Blog: Adapt to changing patterns of user demand with flexible cloud services

By Andy Haley, Director of Managed Services & Cyber Security, Meridian IT UK

Developing an enterprise IT architecture used to follow a standard pattern: you would procure and implement on-premise physical servers and storage at your data centre to support your business applications. And you took responsibility for managing the infrastructure, securing the network, running upgrades, and completing capacity planning.

However, over the past decade, working practices have changed significantly, and both employees and customers expect more flexible access to services, any time, anywhere. This trend has only been accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is driving much higher demand for digital services and forcing most companies to explore new operating models, such as enabling the majority of employees to work full-time from home.

In response, businesses today need more flexible infrastructure models that can adapt to their unique requirements. You need a smarter approach that gives you the agility you need to thrive in the modern marketplace.

Reaching the limits of on-premises infrastructure

The central problem of the traditional on-premises infrastructure model is easy to understand: you have to purchase a fixed amount of capacity. If you then find workloads suddenly increase beyond your original projections, you can find yourself having to knock on the door of your finance department to ask for extra budget to purchase additional hardware to accommodate the growth. Conversely, if business volumes unexpectedly dip, you find yourself paying to maintain server capacity that you are not actually using.

In effect, your original capacity forecasts become vitally important—but even the most in-depth planning cannot factor in everything. Companies increasingly need to be able to experiment with developing new services such as compute- and memory-hungry analytics, IoT and cognitive applications. It’s almost impossible to predict which of these initiatives will take off, and which will fail—so making significant up-front capital investment in hardware is a sure recipe for disaster.

Shifting usage patterns

The nature of modern commerce emphasises and amplifies these problems. For example, with so much business now conducted online, companies often see surges in demand when they launch new services or during traditional retail peak-periods like Christmas. And with website traffic suddenly surging, the pressure on back-end infrastructure can reach breaking point.

These spikes in demand represent a golden opportunity for businesses to boost their sales, grow their revenues and increase their profits. Yet if you’re relying on fixed-capacity on-premise infrastructure, you may simply not be able to cope with the sudden demand, leading to unscheduled downtime at the worst possible moment. Customers cannot make purchases, sales are lost, and brand reputation takes a nosedive.

New ways of working have also eroded the value of on-premise infrastructure. Traditional architectures tend to be designed to support employees operating nine-to-five and logging on to a local network at a central office location. But today, remote working has become the new normal—especially in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

And with remote working, employees typically work outside traditional office hours. Research from the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) shows the number of people working flexible hours in the UK has increased five-fold in the last two decades. That means you need to keep servers running at optimal performance 24 hours a day rather than simply nine-to-five.

Seizing the cloud advantage

The Meridian Power Cloud can help to eliminate these headaches. Rather than having to purchase and manage your own hardware, your applications run on IBM Power Systems servers based in one of our secure UK data centres. Crucially, with the Meridian Power Cloud, you only pay for the resources that you actually consume—instead of having to pay to keep your on-premises hardware running round the clock.

This flexibility is ideal for supporting modern usage patterns. When workloads increase during peak periods, the server resources that you need are ready and waiting and you can scale up usage immediately. When demand dips, you can scale back usage and reduce your spend accordingly.

Meridian IT is an IBM Platinum Business Partner with a long-track record of delivering managed cloud services to some of the leading banks, retailers and other leading businesses in the UK—so we’re the right partner to help you set out on your cloud journey. To learn more about the benefits of the Meridian Power Cloud, take a look at our website, or reach out to us today at info@meridianit.co.uk

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