Everyone does it different in the cloud

Everyone does it different in the cloud

By Jeff Ralyea on Thursday, November 5, 2015

This is the last of a six-part series on the cloud. While I’ve addressed a number of topics, I think a natural conclusion would be to emphasize the idea of choice.

In my first blog, I stressed the importance of letting institutional strategy drive cloud strategy—a concept reinforced in each subsequent blog. Every institution has different goals, priorities, and resources and therefore different technology needs. Fortunately, migrating to the cloud is not a one-time, one-size-fits-all endeavor.

The cloud is all about choice. How to get there. What to move first. How to determine if you’re investing in solutions with the highest impact on student success.

So what are the choices?

You can move hardware, software, data, administration, or any combination of products or services to the cloud. The key is to understand the benefits and trade-offs when it comes to cost, flexibility, control, and agility to innovate. There are many different cloud models. Here are three of the most common:

I. Cloud application hosting

What is it?

With this model, you transition hosting and/or management of your licensed applications to a cloud provider. The provider manages the operating system, database, and application. You retain control of governance, customizations, as well the version on which you run and the timing of software upgrades.

  • Removes burden and cost of managing your data center
  • Enables you to shift IT focus to strategic priorities
  • Improves system and data availability, recoverability, and security
  • Allows you to retain flexibility and control over mission-critical applications, including necessary customizations
  • Time to implement upgrades, changes, and innovations may increase depending on your service level agreement
  • Configuration and integration between cloud and on-premise software increases complexity, which can in turn raise costs
  • Network infrastructure issues on-premise can lead to performance degradation

II. Cloud software (Saas)

What is it?

SaaS stands for software as a service. SaaS solutions are cloud-hosted and subscription based. They provide standard product features, as well as the extensibility needed for seamless addition of new features.

Because the software is standardized, you can add applications to the solution portfolio, easily manage upgrades, and receive regulatory extensions. CRM, business intelligence, and reporting solutions are frequently available in a SaaS portfolio to extend the functionality of your solutions.

  • Seamless upgrades in functionality and innovation, little disruption
  • Lower costs from paying only for what you use
  • Always-on innovation and maintenance
  • Faster implementation through automation of best practices
  • Reduced burden on IT, which lowers maintenance costs
  • IT freed to focus on strategic priorities
  • Limited control over customization and governance
  • Provider controls time and pace for software upgrades
  • Third party must be trusted with sensitive company data and business processes

III. Blended cloud

What is it?

With this model, an institution subscribes to select SaaS software, while at the same time running its ERP and/or other data and software on premise.

  • Integrated solution set between on-premise and cloud software
  • Maximizing benefits of both models to fit your business goals
  • Agility to innovate where needed; flexibility to tailor software to support select institutional goals
  • Retaining some hardware, software, and maintenance costs
  • Less ability to benefit from a full suite of solutions in the cloud that are agile, scalable, and in a constant state of innovation

If you’ve had success or challenges with different cloud models, please share your experience with a Comment. Or feel free to leave a question.

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About the Author

Jeff Ralyea

Jeff Ralyea

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cloud at Ellucian

Jeff creates cloud solutions that are integrated, flexible, and designed to enhance the student experience of today and tomorrow.