Map in hand, you and your business have set off on one of the most important journeys you will ever take.
To the cloud.
Our world is hybrid, digital, and data driven. According to Gartner, compute, storage, and spending for cloud infrastructure reached an unbelievable $332 billion in 2021. Gartner. Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Grow 23% in 2021. May 2021.
The cloud is essential for today’s businesses, especially those that need resources for compute and storage, as well as high performance for data-intensive applications like AI and advanced analytics. Cloud migration helps businesses achieve key goals from innovation to business performance, speed to market, and staying competitive. And the biggest driver of them all is cost: cost to invest in the technology and management of the total cost of ownership.
Before you begin, take stock of your surroundings: Not all clouds are built equally. Once you’ve identified and defined your key business goals, your next step is to explore and understand what cloud technology makes sense for your business. It helps to take a close look at where you are and where you want to go.
First, what does your business do? What services do you need? Do you run databases, like many of NetApp’s customers who use Azure or Google Cloud? Or maybe your focus is analytics, or web and content hosting, or some combination of these. Whatever the case, it’s crucial that you choose the cloud that fits your needs.
Second, what resources and skillsets do you already have? Communicate with different stakeholders in your organization. Find out what they have, what they need, what they’re comfortable with, what gaps exist.
Third, consider how your applications integrate with the wider set of technologies available today—and how compatible they will be tomorrow.
Finally, and most importantly, data and security. We’re talking about built-in layers of security, defense in depth, deployment at the edge, firewalls within your networks. Security is a shared responsibility between you and your cloud service provider; you need to have a clear idea of everyone’s obligations.
Data goes hand in hand with security. If you’re hit by ransomware, how do you get your business back online with minimal impact? Do you have a three-two-one data strategy? (This key backup strategy means having three copies of your data, two of which are in two different media, and at least one offsite backup copy.) What about control and visibility around regulation requirements?
If that ROI is beginning to look like a mirage in the distance, don’t worry. NetApp knows fact from fiction, and we’ll guide you every step of the way.
The next step on your cloud journey is to strategically assess what works best where. Sometimes, when customers migrate to the cloud, they want to get rid of as much physical hardware and data center space as they can. I get that—but it’s important to remember your three-two-one data strategy. I help my customers decide where they want to keep their data and how to optimize for cost and retrieval speed. NetApp has the infrastructure, hardware, and software to help you decide what kind of disaster recovery environment and backup options work best for your business. Do you have data you’re not using? Tier it to a lower-cost model. And if your backup is in the cloud, it’s set up well, and you’re doing failure testing, then retrieval is fast—which means minimal impact if disaster strikes.
Need to pivot? Even the best plans sometimes need to be rethought. But when you have a vision for your business, as well as sound strategies and good communication between stakeholders, you can adapt and change as your business evolves—or if the unexpected happens.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way companies approach cloud migration. Some sectors—like healthcare, remote work, online education, and retail shopping—accelerated cloud adoption, and did so with an unprecedented level of adaptability, resilience, innovation, and speed. In a late-2020 episode of the “All About Data” podcast, I spoke with Ellie Sweeney, COO of Vocus, a major Australian telecommunications companies. She described how Vocus set up a call center in Manila in just 3 days—something that would have taken months before the pandemic.
But some traditional businesses have suffered. They needed to scale but were slow to act. They didn’t have a clear idea of what cloud technology could do for them, or what they needed to keep (or bring on board) versus what they didn’t need anymore.
For a smooth migration, you need the right tools, resources, and professional services for every stage of your cloud journey.
You need tools like NetApp® Cloud Insights, which monitors how customers utilize and optimize their resources, not just in the NetApp environment, but across clouds and other vendors—even our competitors. Or like NetApp Cloud Data Sense, which provides customized compliance and regulatory reporting support that’s relevant to your market or industry.
We work with the major three hyperscalers—AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud—and help our customers deploy and migrate in any of those environments. Our application specialists support applications in different environments.
If you decide to move to another cloud or add another cloud to the mix, there should be no vendor lock-in. As a trusted partner to the three biggest cloud providers, our integrated services deliver a true “edge-to-core-to-cloud” story. Our solutions and technology give you the flexibility to seamlessly move your data and workloads with minimal business impact.
When I first meet with companies looking to move to the cloud, I start at the beginning and take it one step at a time. I am part of a presales team—there are a lot of people like me across organizations and around the globe. Our goal is to build long-term partnerships with our customers. Before migration, I take the time to learn about you and your business—what drives you? What are your goals? I talk about challenges in the industry and how to overcome them. I explain what I’ve done to help other similar businesses. I work with you to put strategies and solutions together. Our commitment to your needs and our depth of knowledge means that you can trust us to deliver what we promise.
And my commitment doesn’t end at deployment. Once the migration is complete, I check in on customers regularly, making sure that everything is running smoothly. I use NetApp Active IQ® to check the performance of your systems and the optimization of resources. Are they nearing capacity? I find things that you might not have considered—from resource optimization to disaster recovery—and make sure that everything is working as promised. I find out what else I can help you with. It’s a long-term partnership—and migration is just the beginning.
Customers often see us simply as a storage vendor, so we love to show them that we’re so much more. We show them the innovation we put into our technology, the software, and how we work with all the major hyperscalers to provide cloud solutions. Our preparation and industry know-how help to build trust and credibility with our customers.
We’re here to future-proof our customers, one solution at a time.
Every customer we help is a win, no matter the size of the business or the solution. Maybe we’ve simply shown you the value of creating a disaster recovery solution in the cloud, something you might not have thought about. You’re taking a journey, and we’re with you every step of the way.
At the end of the day, I'm so happy to know that I’m playing a part in that journey.
If you’re looking for more information or support on your journey to the cloud, learn more about NetApp cloud services.
Barsha speaks to the power of curiosity and a growth mindset to solve problems and empower others.