Infrastructure Outsourcing Made Easier on the Cloud
Article by Sunil Gupta
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Enterprise around the world have long employed the practice of infrastructure outsourcing, both as a means to cut costs and increase their ability to manage growing data volumes.
In the past, though, outsourcing on the infrastructure level was a complicated affair that required a great deal of manual configuration and integration of disparate data elements. Storage had to be provisioned and managed across internal and external platforms. Network pathways had to be defined and updated on a regular basis and server resources had to be allocated to accommodate a widely distributed and disparate data environment.
All of that was before the cloud came along, however. Today, outsourcing is a much more elegant affair, providing levels of integration, management and automation that were unthinkable only a few years ago.
According to Gartner, the worldwide IT outsourcing market topped $246 billion last year, a 7.8 percent increase from 2010, with Indian-based providers spearheading the growth. And as enterprises continue to adapt more cloud-like architectures within their own infrastructure, it is expected that outsourcing infrastructure responsibility to third-party cloud providers will increase over the course of the decade.
But exactly how does the cloud improve the infrastructure outsourcing picture? Although the immense scalability of modern cloud architectures certainly helps, it is quite often the range of related services and capabilities that providers bring to the table that helps simplify relationships between internal and external infrastructure.
For instance, many of today's cloud services offer highly advanced service orchestration platforms that allow the client enterprise to maintain full control of the virtual layer. This allows for the provisioning, deprovisioning and management of compute, storage and network resources through a simple Internet connection. As well, the cloud allows for automated scalability that enables data loads to be immediately routed to the provider's infrastructure without having to wait for manual configuration of resources. This means enterprises that encounter sudden spike in traffic always have the resources to handle them without subjecting users to performance degradation or service interruptions.
Things get even more interesting once the enterprise is ready to deploy hybrid cloud architectures. By accessing a fully isolated environment within a public cloud service, and then integrating it with existing internal cloud architectures, enterprises gain the ability to monitor and manage their entire cloud infrastructure as a single entity. In this way, organizations can reserve their legacy infrastructure for the most mission-critical applications while moving lower-level data and applications to the public side. Or just as easily, the public cloud can be devoted to test and development, with final production deployment reserved for the private cloud. No matter how the workloads are apportioned, however, flexible payment plans and pay-per-usage agreements means the enterprise pays only for the resources that are consumed in a given time period, with no need to worry about over- or under-provisioning.
Cloud-based infrastructure outsourcing is more than simply a way to increase data-handling capabilities without the time and expense of building new datacenters from scratch. It offers the ability to provision exactly what is needed, when it is needed, and then simply walk away from it should long- or even medium-term outlooks change.
The enterprise has been striving for this kind of flexibility practically since the first two mainframes were connected via a copper wire. Organizations that have reached the point at which internal infrastructures no longer support the crushing data loads brought on by database analytics, mobile communications and the like do not need to look inward for a solution. Their true salvation is in the cloud.
Do you think that moving to the cloud is THE strategy for outsourcing your IT infrastructure? Does the cloud bring you economics of scale as well as improves efficiency and life of your IT Infrastructure? Do let me know your thoughts on this.