by: Mike Waas

Covid-19 challenges IT leaders to accelerate cloud move

Covid-19 has been ravaging the US. At the time of writing the death toll stands at over 40,000. Covid-19 has inflicted unbelievable pain and suffering and I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are safe.

Beyond personal suffering, Covid-19 has also brought significant damage to our economy. Entire sectors are languishing as customers stay away and workers are out of jobs. Major enterprises are re-evaluating their business models and scrutinizing their every budget position.

In all this, IT leaders are trying to make sense of it. Despite all its darkness, Covid-19 presents opportunity for the best of leaders to step up and ensure enterprise IT does their part so the enterprise emerges from this crisis stronger and renewed.

Industry analysts posit that Covid-19 challenges IT leaders to accelerate their move to the cloud. I agree. I’d argue, moving the data warehouse is the most pressing challenge for two reasons.

Stop overpaying legacy data warehouse vendors and cut cost

For many sectors of our economy, cutting cost has become a matter of survival. Even for the few verticals that are not contracting, being smart about costs now is critical for their recovery later.

As IT leaders review their spending, data warehouse appliances stand out. They are often the single biggest positions in the entire IT budget. In most cases, they have come under scrutiny already long before Covid-19. However, in the light of budget cuts, they present a unique opportunity to save cost.

Moving the entire infrastructure of the current data warehousing solution to the cloud has immediate benefits. Elasticity means pay-for-what you really use — and stop over-provisioning. Operations are simplified and highly effective. Continuous hardware upgrades in the cloud promise a significantly better price-performance ratio. Not to mention, once business picks up again, the flexibility of cloud resources offers a highly effective scale strategy.

Economies of scale have long been the promise of the cloud — the current economic situation forces enterprises to face this reality and act. So, stop overpaying for your on-premises data warehouse now.

Leverage novel data processing facilities in the cloud and generate new revenue

The smart IT leader looks beyond simply saving on infrastructure though. In the modern enterprise, data is the engine behind every recovery. We’ve seen this in the great recession in 2009. The best enterprises emerged from the financial crisis stronger because of their drive to innovate. They doubled down on data processing infrastructure and figured out new ways to leverage data. For them, better ways to process data equates directly to new revenue.

In many ways, Covid-19 levels the playing field. Long-standing competitive advantage has been wiped out in a matter of months. Regaining the upper hand will be critical for enterprises. The ability to leverage a multitude of data processing facilities and 3rd party services in the cloud—including AI and ML—is a unique opportunity for restarting the engine.

All of that is predicated on getting the data to the cloud first. However, not your database, but the actual data is the critical ingredient. Just putting your old data warehouse into the cloud keeps or even solidifies data silos and actually hampers using the data in the long run. To take full advantage of the cloud, managing your data in a data warehouse native to your target cloud is key.

Cloud data warehouses such as Azure Synapse Analytics, Amazon Redshift or Google BigQuery, put IT leaders in the driver seat. With them, IT leaders enable new revenue across all business functions.

Replatform the most critical data to secure competitive advantage

So, should you move to the cloud now? If you ask this question, you probably haven’t understood the magnitude of the crisis. And neither the opportunity it presents.

Take a page from 2009 where the best enterprises emerged stronger and more competitive by harnessing data. They doubled down on data infrastructure. Back then, the role of the data warehouse transformed from optional to critical. The data warehouse quickly became the central data hub driving all major business operations.

This is your moment to either sit worrying about uncertainty and hope for external help or to roll up your sleeves and get going.

Bold IT leaders take advantage of database virtualization

The journey from a cloud data warehouse on premises to one in the cloud is a daunting one. Moving the data is the easy part—making your applications work with the new data warehouse is the hard one.

Conventional data warehouse migration is typically quoted as a 3-5-year project with a $20m-$50m price tag. Sadly, conventional migration has only a 10% success probability. Too many vendors tout tools and utilities that magically rewrite your applications but have to throw in the towel after the job is only 70% complete. The fact that these tools come bundled with extensive consulting services is a dead giveaway they are not getting you to the finish line.

Database virtualization, the principle underlying Datometry, is a completely different approach. Instead of modifying your applications, database virtualization keeps your applications intact. It lets you preserve your long-standing investments while you swap out the data warehouse appliance for a cloud-native data warehouse. Become not only cloud-native but also database agnostic. Database virtualization takes only about 10% of the time of a conventional migration and costs only a fraction. Better still it moves your win probability from below 10% to way North of 90%.

When can you start, you ask? If after reading all this, you realize it’s time to up-level your Teradata appliance, ask your cloud provider for a free assessment by Datometry. You will be generating new revenue while achieving substantial cost savings before this crisis is over.

Be safe, take care of yourself and the ones you love!

About Mike Waas CEO

Mike Waas founded Datometry with the vision of redefining enterprise data management. In the past, Mike held key engineering positions at Microsoft, Amazon, Greenplum, EMC, and Pivotal. He earned an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Passau, Germany, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Mike has co-authored over 35 peer-reviewed publications and has 20+ patents on data management to his name.