Knowing the cloud migration benefits is important as making the decision to move your mission-critical database to the cloud is not a decision to be taken lightly.

There are many factors you need to consider and choices you need to make. However, the first task is to build a cost/benefit analysis of a cloud migration business case for executive management to consider.

In this blog post, I will discuss the tangible cloud migration benefits. Many of which you should consider referencing in your business case.

1) Lower Administrative Cost

Many repetitive database maintenance operations can be drastically reduced once deployed on a database cloud service. For example, software patching, upgrades and backups can be performed with little to no human effort.

You should include a business case line item that shows a percentage reduction in the staffing required to carry out these tasks.

Remember to consider not only the direct costs that routine maintenance incurs but also the intangible costs of having skilled resources attention tied up in activities that may not be on the organisation’s strategic roadmap.

2) Lower Risk of Security Failures

This cloud migration benefit is often overlooked due to popularised fears of reduced cloud security. When looked at more carefully, the opposite can be true.

The same automated software patching ensures systems are maintained at vendor recommended patch levels. This will reduce the risk of unpatched security gaps in your systems.

Routine system patching activities are becoming increasingly more complex. This brings with it a higher risk of human error in determining what patches are required and applying system patches.

3) Lower Risk of Data Loss

Again, the improved ability to automate backups and other routine functions will improve compliance and reduce the risk of data loss in the event of a primary system failure.

Not only do cloud database services automate and simplify routine backup tasks, they also make it very easy to test and validate database backups.

Database cloud services can be temporarily provisioned to test database restores without having to incur ongoing infrastructure or license costs.

Locating databases in a cloud service provides easy access to high-end backup archival and redundancy services for security and compliance requirements.

4) Improved Business Agility

Deploying new database environments or cloning existing environments can be achieved quickly, easily, and automatically with cloud native provisioning services.

Manual installation and provisioning activities can take days or even weeks to complete on-premise. This can be reduced to hours or even minutes when performed on the cloud.

The ability to provision and scale database platforms dynamically with near zero lead time offers significant benefits including:

  • lower administrative cost of deploying new environments
  • Increased speed of deployment for testing proof of concept and investigation systems

Overall, automated provisioning drives up agility in the organisation as you’re able to test new ideas and approaches more quickly and easily.

5) Reduced Capex Expenditure and Capex Approval Delay Impacts

Another significant cloud migration benefit is that data analysis, application testing and ad-hoc reporting requirements can all be accommodated without having to go through lengthy capex approval processes, procurement and provisioning lead times.

Cloud databases can be destroyed when finished, reducing the risk and effort associated with decommissioning obsolete environments. It also negates having to consider asset life cycles for accounting purposes.

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6) Lower Costs Through Smaller Resource Requirements

With any estimate there is the possibility of it being incorrect. To avoid the potential of under sizing the provisioned capacity, organisations tend to over provision. In the on-premise case the organisation ends up spending much more on the solution than will ever be required. Once the system is procured and installed it can be very difficult to reduce the size and obtain a refund.

In addition, it is not uncommon for vendors to offer higher discounts the larger the size of the order. This can appear commercially attractive, but adds to the risk that the organisation ends up over-purchasing capacity that they “estimate” “may” be needed in the future.

Hosting efficient workloads on the cloud consumes fewer resources and makes it very easy to scale. You can easily right-size your environment for growth based on current requirements.

Provisioning cloud databases avoids this problem. Provisioned too much or too little capacity? Simply, right-size the cloud services to what is actually required.

7) Lower Costs Through Reduced Licensing Requirements

Database functionality typically requiring a license on-premise and associated costs can be consumed, as needed, as a service.

This can also alter the cost/benefit of using certain database features without needing to commit to license and ongoing support costs.

Many advanced database options require additional software licenses beyond the core product. Cloud databases provide the agility to consume specific database features on an as needed basis for specific solutions compared to having to license an entire database estate.

8) Lower Barriers to Business Growth

System implementations in an on-premise environment, at minimum requires the following cost considerations:

  • Hardware infrastructure.
  • Software licenses.
  • Implementation services
  • Ongoing support and maintenance costs.

It is not uncommon for these cost elements to destroy the business case for an application in its initial stages. This makes it harder for growth projects, with high future potential, to ever get off the ground.

Such projects deployed on a cloud database service may considerably alter the cost/benefit equation. Cloud services can be procured to fit the scope of the project in its early stages and not have the associated cost drag of an on-premise system.

If the project does not advance, the cloud services can be removed. If the project exceeds all expectations the cloud services can be scaled up as required to match growth.

At this point, the business can confidently plan projects and programs that work around adopting new technologies to support business functions.

9) Access New Capabilities Not Available On-Premise

Most cloud technologies provide a service-based approach to the provision of applications and databases.

Establishing these services on-premise can take a lot of time, money and require some very specialised skill sets. But cloud services typically do the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to consume far more complex services without the need to hire specialist staff.

10) Reduce Cost (capex and ongoing) by Using Only What You Need When You Need It

As noted earlier, automated provisioning and scaling are core features of cloud delivery. You can use these features to dramatically reduce the data resources needed by your organisation; lowering costs – capex and ongoing.

For example, maybe you have a high load month end reporting cycle. There are two ways to deliver the service to the business:

  1. Buy, install and maintain the hardware and licences required to run that peak load once a month for four days, with significant capex, timing, staffing etc requirements.
  2. Run the load in the cloud, spinning up an instance for just four days per month.

Cloud services can take the report data into a database environment with the capabilities needed to support the workload, run it for just a couple days each month, obtain what is needed, be it data or a report, and then bring the results back into the on-premise system.

After reporting load has finished, the service is simply suspended until it is next required.

Instead of buying and supporting data infrastructures for peak loads that only run 10%of the time, buy and support the much lower day-to-day requirements. Then outsource peak loads to the cloud.

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About the Author

Mark Burgess has been helping organisations obtain the maximum value from their data management platforms for over 20 years. Mark is passionate about enabling secure, fast and reliable access to organisations data assets.

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