The cloud delivers unprecedented scale and compute power. But in order to leverage these capabilities, organizations need to go about managing their data in the right way.
More data storage for your buck
One of the most common mistakes organizations make when they first adopt the cloud is to overspend on the storage of data that is either unusable or irrelevant.
This always proves costly—not just from a budget standpoint, but from an opportunity one as well because it leads to any of these outcomes:
- Valuable time and resources being spent managing data you have no use for
- Limitations on the benefits of advanced tools like artificial intelligence and predictive analytics
- An inability to scale properly when needed, which leads to downtime
- Missed opportunities due to a lack of freedom to experiment on data
Each of these outcomes on their own is problematic. Collectively, they severely limit your organization’s capabilities when it comes to innovation, creating better products, and remaining competitive.
So how do you get more bang for your data buck? The answer is to treat the cloud not as a vault of information, but as a platform.
Here’s an example:
Say your organization has a 16 core SQL server with 200 gigabytes of RAM. Simply moving all the data within that server to the cloud would result in roughly $12,000 per month in costs.
That’s a lot of budget dedicated to storing data that may or may not be useful—budget that can always be put to better use elsewhere.
By treating your cloud platform as a platform-as-a-service (or PaaS), however, you can ramp up and scale for workloads as needed, then rapidly scale down once work on your data is complete.
Not only does a PaaS solution lower your costs—since you’re only paying for compute as needed—but it also accelerates your workloads and deployments. In other words, you’re reducing your costs on the front-end and saving even more dollars while putting your data to work.
Right-sizing your data
In the past, increasing capacity meant buying servers, paying to rack and stack those servers, and then predicting how much CPU and memory you need in order to meet your needs during the three-year lifecycle of those servers.
The rise of the cloud has radically changed this equation. Now, data capacity is seemingly endless, which means it’s often tempting for organizations to simply dump all their data into a cloud platform regardless of its quality.
In order to avoid this costly mistake, it’s absolutely critical for your organization to have procedures in place to right-size your data. That means cleaning, optimizing, and managing information as it is captured.
One way to think of this is to picture your own kitchen. When you first moved in, you made a conscious decision about things like the drawer your silverware lived in, where your dishes would reside, and where your pots and pans were stored.
Without these decisions—and without taking the time to organize all your kitchen tools at the front end—cooking would routinely be a nightmare as you searched random spaces around your kitchen just to find the things you needed to create a meal.
Just like your kitchen, all the data you put in the cloud needs to be organized in such a way that your developers and analysts can quickly find the information they need to cook up your products.
How do you get your data in a place where you can put it to work? In general, you want to check off these four steps:
Identify all your data and where it’s coming from to determine which is actually useful to your organization.
Clean and optimize data to remove what you don’t need and locate gaps in information that you need to fill.
Utilize data tools and data pools to ensure the democratization of your data while following strict governance, security, and access rules.
Continually optimize to discard or place data you don’t currently need into deep storage.
Modernize today, compete tomorrow
Increasingly, getting the most out of your data is the recipe for gaining a competitive advantage.
But for all the capacity and flexibility the cloud provides, unless you’re diligent about how you capture and store data, you risk throwing money at resources you don’t need, at the cost of new opportunities and innovations.
Simply adopting the cloud and depositing your data is not enough. In order to unlock the benefits of the platform, you need to modernize your data architecture in such a way that data of use can be made readily available to those who need it.
Learn how to address the challenges and unlock the benefits of taking your enterprise to the cloud. Click here to read our in-depth guide to adopting and migrating to the cloud.
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