Cloud Integration for Business IT Infrastructure

As the lead executive in a tech services company, one of the topics that comes up most often from my clients is the Cloud. (The other big topic is Security). The most frequent questions that come up around this subject include:

  • How quickly can I move my business to the Cloud? 
  • How quickly can I begin to benefit from lower IT costs? 
  • How fast can my staff benefit from the Cloud’s efficiency? 

In this document, I want to focus on how DaVinci helps our clients evaluate their business to answer these questions and find the best-fit answers.

On-premises server hardware is expensive, requires additional power management and data backup hardware and software to run. In order to keep it running with resilience and data redundancy, this hardware has associated on-going maintenance costs.

The myth of the Cloud buzzword is that all of that goes away when you migrate—and the worry about your data’s safety and accessibility vanishes.

When you read the fine print of most cloud services terms and conditions you will find that it says, “we are not responsible for your data being backed up or when it is”; therefore, the date range of a data restore is limited and out of your control. Most of the time one doesn’t discover this until there’s a service interruption and data is lost, and by then, it’s just too late.

Before you sign a contract, it’s important to understand what kind of service and support you will get from the cloud service provider if there’s an issue. Meaning, if you and your team suddenly can’t access your data, who do you call, and how quickly will they be able to help you?The answers to those questions will determine how long your work will be stopped.

The first question to address is what kind of services am I running on my on-premises servers? For example: Are we running a database or an accounting system, enterprise resource productivity tool, electronic medical record, or case management database?

If the answer is yes, compatibility and backup practice diligence needs to be performed with the software manufacturer. More often than not, desktop applications that exist on your computer that connect to your Server will not connect fluidly to a cloud server, and/or some databases running on a cloud server will not backup properly until it’s manually turned off first, which can be difficult for software that uses automation to run your backups. This is just one small example of one part of a server that needs to be considered for cloud migration. 

DaVinci performs this kind of diligence on every part of your IT infrastructure when making this evaluation. When, and if, we find one or multiple services that have cloud compatibility issues, we then find out if the manufacturer has a hosted version of their product you can migrate to, and, if that’s the case, whether they will manage the migration of the data, ensuring the integrity of the migration. We will also look to see what applications you use on your computer and verify they will be compatible with this workflow with their current versions. If the answer is no, we provide a clear picture of what needs to be upgraded, how much it will cost and provide a sense of what that will look like with all the upgrades happening at once. 

 The other part of the equation to consider is cost analysis. The calculus often looks something like this: 

  • How much will the hardware cost to replace?
  • How much will it cost to maintain and backup the data?
  • Divide that over five years and compare the total against the dues and subscription fees of the cloud provider. 
  • Then compare those results against the answers that were provided during the diligence phase of discovery about support, software compatibility, performance quality, and risk to the work stoppage in a service outage.

This is a broad example of how DaVinci approaches helping its clients consider the cloud. There are many more factors that come into play, for example, the speed and resilience of your ISP product and the performance of your internal network, all of which need to perform at a certain level for your environment to get a green light to the cloud.

Our goal with this kind of work is to debunk buzzwords and myths, educate our clients and keep them in the driver’s seat of their IT systems at all times. 

 We have clients that have moved 100% to the cloud, clients that have migrated some of their systems while maintaining a smaller thumbprint of hardware, and some clients who have found there is greater performance and cost savings to remaining on-premises. Each business is unique and has different requirements. Our commitment is to guide our clients in the direction that’s right for their business, regardless of what’s in it for us. 

Jonathan Jedeikin
DaVinci Digital