Level 3 Communications

Andrew Adams

Making the Cloud Enterprise Friendly

As enterprises become more comfortable with the cloud and understand how it can enable increased business opportunities, they are trusting more and more of their digital assets to cloud infrastructures. In the past, enterprises were not ready to fully commit to cloud, and often limited their cloud strategy to smaller development projects, or to run a single application. Today, encouraged by the security, scale and trust companies have developed in cloud capabilities and reliability, the focus has shifted to migrating business-critical workloads and applications, such as large databases and inventory systems to the cloud.

For the most part, enterprises are taking a multi-cloud approach by combining services from multiple cloud providers, such as Google and AWS, in a single strategy to run their workloads and meet their business objectives.

While the cloud is undeniably on its way to becoming a mainstay in many IT departments, enterprises require a number of tools and capabilities from cloud providers to enable initial or continuing migration and integration. Developing such enterprise friendliness was a big theme at this year’s Google Cloud Next conference. Google revealed its cloud services now touch one billion end users each day, and the company is making strides to assert itself in the enterprise space through initiatives such as direct peering and Google Cloud Interconnect. Both solutions enable high-performance internet connectivity to the Google Cloud Platform through network service partners such as Level 3. This direct connectivity addresses some of the potential shortcomings of standard internet connections by providing higher availability and/or lower latency to organizations, enabling them to move their mission-critical workloads, applications, and data to the cloud without the stumbling block of poor internet connection performance.

Conferences like Google Cloud Next tend to turn the lens toward future uses, such as increasing machine learning and AI demand, but Google’s announcements of cloud technology enhancements and their partnerships with companies like Level 3 left no doubt they are committed to addressing the specific needs of enterprises’ cloud migration right now.

Enterprise cloud migration uses

Enterprises today employ the cloud for a multitude of uses, including development, disaster recovery and big data storage and analytics. Backing up data to the cloud is generally more cost-effective, reliable and lower maintenance than privately managed backup up systems, in large part because data transfer costs are lower.

Another common scenario in which the cloud demonstrates its significance is when enterprises need compute resources on a rapid, but temporary basis. Examples of this include retailers that need extra capacity for holiday shopping and back-to-school sales, and accounting firms at tax preparation time. Just as important, these cloud-based services provide even the smallest companies with the rapid agility and ability to instantly scale their services to meet demand, allowing them to compete with much larger companies

On the big data front, enterprises are moving customer and sales data to massive databases in the cloud where, again, the expense of securing and maintaining the systems is lower than having them in-house. Data is stored for analytics and running reports. Analytics often can be performed much more cost-effectively through pay-as-you-go cloud resources, rather than by maintaining expensive and complex on-premise systems. The process becomes even less expensive when the big data already resides in the cloud.

In many cases, enterprises also are moving application development, testing and deployment to the cloud. This gives them greater geographic coverage and lets them save on operational and capital costs. Cloud providers such as Google offer tools that streamline and accelerate development, testing and deployment.

Into the Future

From the enterprise perspective, the cloud is now woven into the fabric of business processes, and will continue to grow in importance as organizations prepare for the future with Internet of Things and digital transformation strategies.

As more and more enterprises rely on the cloud to help drive their businesses, connectivity solutions from Level 3 and cloud providers such as Google prove we’re ready to support these initiatives, enabling organizations to migrate to the cloud with confidence and focus on what’s next in their evolution and growth.