Datacenter In The Cloud – Is Zero Data On Site Realistic For Not For Profits?
There was a time when the idea of not having an on-site datacenter would have been unthinkable, but the revolution in cloud computing and improved connectivity options has changed all that. With massive growth in the availability and scalability of easily accessible public cloud services, are we finally on the path to a datacenter in the cloud?
Of all the different types of organisations looking to move their infrastructure to the cloud, Not for Profits are one of the most obvious candidates to take advantage of the potential benefits. With any cost savings in infrastructure equating to more money available to be spent on the charity frontline, the pull towards a shift in strategy is obvious.
But what are these reasons?
Moving to a cloud service such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure can transform your costing model and save large amounts of money right from the get go. No more purchasing resources in anticipation of what you might need in the future, these cloud services allow you to pay for what you are using right now with no wasted cost. This can really take the guess work out of future planning. With analysis and forethought this can be extended further – for example by automating shutdown of services when they’re not being used.
In Not for Profit organisations, running to scale in your IT infrastructure can be difficult to plan. Is your cause seasonal? Are you having a particularly good or difficult year raising funds? Simply scale your usage within your cloud platform as you go, adding or removing resource and only paying what you need to.
AWS and Azure services are backed by a series of SLAs, see Microsoft’s here; (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/support/legal/sla/summary/).
These guarantee at least 99.9% uptime for the ‘Site Recovery’ Disaster Recovery service for example. Also, for every replica instance protected for on-premise to Azure, there is a guaranteed two-hour Recovery Time Objective, meaning that even on the rare occurrence of an outage, you will up and running quickly.
What’s the hold up?
With these benefits the move to a datacenter in the cloud is certainly tempting for not for profits, so what’s the hold up? Historically two key issues are raised – data security and data recovery.
With Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ASR), these worries can be mitigated with many options that will get you recovered and fully operational in no time, directly through the Azure platform. For a start, data can be encrypted in transit and at-rest. The protected instance type can vary from Hyper-V, VMware and physical servers with a variety of replica locations from an Azure datacenter or your own secondary facility. If the workloads are already running within Azure you can also protect them across to other regions around the globe.
ASR provides a simple and effective Disaster Recovery solution whilst providing continuous health monitoring. Customisation is also available in the form of PowerShell Scripts and Azure Runbooks etc., so that ahead of a disaster scenario admins can easily create their own custom plan of service startup order and configuration changes to provide a smooth failover to Azure. All processes can be tested in the form of the Test Failover procedure to prove all settings will apply correctly so there’s peace of mind built in too.
You don’t know what you don’t know
Sounds obvious right? But one of the big advantages that the Hyperscale cloud providers such as Microsoft have is the ability to enable you to do things that you didn’t know were possible and really transform your business. Solutions to enable your helpline to take more calls, to enable you to better inform research funding choices and reach wider supporter audiences are just some of the examples of how the technology can transform the work you do.
Do you feel tempted by these possibilities but don’t know where to start or would like to find out what else is on offer? Do you want to hear how other organisations have been able to transition to a datacenter in the cloud? Join think S3 at Microsoft’s Paddington office on December 8th.
Our one day session – The Path to Zero – Datacentre Transformation with Microsoft Azure is completely free and includes lunch and a chance to discuss your specific options with experts from Microsoft and think S3. To reserve your place, simply email sales@thinks3 or call 0845 686 0530.