What if you had the flexibility to scale your data storage as needed, while reducing your overall TCO? Transforming from an on-premises environment to a hybrid cloud allows you to pay only for the resources that you consume, while retaining full control of your data and taking advantage of all the compute and analytics the cloud has to offer. Using the cloud to switch from a capital expenditure (capex) finance model to an operational expenditure (opex) finance model is a great way to reduce expenses and increase your return on investment.
Reducing capex and lowering overall TCO are just two of the benefits that cloud adoption can unlock. In this blog, I cover three scenarios in which the cloud can be an advantage: data tiering for cost savings, data protection and disaster recovery, and bursting.
How much cold data do you have?
Using the cloud for your infrequently accessed cold data is a great way to expand capacity gradually without overspending. In on-premises systems, you can always add more shelves to address capacity growth. But there is usually a minimum number of drives per shelf, which forces you to buy more than you need at a given time. When you move to the cloud, however, you can incrementally tier off your cold data from your on-premises systems. The cost of the data being tiered would be significantly less than the cost of buying additional hardware. You can tier your cold data to the cloud or to NetApp® StorageGRID® by using FabricPool or the NetApp Cloud Tiering service.
What does your data protection and disaster recovery plan look like?
With the cloud, you don’t need to worry about the possibility of a production environment failing if a disaster occurs. Placing copies of data in the cloud is a low-risk strategy, and it frees you from needing a secondary data center or secondary hardware. For an on-premises disaster recovery plan, you would need to have a secondary data center, extra personnel for operations, daily backups, and many other expenses that significantly increase your TCO. When you use the cloud for data protection and disaster recovery, you replicate data between your on-premises environment and the cloud in a much more cost-effective way.
How does your IT infrastructure handle peak demand?
For a cost-effective way to meet an increase in workloads, consider bursting to the cloud. Expanding on-premises workloads and moving some (or all) of that activity to the cloud during peak demand is a general strategy for dealing with rapid workload growth requirements. An example would be a retail business preparing for a seasonal event, like Black Friday. The business would also need flexible compute capacity to address demand. When bursting to the cloud, you gain more compute capacity to serve a higher number of transactions or to run analysis on a dataset without having to invest in incremental on-premises capacity that would be used infrequently. With the burst approach, you save the money you would have spent in overprovisioning to meet temporary demand on premises. Although on-premises systems can be sized appropriately to meet ongoing demands for compute and storage needs, they become insufficient during seasonal spikes when workload requirements dramatically increase. When using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP® with NetApp SnapMirror®, you can facilitate efficient movement and storage in the cloud for use with bursting. It’s especially critical in these cases to make sure that your use of cloud resources is streamlined and efficient. The Spot by NetApp products automate and optimize cloud compute resources, simplifying and standardizing infrastructure operations while making the use cloud compute resources cost-efficient.
Switching to opex
These three use cases — data tiering, data protection and disaster recovery, and bursting — are common ways to take advantage of the cloud. But an added benefit is that you have more predictability and visibility into your expenses as you switch from capex to opex. With the traditional capex model, you allow your hardware to dictate your approach to business, rather than your business needs dictating changes to your IT infrastructure. With an opex approach, you can more accurately pay for what you use instead of overpurchasing for what you might use in the future. With the ability to scale as needed, this approach lets you respond quickly to changing business and IT needs.