5 Major Cloud Advantages

Cost Savings

When cost is a top consideration, a thoughtful analysis is required to identify which systems benefit from the advantages of cloud, which benefit from virtualization, and which do not benefit from any shift at all.

One of the most significant elements of cloud cost savings is that districts pay only for what they use rather than paying for their peak usage all of the time. Cloud costs often seem prohibitive if assuming that the resources used are being paid for 24/7/365, but in reality most software is used much less than that, making the costs of pay-for-what-you-use very attractive. Another source of cost savings are costs associated with maintaining a data center such as hardware purchase and maintenance, power and cooling, network infrastructure, ISP costs, fire protections, and physical security. With cloud, these costs become more predictable as well as often being less expensive.

Simplification

The idea of using cloud, or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), as part of a simplification strategy can be difficult to grasp taking into account deconstruction, re-architecting and building. Issues such as business continuity strategies, or even day-to-day redundancies are complex. But with the right cloud strategy, it can be greatly simplified.

Resilience

Cloud hosted resources provide failover that support disaster recovery. Implementations of IT resources are distributed across redundant resources within a single cloud with multiple locations or across multiple clouds. Both availability and reliability are improved by taking advantage of the resilience of these resources.

Elasticity

Using cloud makes it easy to add or eliminate resources. If a district wants to try out a new product, it is comparatively trivial to spin up a new server and then to spin it down again. If the number of students using a given digital tool changes, even dramatically, the resources assigned to that tool expand and collapse seamlessly.

Analytics

By hosting applications, tools, and resources in the cloud, it becomes possible to collect data across silos and perform analytics. This is a task that would otherwise require pulling data from multiple different sources, rationalizing data formats, downloading them into a spreadsheet, and then performing analysis. Analytics allow the serendipitous discovery of correlated events from “messy data.”

“Utilizing the cloud allows us to shift some of the day-to-day focus (things like server hardware and hypervisor support and upgrades) to someone else, allowing us to focus on what we do best—serving out students and teachers. It also helps us save money so we can reallocate that back to the classroom. Finally, it gives us the agility to try new things without needing to provision extra hardware or use production resources. Going all-in on the cloud is critical to us and our vision for best supporting our districts.”

— Michael Coats, Infrastructure Manager & Cloud Engineer, SouthWest MiTech