Moving on: smart routes from on-prem to hosted infrastructure

By Tim Whiteley, Co-Founder at Inevidesk.

  • 1 month ago Posted in

Time is money, as they say. And these days, that means downtime of IT infrastructure is not to be tolerated. 100% uptime guarantees are not to be trusted – unpredictability can never be banished entirely – and those claiming super resiliency will often be super pricey. This can influence organisations to stick with what they know: on-prem, cap ex, locally managed infrastructure. Traumatic experiences with cloud services can compound this thinking, fixing organisations in arrangements that are comfortable rather than progressive.

But there are better ways. Smarter ways.

Addressing traditional risks

On-premise infrastructure generally incorporates known and well-experienced risks: poorly managed server rooms, lack of redundancy for power, connectivity and environmental management, inflexibility and space consumption.

In our current time, where technology enables the potential to work in a wide variety of ways, where many employees and organisations have embraced forms of hybrid and remote working and where security and resiliency are ever more important, traditional infrastructure management and its associated risks are problematic. They need to be addressed by any forward-looking IT strategy.

Why? Failure to do so will undermine a business; impacting its competitiveness, employee satisfaction and leadership/ client confidence in delivery.

That isn’t to say that every business should immediately jump to the cloud or face oblivion. But a smart approach to evolving IT strategies and making best use of available technologies is ever more critical.

The right time to make a move

Obviously, if things are simply not working well, whether that be performance, resiliency, security, cost or a combination of all these things, then it’s time to make a change. This is easier said than done as change itself is often painful and costly, but sticking to a failing strategy is worse.

Otherwise, sensible periods to enact change align with hardware/ service renewals, end of leasing arrangements, signs of hardware wear and tear or changes in operational requirements. All of which should generally be anticipated and therefore factored into budget forecasting. Infrastructure investment – unless dictated by a sudden influx of new business (yay!) or an unexpected failure of an existing strategy (boo!) – should be somewhat predictable.

Of course, knowing it is time to make a move is not the same thing as knowing what move to make.

Considerations for moving to IaaS

IaaS (hosted infrastructure as a service) is, theoretically, going to address the key issues of environmental management, space and resiliency. However, it is important to also consider factors such as performance and cost, either of which can prove to be problematic with cloud or hosted services.

IaaS will generally use over-provisioned hardware for virtualised services. This is standard and should mean more efficient use of base resources and less carbon impact than traditional server infrastructure. This is all good, but there is a strong chance that those laudable outcomes end up

being very expensive for the end consumer. Depending on the platform used, there could be pricey software fees from VMWare or Citrix, or complex usage fees from the likes of Azure or AWS. These add up, especially if you are working in a high compute, big data environment. Sometimes you won’t even know the true cost until the monthly bills start rolling in – billing items can be complex and deceptively inexpensive at first glance. It’s no good realising this once you are stuck in a three-year contract.

So, it’s critical to do due diligence and work the numbers in advance. Ensure you speak with other similar organisations who have taken the same steps. Peer recommendations are gold dust.

There is no doubt that IaaS is going to set you back more than traditional on-prem infrastructure in the long term. That’s ok – it offers much more. But it should demonstrate overall greater value when taken into the wider strategic account if you choose wisely.

Virtual desktop infrastructure

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a smart move for security and high-performance data access. Keeping all critical computing centralised and resilient has major benefits for flexibility, ease of management and security. All employees need (wherever they may work) is a low-cost, lightweight laptop, and an internet connection. Even those working in demanding graphical or video roles.

Again, this can be expensive with the big tech vendors. So be sure to seek out and compare with younger, more progressive offerings. They do exist (promise).

Combining IaaS and VDI for optimal results

A strategic combination of IaaS and VDI can provide firms with a robust and future-proof IT infrastructure that meets today’s demands, addresses yesterday’s risks and enables greater flexibility to cope with an increasingly challenging future.

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