Cloud adoption has come a long way since it started catching on around 2007. In that “first wave” of adoption, as IDC calls it, cloud was tied to IT metrics such as improved service-level agreements and lower costs. But today, as we enter a “second wave” of cloud adoption, those goals are considered table stakes.
In fact, cloud has matured to the point where we can start to define a clear framework and best practices around people, process, and technology. In the past, instead of thinking about cloud excellence, we thought about cloud feasibility—how can I retrofit this to my current environment? Today, we can look at best practices and high-profile failures, we can understand the new roles we need in our enterprises to transform legacy IT, and we can define what cloud excellence looks like.
At NetApp, the AltaVault team thinks about cloud excellence often, especially as it pertains to cloud storage. And it’s always encouraging to get a sign that we’re headed the right direction. Recently, Technology Marketing Corporation’s Cloud Computing Magazine named NetApp AltaVault a 2015 Cloud Computing Storage Excellence Award winner. AltaVault cloud-integrated storage for backup and archive is one of the most mature solutions in the cloud storage space—although it was acquired by NetApp a little over a year ago, it has been on the market for more than five years.
What exactly is cloud excellence? An organization achieves cloud excellence when they adopt a cloud strategy that enables them to:
- Maintain security and compliance. According to research firms, security remains the number one barrier to adopting the cloud. With good reason—maintaining the integrity and security of data while transmitting it across the public Internet and storing it in a multi-tenant environment is no simple task. And compliance? That’s a whole new can of worms. Cloud excellence means knowing you can sleep soundly because you know your data will not fall into the wrong hands, and you’ve kept the auditor happy.
- Stay flexible and agile. One of the primary drivers of cloud adoption is the desire for additional flexibility and agility. But sometimes customers find that migrating data in and out of the cloud is more difficult than they realized. As the cloud market rapidly matures and changes—providers come and go, prices constantly fluctuate, outages happen— it’s critical that you don’t get locked in with a single provider. Cloud excellence means knowing you can switch providers seamlessly, if you need to.
- Free up employee time. There is a subtle shift going on in many IT departments that I’ve noticed recently: the most precious commodity isn’t budget, it’s people and time. Of course, budgets remain tight, as always, but it’s man hours that are harder to come by. What if you could save hundreds of hours per year on something not very strategic, like backups, and let those employees spend time on something more strategic, more aligned with business requirements? Cloud excellence means having the ability to shift resources from keeping the lights on to strategically aligned projects.
- Gain competitive advantage. What could the cloud enable you to do better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors? Maybe it’s delivering backup and file storage services to offices in remote locations, or providing better disaster recovery and business continuity. Or it could be delivering faster and more intuitive services to your customers. Perhaps it’s simply allowing your staff to spend more time on innovation, instead of administration. Cloud excellence means using the cloud to enhance core services and give you a leg-up over competitors.
Each of these components of cloud excellence are real benefits that NetApp customers have achieved when deploying AltaVault for cloud-integrated backup and recovery. However, we know this just scratches the surface of all of the ways that you can achieve cloud excellence, so I ask the question-- what does cloud excellence mean to you?
Update: Today, AltaVault was also named a finalist in the Best Hybrid Cloud Solution Category for the Cloud Awards. The winners will be announced by January 27th, 2016.
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