to be able to support its IT operations economically with a small staff.

Overall, it’s easy to see the appeal regarding companies adopting cloud solutions as a supplements or ‘temporary bridges’ to a future hardware purchase. In comparison to hardware installations, cloud solutions can be production ready within a matter of weeks, with the bonus of costing the fraction of a full re-build. Of the many companies that have successfully looked to the cloud to fill all manner of gaps, it’s unsurprising that many find their stop gap cloud solutions rise to meet end-to-end business challenges, becoming the go-to solutions for many enterprises moving forward.

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Mike Whelan has been working in IT since 1987 and has held a number of technical roles spanning both pre-sales and post-sales activity. Mike’s background in open distributed systems and network systems led him into Enterprise Architecture and Systems Design. Since the early 90’s Mike has worked with Teradata systems and has been involved with many large organisations across a number of industry sectors. Mike recently led the Teradata International Big Data Technology COE so has experience of Aster, Hadoop and the Teradata Unified Data Architecture. Mike is now Head of Product Management for Teradata International where he provides a link between Teradata R&D and the International region. Mike has a BSc in Computing & Data Processing from Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland.