For the past 5 years, my career has slowly been taken over by all things cloud. Luckily for me, I find the opportunity to work with one of the most powerful tools in human history fascinating.
It’s a rewarding passion – because the cloud is actually everywhere. The seemingly abstract, all-encompassing computing powers it’s brought to the mainstream over the past several years ($890 million for cloud income alone at Amazon) only stand to grow.
But not everyone is so eager to embrace the cloud. And it’s not for lack of interest or understanding. Many ecommerce solutions my clients use are flat out not supported on the cloud. Oftentimes, it’s their hefty load of integrations that’s the culprit — a type of “incompatibility of needs” if you will. For this post, I use the example of migrating the Oracle Commerce on-premise solution to a public cloud . Their ATG Commerce solution is a powerful and popular eCommerce choice, but is not officially supported.
End of story, right? Wrong. (This tech-related, so the story is never over.)
We’re getting savvier about finding ways around these limitations. For example, my colleagues at Tenzing are managing brand new migration feats and new cloud solutions for Oracle customers wanting to modernize. They’re supporting some very large retailers and bringing the power of the cloud to more organizations than ever. Since incompatibility is no longer an excuse, it’s time to open up the conversation again. Shall we?
Argument #1: Reliability and flexibility working in harmony
It’s the first thing that comes up in almost every IT meeting. “Ok, but can we really count on them?” How reliable is cloud technology for our customers? How reliable is the cloud investment for our company? Decision makers need straight, simple answers to these questions.
It all boils down to reliability— and this is where the cloud shines brightest. In IT, many people are hesitant to speak in absolutes, but I can tell you with certainty that the cloud just doesn’t go down. When we dig down to the appeal of reliability the cloud offers, the cloud is unmatched in because of the jaw-dropping precision it offers in redundancy (availability) and scalability (pay-what-you-use).
The cloud’s redundancy rests on 4 designated availability zones in the US. There are several data centers in each zone and as you move Oracle to the cloud, the cloud provider will automatically, for the same cost, transfer your availability zones for ongoing redundancy. This scale of redundancy and automation is the cornerstone of the cloud’s Disaster Recovery through this high-availability model. A design that speaks to the modernity and efficiency of computing.
On the other hand, the scalability of the cloud means it can accordion in and out as needed, automatically sliding to adjust to your needs. And the real selling point? With the cloud, High Availability comes standard out of the box and you only pay for what you use. As I cover below, this High Availability component of Disaster Recovery (DR) is a fundamental security that the cloud offers for a fraction of the price thanks to its process efficiency.
Argument #2: Cost savings (+ liberate yourself from hardware)
Naturally, finances are going to come up in this meeting. But I have some suggestions on how the “cost conversation” should be framed in relation to the cloud as far as cohesive benefits and timelines go.
You should start with peeling back everything associated in the cost of the cloud to understand which services and equipment would need updated. I’m talking granular detail of cost. Which of course may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but remember that you’re taking an old, outdated system that you’ve been relying on for years and breathing new, efficient life into it. Some of the most prevalent and immediate cost savings you need to bring are:
- No more needing to buy and maintain hardware and hardware facilities
- Healthier long-term investments with no need for buying servers or other hardware, which rapidly depreciates
- Save on big electricity bills when you’re not responsible for powering an entire data center.
- No overhead costs with staffers to maintain facilities
- No constant need to maintain and pay for updated licenses that are required if you want to be in control
- Huge savings on disaster recovery (which I detail in Argument #4)
Essentially, you’re streamlining a ton of messy operational work that eats into your attention and takes a huge chunk out of your budget.
Argument #3: Resource and Knowledge Sharing
Why not learn from the best of the best?
Joining the cloud means joining the cloud community. It comes with a host of general and niche online communities, forums and special content that can inform your strategy and help keep all of your employees up to speed with the latest in tech. This is supported by a cloud community with third party applications to support your business, all available through APIs.
Additionally, the cloud comes with a host of third party vendors that have applications designed and optimized for the cloud. In the case of AWS Cloudfront, you’re presented with a front door to all of these applications and a huge advantage from a digital architecture perspective. And there is an ever-growing list of customizations and add-ons within the cloud – consistently growing in depth and breadth of knowledge for you to access.
Argument #4: Airtight Security and Disaster Recovery
I’ll start by addressing one of the most commonly held misbeliefs around the cloud and safety. Many IT Directors automatically scoff at the security level of the cloud because they have an unfounded fear of a multi-tenant environment. And I can’t blame them. There is a common misconception that in a multi-tenant environment, you share security environments, when in reality, there are complex networks of dedicated load balancers to ensure a clean, dedicated security for every client. Once you’ve dispelled that myth, there are a number of other security benefits the cloud offers.
Ultimately, the cloud security is built on the back of all of those redundant, reliable protocols we talked about in Argument #1. But disaster recovery (DR) is another huge selling point for cloud security and cost savings. It’s typically at the top of everyone’s priority list. That is, before the sticker shock sets in.
Disaster recovery often eats up a good 60% chunk of what non-cloud organizations pay for web solutions. Their hands are tied around this amount because to mitigate risk in a traditional, isolated environment requires a massive, complex backup network that may never be tapped. Many companies end up caving and opting out of disaster recovery in their packages, effectively telling their service provider, “No thanks, we don’t need health insurance.”
With the cloud, you’re able to save big on DR costs because you can leverage the flexibility and capacity of the cloud by only paying for what you need and use, without having to sacrifice a dedicated security environment. This also means you can stay compliant with top security standards without shelling out up to $50,000 annually for security assessments to QSAs for a Compliance Attestation or Record of Compliance (ROC). What boss wouldn’t be pleased to hear that?
I understand that breaching the “cloud conversation” in some organizations is much more of an uphill battle than for others. Give leadership time to research and understand the full scope of business benefits migrating to the cloud offers, and be sure to follow up with them as time goes on and the cool new updates stack up.
You can start to familiarize yourself with the cloud by taking business professional certifications, such as TCO certifications. They improve your resumé and provide you with an education on a technology that ties in to almost every other piece of technology on the planet. By bringing more awareness about the cloud to your organization, you can bring great value and usher in the next steps toward a more modern and efficient business structure.
Tenzing will be hosting a webinar on the 3 Reasons to Take Your Oracle Commerce to the Cloud where DXL will share their experience of migrating their Oracle Commerce website to AWS cloud mere weeks before the holidays. You can join the discussion here.