The rise of consumer power over the last two decades has led customers to expect far more from businesses, across every industry.
Customers now demand fast, reliable service around the clock, and in a world of instant, global user reviews, the consequences of not meeting these expectations can be devastating to a company’s bottom line.
To ensure they had the compute, storage and networking power to deliver services to customers reliably in the past, IT relied on capital expenditure investments, purchasing large-scale on-premises data center capacity.
However, many enterprises have had difficulty purchasing just the right amount of capacity to meet spikes in customer demand while minimizing expensive and wasteful excess storage.
Enterprises face a similar challenge in disaster recovery (DR), where they must purchase seldom-used backup data centers to safeguard against infrastructure failure.
With the continual pressure to cut IT spend year over year, organizations are leveraging cloud infrastructure for data center scalability and DR, paying only for the resources they use, when they use them.
Many enterprises have had difficulty purchasing just the right amount of capacity to meet spikes in customer demand, while minimizing expensive and wasteful excess storage.
As they’ve matured, enterprises have employed hybrid cloud solutions to leverage benefits of both on-premises and cloud environments. In doing so, they’ve found themselves faced with a new set of challenges in establishing the right hybrid cloud infrastructure to deliver on their cost and efficiency objectives for scalability and DR.
In this eBook, we’ll explore the industry shifts driving cloud adoption for elastic capacity, the challenges enterprises face in this new paradigm, and how emerging services are making seamless scalability from the data center to the cloud a reality.
Why Enterprises Need the Ability to Scale on Demand
Business in the age of CX
It’s a truism that providing fast and reliable service around the clock can help grow a business’ customer base.
However, recent increases in consumer power have raised the importance of delivering positive customer experiences, including ensuring reliable delivery of services, to maintain reputation. Analysts predict this will become a critical factor in business success, with customer experience set to overtake price as the leading brand differentiator by 2020.
The explosion of self-publishing platforms over the last two decades has empowered customers to share their experiences, making user ratings and reviews the primary tool used by the market to make purchasing decisions.
With increasing numbers of brands competing for market share across all industries, it’s easier than ever for unsatisfied customers to jump ship following a negative experience, sharing their story as they go and moving to a provider with more positive user reviews. This has placed more power in the hands of consumers, with businesses scrambling to hold onto flighty customers.
The most successful organizations in this new paradigm are those able to predict customer desires and deliver a better experience. For example, Uber was able to disrupt the transportation industry by providing a faster, easier way to order rides, and Netflix reinvented the entertainment industry with streamlined delivery of movies and TV series.
The impact of improved customer experience has had a ripple effect, raising service expectations across all industries as innovative organizations respond to the trend. Today, in addition to speed, simplicity and personalization, 24×7 availability is a minimum expected requirement for service providers.
Despite this, many organizations still struggle to ensure their IT infrastructure has enough capacity to maintain availability during spikes in customer demand. Attempting to predict the amount of capacity required is challenging, and many organizations experience server failures when their services are inundated with customer requests.
In the education industry, this could be caused by the influx of students trying to register for classes after enrollment. In retail, websites slow to a crawl or crash annually when stampeded by shoppers on Black Friday. And no organization is immune to system failures caused by natural disasters, power outages or human error.
Isolated clouds aren’t enough
Any company that doesn’t embrace traditional, on-premises IT environments is no longer capable of meeting these growing demands.
In the past, businesses made major investments in capital expenditure (CapEx), building large, on-premises data centers, hoping they’d purchased enough capacity. In addition to setup and maintenance costs, such as utilities and site rental, data centers require personnel investments, and are inflexible and costly to update for additional capacity.
They are also highly inefficient—as much as 35 percent of data center capacity goes unused across industries.5 Despite their cost, these investments are no guarantee a business will have adequate capacity to meet unexpected spikes in traffic.
Looking for a new solution, many enterprises have turned to subscriptionbased operational expenditure (OpEx) through the public cloud. This enables them to take advantage of scalable usage and pricing, low-cost storage and cloudnative services.
However, relying solely on public cloud adoption for all workloads isn’t the ideal solution for most enterprises. Applications often have to be refactored to work optimally in a cloud environment, and organizations have to be mindful of consistently adhering to compliance and data sovereignty regulations.
Scalability and certainty: The hybrid cloud solution
Many businesses today employ a hybrid cloud approach to meet their scalability challenges.
By extending their on-premises environments to the public cloud, enterprises can move their applications to the best-suited environment and leverage the public cloud for additional capacity and disaster recovery as needed. This approach has proved optimal for many businesses, with 90 percent of organizations predicted to adopt hybrid cloud infrastructure management capabilities by 2020.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure holds a number of advantages for businesses, allowing them to:
Scale cloud usage to meet customer demand
Accurate data center capacity planning is incredibly difficult, with intensive analysis required to ensure the right resources are available to meet seasonal, cyclical and unexpected traffic spikes
A hybrid cloud solution simplifies this process, allowing enterprises to take advantage of elastic capacity, scaling public cloud usage to accommodate fluctuations in demand. This safeguards businesses against system failures and the slowing of services, which can cost revenue and cause long-term damage to a brand’s reputation.
Leverage the cloud for disaster recovery and backup Traditional disaster recovery requires the leasing or purchasing of a secondary data center as backup in the event of a machine failure, power outage or natural disaster. These sites require significant investment for servers, connectivity, power and cooling, site maintenance, and personnel. They can also be slow to provide recovered files due to the load times of physical servers.
In contrast, cloud-based DR, often known as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), outsources the upkeep and maintenance of DR sites, simplifying the process and providing cost benefits. Due to its reliance on virtual machines (VMs), cloud-based DR is faster to recover, often booting within seconds, and less expensive than relying on disks or tapes stored in warehouses.
Cloud-based DR also has the advantage of rapid failover, in which the secondary cloud site assumes networking, storage and compute processes in the event of a primary site system failure.