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COVID-19: Role of public cloud in sustaining your business

Shubham Keshri / April 28, 2020

A global pandemic is forcing us to develop new capabilities and business models to survive in the future. Let’s face it, none of us were ready for this. There is much more to see and make conclusions, but one thing is clear: the role of IT in sustaining businesses.

Situation is such that there is a shift in demand in certain parts of businesses, and certain segments of businesses came out dry. How can IT have an impact on this?

The solution lies behind the term we have been casually tossing around: “scalability”. We often made decisions of IT costs, by evaluating fixed prices of whether storage or processing power. Only because it was “easy” for our businesses to make a decision on cost! What was bought in the end was heavy machines with huge storage and processing power which was localized for reasons of security. Not to mention, high perpetual licensing costs. Some companies unfortunately must be paying still without being able to generate any revenue on that setup.

How to scale up with public cloud?

This is not a time to start the transition to cloud. Gartner already said this years ago: it’s not a question of “If” anymore. It’s the question of “How?” Assuming we already are on some public cloud, what have we not done enough?

One baby step of moving to public cloud has already given you opportunities to “work remotely”. We have seen and are facing difficulties in the bandwidth with our glorious VPN. Some companies must be benefiting from investing in direct connections from on-premise to public cloud like Azure Express route and AWS direct connect. But have we really done anything about “scalability” which we addressed in the very beginning?

8 concrete examples of scalable cloud components

Moving your on-premise systems to cloud doesn’t bring much benefit, other than worldwide access to them. To benefit in terms of scalability in storage, compute and cost, one must design solutions around native cloud components which offer scalability. To name some:

1. File system storage -> AWS S3 / Azure data lake store

2. SQL server / MySQL Database -> Azure SQL DB / AWS RDS

3. On-premise / Virtual machine Datawarehouse -> Azure Synapse Analytics / AWS Redshift / Snowflake

4. Cassandra VM installations -> Azure CosmosDB

5. Running Python / Java code on VM -> Serverless Azure functions / AWS lambda

6. CI / CD On-premise / VM installations -> Azure Devops / AWS Codepipeline

7. On-premise / VM based DNS -> Azure DNS / AWS Route 53

8. On-premise / VM based ETL tools -> Azure Datafactory, Data Bricks / AWS Glue / Informatica cloud

Native cloud solutions bring the scalability

The pandemic has revealed the strength of native cloud solutions as the demand is very polarized: some industries, like healthcare and retail, see exponentially growing demand in safety critical systems and analytical needs. And at the same time, some industries like manufacturing, experience a massive decline in business. The scalability cloud nativity essentially is bringing both, upscaling and downscaling.

The bottom line is to utilize more and more of cloud native components while designing any IT solution. If your application is not listed here, there are still ways to design it scalable and resilient for example, by utilizing load balancers and other components in cloud.

It’s not only about tech

The pandemic has also revealed the strengths of outsourcing strategy which in the emerging economy is often looked down on. By outsourcing the development and functions that you are not a specialist, anyway, gives you now the possibility to cut down costs neatly. An analogy can be drawn by comparing, IT vendors to public cloud. Where consultants are pool of virtual machines. Of course, then clients must be ready for being generous to avail this freedom in scalability of resources.

Do you still want to stay on-premise and hire own employees? Well, that certainly depends!

Let’s take example of two manufacturing companies and compare their cloudification strategy. Both companies migrated their legacy Oracle data warehouse to cloud.

The first one decided to instantiate a heavy virtual machine on Azure and run SQL server database. They are now still paying the VM plus database license costs.

The second one migrated to Snowflake: They are now only paying minimal amounts for cloud storage on Azure, whereas compute costs have cut down a lot.

The first one is also spending money on arranging co-operation negotiations and laying off people, whereas the second one has just reduced the consultancy they purchase to minimum.

All in all, this is not a time to just cut-down expenses rather this is an opportunity to prepare, be proactive and invest strategically to recover from the impacts of the on-going situation after life resumes normal. Consumer and business buying behavior is naturally going to change dramatically after this quarantine period.

Is your organization prepared for scalability and shift in demand?

Connect with me on LinkedIn to get the insights directly to your newsfeed!


Shubham Keshri
Senior Data Engineer

Shubham has a passion for data. He is seasoned in designing and developing latest cloud technology solutions around data lake, data warehousing and data virtualization. He enjoys working in team, being agile and has a people first strategy. He believes that a sustainable Enterprise is the one having an accurate dictionary of their assets and data.

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