According to TechTargets, “The term cloud came into widespread use in 2006 when Amazon launched AWS with the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service”. Since that time, there have been endless debates as to whether it is better to host IT infrastructure on-premises or in the cloud. From my perspective, the answer is a definite “it depends”. How do you figure out what’s best for you? Check out the three questions you need to ask as you determine on-premises versus the cloud. Your company should have the expertise, technology, and environment to support your business requirements.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article entitled The IBM Power Trap that described how a series of decisions related to how you manage your applications and IBM Power can leave you stuck. A few people reached out to me with questions so I thought it might be appropriate to share a real-life story about one of our customers, we will call them Glass Corp International (GCI), that got caught in this trap and had to be rescued.
IBM Power has long been known as a stable, reliable hardware platform and as a result companies have leveraged it to run their most critical business applications. For many, it has become so ingrained in their business that they would never choose to migrate away from it. But for some, IBM Power has become a trap from which they can’t escape. This is not a malicious trap that suddenly jumps up and grabs you but rather a trap that is triggered by a series of decisions made over time with each compounded by the previous. So, what are these decisions that create the trap? At Racksquared Data Centers, we have classified them into three categories, application neglect, operating system ambivalence, and hardware apathy. Let’s look at each of these.
According to the CRC Group’s June 2022 Cyber Redy Index, in Q2 2022, 82% of companies that renewed their cyber insurance had a price increase greater than 20% and of those 44% had an increase of 50% or more. Maybe most shocking is that in recent months 1 in 4 had increases greater than 100%.
These increases have companies questioning whether buying insurance still makes sense. However, self-insuring is a risky business so here is what we are telling our customers.
Check the front door
IT departments have shored up the obvious entry points like firewalls and routers but that doesn’t stop cyber criminals from testing them. Your best defense is to check the “doors” and address weak points before a hacker does. A simple network assessment, often done at no charge by insurance and credit card companies, will aid you in proactively identifying ports that should not be open, firewall vulnerabilities, unpatched servers, outdated operating systems and other risks. You can then use the results of the assessment to eliminate vulnerabilities before applying for insurance.
Your business runs on IT and chances are if your systems are down, your business is down. Have you contemplated the most common reasons for data loss and whether your strategy can protect you in the event of natural disaster, hardware failure, fire, ransomware, human error or theft? Depending on the reason for your outage, you may experience data loss and need to leverage your backups to recover. Are you confident in your backup and recovery strategy?
One of the simplest tests you can do to assess your backup strategy is to see how you stack up against the 3-2-1 best practices for backups. This requires that you have 3 copies of your data on 2 different media with 1 of them being offsite. When I visit companies and talk to them about their backup strategies, very few are meeting the 3-2-1 best practices.
Why haven’t you made the move to IBM Power in the cloud?
Is it because you like the big upfront capital expense and the depreciating asset? Is it because installing PTFs and doing OS upgrades gives your IT team something to do during slow times? Or maybe it’s because the thought of migration and downtime is just completely overwhelming to you? While I don’t have an answer to the first two reasons above, I’m here to tell you that a migration does not have to be difficult, and downtime can be practically nonexistent.
I recently spent some time with an IBM reseller, and he walked me through the steps of migrating to one of the “big IBM Power in the cloud service providers”. To say that it was complex, and self-service would be an understatement. I know there are many companies that like the self-service cloud model. Give them an interface and they are happy to configure, manage and tweak the environment on their own but I talk to companies every day that want to walk away from hardware management and don’t want the added burden of planning and executing a migration to the cloud. With their limited iSeries expertise on staff, they are happy to offload the project to someone else.
IBM Power In The Cloud: More Than A Hardware Lift And Shift
In my role, I speak with several companies each week about the prospect of migrating from their on-premise IBM Power server to our IBM Power Cloud. A common thread that runs through these conversations is a focus on the cost of purchasing and maintaining an on-premise server versus the monthly recurring fee of our cloud based service. Many prospects see this move as a simple lift and shift to cloud infrastructure rather than a modernization strategy.
And while this may be partially true, as most customers are not modernizing their application when migrating, they are overlooking the modernization benefits that the cloud offers to their overall IT strategy. This article will take look at additional benefits that should be considered when contemplating a cloud migration.
Environment: Are you doing the best you can with what you have?
Purchase hardware, depreciate hardware, and repeat.
After four years on the market, the Power9 processor is in the process of being replaced by the Power10 chip. Whether you are an early adopter of CPUs or a laggard, the challenge for many companies is the timing of the refresh. As leases on the Power9 machines are expiring, companies are struggling with how to bridge the gap between the end of their current Power9 system lease and the release of the Power10 systems. Their typical options include lease renewals, lease buyouts, or purchasing a new Power9 server, but some companies just want to get out of owning and managing hardware and are taking this opportunity to consider a migration to Power Systems in one of a number of clouds.
Could your company recover from a ransomware attack?
Ransomware attacks in North America rose by 158% between 2019 and 2020, according to cybersecurity firm SonicWall’s 2021 report. For many people, ransomware attacks really hit home when the May 2021 Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack brought fuel shortages to the East Coast — and when the June 2021 JBS meat company attack shut down nine beef plants, causing a nationwide meat shortage. Combined, these two companies paid $16 million in ransom to recover their businesses, and those were just the direct costs paid to the hackers, according to reports from CNBC and WSJ. In addition, each company spent millions more in the recovery and restoration of their business systems.
Are Your Data Backup Processes and Technology designed to evolve?
When it comes to data backup, there is one undeniable truth, your data is growing and your processes and technology need to be built to evolve and support that data growth. Every day your data volumes grow, your technology ages and your requirements change. You may not notice these changes day to day or month to month but year to year, if you look, you will see how things have changed.
When I speak with customers, what I tend to see is companies that invested in a backup system years ago, set it up and for the most part forgot about it.