Microsoft Profit Jumps, Fueled by Cloud Computing

Microsoft Corp. continued its rebirth as a force in cloud-computing, posting stronger-than-expected gains in its business of selling web-based services to corporate customers.

The software giant has been working to expand the business selling web-based services to corporate customers, and now has solidified its spot as the No. 2 provider of on-demand computing processing and storage behind market pioneer Inc. In its…

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Navigating pain points when migrating your enterprise to the cloud

Many enterprises are jumping on the cloud to modernize their IT. Cloud computing not only provides an on-demand highly scalable compute, storage and network infrastructure, it allows IT to spin up an environment in minutes, driving agility the enterprise has never seen before.

However, moving workloads to cloud or refactoring them to run natively in the cloud is not easy. Once those workloads are running in the cloud, monitoring and managing them is required. IT needs all the help it can get.

Fortunately, an entire cloud channel ecosystem has evolved to help companies plan for the cloud, move to the cloud and maximize their investments in the cloud. There are partners specializing in strategy and assessment, those who focus on implementation, others which do monitoring, management and security, and some companies that handle it all.

Then of course there are hundreds of vendors offering commercial and open source tools to automate various steps of the journey, and others which deliver analytics to monitor performance and aid decision-making and refinement.

Let’s look at three of the top challenges for midsize and larger companies when migrating to public cloud infrastructure, and how channel partners can help:

Understanding ROI

CIOs need to make a sound case for saving money over time by moving significant portions of their environment to the public cloud. This can be a complicated endeavor to calculate, as enterprises have a mix of legacy and homegrown applications, third-party systems such as HR and finance, usually a few SaaS applications, and likely more than one data center. The cost evaluation must consider the assessment, planning and migration costs; application modernization requirements and any training and staff needs.

How the channel helps: Skilled partners can help assess and compare on-premises infrastructure costs to the cloud with better accuracy and speed. Some channel companies have developed strong methodologies and best practices, others have powerful tools that can map your on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, right-size your resources in the cloud, and identify infrastructure and application inter-dependencies.

Determining and achieving business advantage

Of course, moving to the cloud is not just about saving money. It’s about gaining new capabilities from the rapid scale, elastic workload and geolocation benefits of public cloud infrastructure. If you need to support a business unit in London, you don’t need to contract with a separate data center provider to make it happen. The major cloud providers have data centers all around the world offering the best reliability and fail-over capabilities for 24-hour businesses. Rapid scale can provide a competitive advantage, yet outside experts with plenty of experience migrating companies to the cloud can help a business understand exactly what’s needed to get there.

How the channel helps:  Companies should look for a partner that has experience in modernizing and refactoring applications within the industry that they work. You should engage partners that have experience in DevOps and TechOps tools, and those that can help you with continuous integration, continuous delivery (CI/CD), build automation and more.

Managing the cloud

Once you have successfully moved workloads or deployed new services in the cloud, you need a partner to monitor and manage your cloud environment. Even though cloud providers manage the infrastructure, you still must manage your own workloads. Cloud infrastructure services generate tons of data, events and alerts that need to be analyzed. Also, you are constantly incurring costs that can be reduced by optimizing your resources. 

How the channel helps: Cloud service providers can manage and monitor your cloud environment, ensuring your services are running efficiently. Cloud optimization requires deep expertise with tools and techniques, something a good partner can bring.

When it comes to making transformational changes in how IT resources are developed, managed, provisioned and delivered, most companies will need some outside help. Partners that can offer a program incorporating competitively priced solutions for the above three key pain points will have an edge in the cloud services market.

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Cloud computing adoption in Australia is booming

The number of Australian businesses using commercial cloud computing services has risen from 19 percent to almost one-third in just one year, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

The ABS has collected information on business use of paid cloud computing services for its second year in a row.

Its 2013-14 business characteristics survey released last year for the first time detailed take-up of cloud services within Australian businesses, revealing nearly one in five businesses were in the cloud.

For the 2015-16 year, the ABS today said that figure had jumped to 31 percent – or almost one-third of businesses. The survey has a sample size of 6750 businesses.

The use of paid-for cloud products grows with the company’s headcount; adoption is at 25 percent for businesses with 0-4 employees, and 60 percent for companies with a 200+ headcount.

Businesses are mostly signing up for cloud-based software products (85 percent), followed by storage capacity at 60 percent – a trend that continued from last year.

The most cited factor for not adopting a cloud service remains insufficient knowledge, the ABS reported. It is mostly businesses in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries that aren’t as comfortable with cloud computing.

However, companies in the heavily regulated finance sector also commonly said they were worried about the risk of a security breach should they go down the cloud path.

But almost two thirds of all businesses said there were no factors limiting their use of the technology. The ABS noted the media and telco industries were the most fervent adopters of predominantly software-based cloud services.

The ABS’ findings on the most and least likely adopters of cloud computing echoed data from last year’s survey.

The results lend weight to a recent prediction by IT research firm Gartner, which in February said the global and local public cloud markets would continue to grow throughout this year.

Gartner said Australia’s cloud market would reach A$6.5 billion, up 15 percent from last year, thanks predominantly to a boom in software-as-a-service adoption.

Worldwide Gartner said the market would jump by 18 percent to reach US$246.8 billion.

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