Five considerations for your cloud-first strategy

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Across all industries, organizations are adopting a cloud-first strategy. What does it mean to be cloud-first?

Broadly speaking, cloud first means using shared infrastructure instead of building and hosting your own private storage facility, systems, etc. Benefits of adopting a cloud-first strategy include cost savings and productivity improvements.

However, what a cloud-first strategy looks like may differ from organization to organization or use case to use case. If you want to adopt a cloud-first strategy that involves an analytical solution, the goal will include getting your analytics in the cloud.

Here are five common goals customers hope to achieve by going cloud first, and how SAS can help you achieve them.

Consolidate to a single cloud vendor

Are you using a multi-cloud approach (employing more than one cloud provider to meet different technical or business requirements) but want to consolidate all applications and data in one place? For example, is your data hosted in a different cloud provider than your applications?

For SAS customers who want to consolidate to a single vendor, SAS can provide information about how we support the specific cloud that you want to use. This support could range from core technology for the cloud in question, all the way to fully fledged deployment patterns and quick starts. We work with major cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle to streamline SAS deployments in public clouds, with the major benefits being:

  • Speed – quick deployments for faster experimentation and focusing on solving business problems rather than the installation process.
  • Optimization – working with third-party providers to ensure the right infrastructure options are used for optimal performance.
  • Performance – moving the processing of data, enabling more efficient use of network resources and improved performance.
  • Catalog, manage, and migrate – placing data into a consolidated cloud environment, keeping your data in one place.

Step away from on premises

In some instances, cloud first means that your organization wants to reduce its reliance on on-premises systems. Retaining internal IT infrastructure data centers requires upkeep and resources. If you hope to divest yourself of your own data centers, then the focus may be less on consolidating in a single cloud environment and more on moving away from on-premises systems as quickly and efficiently as possible. In this scenario, organizations will likely choose to move each application or analytical system to where it makes the most sense, on a case-by-case basis.

Moving your analytical system to SAS® Cloud results in minimal risk and complexity. SAS® Cloud has predefined architectures optimized for SAS solutions, and SAS will get you up and running. Using SAS® Cloud can help you reduce your requirements for in-house skills and resources, as well as hasten your ability to decommission your own data centers.

Exploit on-demand services

Techopedia defines on-demand software as “a type of software delivery model that is deployed and managed on a vendor’s cloud computing infrastructure and accessed by users over the Internet as and when required. On-demand software enables a user/organization to subscribe to software on a pay-as-you-go, monthly billing method.”

When your organization’s priority is to reduce the fixed cost of infrastructure, applications, or both, the on-demand services market can be an attractive option. If your requirements for capacity and functionality are less predictable or vary seasonally, then the on-demand model can deliver significant reductions in cost and time to value without the effort and cost of managing in-house systems. Because of its low startup cost and ease of implementation, it can also be a great first step for an organization that doesn’t have an existing on-premises solution. In these cases, a software as a service approach is likely to be beneficial, or even preferred.

Reduce reliance on internal skills and resources

When your organization is having difficulty focusing on achieving its business goals because it requires technology but doesn’t have the skills or resources to manage SAS offerings themselves, then a hosted managed solution can help. Analytical skills are expensive and hard to come by, due to their specialized nature. SAS has the experts to take care of everything you need to run a SAS platform.

It is worth noting that when organizations are unable or unwilling to move their data from their premises or existing preferred cloud vendor (see point 1, above), there are solutions available that allow SAS experts to manage solution remotely, without moving the data. Another blog post, Reaping the Benefits of Cloud Without Moving Your Data, goes into more depth on this solution.

A combination of some, or all of the above

Although we have covered a variety of scenarios, for many organizations the goal may not be just one of the above but a combination of many, or possibly all of them. A deeper understanding of your priorities would help optimize your approach to deploying SAS.

Cloud has become a mainstay in most organizations’ IT and data planning. Many organizations plan their cloud strategies before building in analytics components, and SAS provides a range of options that take this into account. Regardless of the reason for moving to the cloud, SAS can provide a solution that will help meet those objectives.

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About Author

David Annis

Director, Sales Support and Enablement (Cloud)

Dave Annis has been specializing in the field of data and business analytics for over 30 years. In that time, he has seen trends come and go, but one thing remains the same – organizations have the potential to get enormous value from analytics. Back in the 80s when Dave was starting out, cool job titles like “data wrangler” didn’t exist, and although he wishes they had (“assistant statistician” didn't have quite the same ring), he’s excited to see how Data Science has come into the limelight, and continues to grow.

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