Few things in the life of an IT admin are as anxiety-inducing as having to take down your company’s mission critical applications. The uptime of your Systems of Record (SoR) and Systems of Engagement (SoE) including the applications and infrastructure that keeps your business running and customers happy is often the lynchpin to revenue generation, employee productivity and the public perception of your company’s health. Obviously, any downtime, and risk of delay back to uptime, is enough to raise the figurative temperature in the data center.
Using downtime to your advantage
Every so often the stars align and you can use downtime for good. In fact, in some cases you can leverage planned downtime to eliminate future outages and pursue strategic IT such as digital transformation. Case in point, many customers running Windows Server are facing an End-of-Life (EOL) this year. If you are one of these customers and are planning on moving to the cloud instead of an upgrade on-premises, now might be the right time to make the switch.
A little background; if you haven’t heard, Microsoft will end its extended support for Windows Server 2008 R2 this month. This means no more support or patches — unless you pay for them. It also means downtime is inevitable and your applications and data will be exposed.
Now, we all know that most companies are pursuing the cloud for at least part of their IT operation. This includes production applications (moving to IaaS), data protection (BaaS), and disaster recovery (DRaaS). If you are far enough along in your cloud planning to identify potential points of application downtime, it might be prudent to take your apps down once and use this opportunity to move off-premises.
Moving to cloud cures much more than EOL headaches
For sure, some IT professionals will choose another on-premises server as their upgrade. But hopefully more will see the cloud in 2020 as a more preferable option to maintenance headaches.
Let’s take a quick look at the OTHER issues the cloud can immediately solve as the next home for your production applications:
- No more owning or maintaining hardware. Speaking of EOL planning, ever notice how much time you spend upgrading? Between due diligence of new solutions, vendor/purchase negotiation and downtime/disruption, it can seem like there’s no end in sight. With cloud, all of this is handled by someone else.
- Get out of the datacenter business. With cloud, you no longer need that physical data center. It’s actually hard to understate the positive impact this can have on a company. Reduce or eliminate your datacenter footprint and 90% of your line items associated with running an IT organization can also be reduced or eliminated
- Flexibility, scale, efficiency. The levers of cloud can also reduce your other IT headaches. Specifically, the time and effort it takes to add new storage and compute resources. Consider that with cloud, you swap a multi-step process to add new resources including procurement, delivery and deployment, down to a self-service interface where you can get the resources you need within minutes or hours vs. days or weeks. The flexibility of cloud also enables you to remove resources when they’re unused. This flexibility of resources allows for improved resource utilization – and is another benefit not possible on-premises.
- Improve data protection, security and compliance capabilities. With cloud, you leverage the economies of scale of a cloud provider. In other words, the skills and technology needed to protect and secure your data is part of the cloud service. In fact, most companies see their security posture increase significantly in the cloud. Also, more broadly, you immediately eliminate the gaps in IT management talent that can appear during the normal course of employee hiring, training and departures.
The common denominator of moving to the cloud is cost reduction. In almost every way possible, on-premises solutions are more expensive in terms of owning, maintaining and managing. The cloud lets you simply pay for what you use.
Let’s get back to Windows Server 2008 R2. While this EOL date has been in place since mainstream support ended in January 2015, let’s be honest and say that many customers retain existing software and hardware until they know what is next in their organizational strategy. Many want a better view of cloud computing for mission critical apps, while others may be waiting for the perfect period to take downtime. In both cases, for those of you that have been patiently waiting for the right time to move to cloud, this could be as good as it gets.
Supporting link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server-2008