Most of the businesses, nonprofits, and local governments we help move to the cloud see both tangible and intangible benefits shortly after deployment. Whether they focus on improved availability and reliability, easier secure access to files, or lower capital expenditures, or the benefits of improved collaboration and access to video conferencing services, very few businesses regret the move.
Many organizations, however, do not look beyond the scope of their cloud implementation for other, indirect or subsequent benefits. Cloud migrations often create opportunities for additional IT simplification that can improve the users’ experience as well as further lower costs.
Most common across our customer base is the ability to simplify wide area networks. Organizations with multiple locations rely on wide area networks to connect offices, servers, and people. We see several common architectures, each with limitations.
- Centralized servers require all users not at the server location to access data remotely, at lower speeds.
- Distributed servers provide performance, but require more complicated backup solutions and/or data synchronization.
- Spoke and hub networks connect all sites, typically over leased/dedicated lines. Bandwidth between sites is limited and relatively expensive, with a single path (or, hopefully, redundant paths) to the Internet.
- MPLS (Multi-Protocol Layer Switch) networks provide a managed network, better security, and greater Internet bandwidth, but still rely on leased/dedicated bandwidth to the carrier.
- Lan-to-Lan and PC-to-LAN VPNs can securely connect machines and sites over private or public lines, but VPN services add overhead that hurts performance, increases admin costs, and makes it more difficult for users to connect.
When files and other data are centrally located in the cloud, you can simplify your wide area networks and lower costs.
Because your data is centrally located, you may no longer need point-to-point connections between your offices. Replacing point-to-point, VPN, and MPLS links with Direct Internet Access Links can have up to a 100X benefit, as many carriers can provide you with up to 10x the speed at as little as 1/10th the cost. At these price points, building in redundancy is affordable and can protect your businesses from carrier outages.
As you move to the cloud, reassess the role of your wide area and Internet links. Simplification and modification of your architecture can save you time, money, and overhead, while providing faster, more reliable service.
If you would like to review your network for opportunities, or discuss the potential benefits from moving to the cloud, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion.