3 Key Insights to Navigate the Cloud Universe


When NASA broadcast the first high-res pictures of Pluto earlier this month, space enthusiasts and astronomers swarmed the NASA.gov website. Eager to finally see the mysterious dwarf planet, web visitors rejoiced as they consumed videos, listened to podcasts, and flipped through photos. NASA hosts upwards of 250,000 websites and over 3TB of information in Amazon’s cloud platform (AWS), with over 150,000 simultaneous users during popular live stream events.

Beginning in 2013, NASA began strategically migrating workloads, applications, and web content into the cloud. NASA’s leadership had incredible foresight which enabled space fanatics worldwide to consume and enjoy NASA’s hard work in an “always-on” digital experience.

What would happen if NASA did not migrate away from data centers and move into the cloud?

The massive volume of streams and page requests would clog NASA’s system – delaying or even denying service outright. Any downtime, even a few seconds, may discourage users from returning to the site. Fortunately for NASA, AWS offers enough compute, storage, and content distribution resources to allow the organization to avoid these challenges.

In a recent IDC white paper, Amazon interviewed ten organizations from a cross section of industries to quantify the impact AWS has on their business operations and IT environments. Here are three key insights of how cloud computing transforms businesses, realized by NASA and thousands of other businesses across the world:

Maximized Business Productivity

NASA’s migration of nearly 160 applications enabled the organization to support 1.4 million assets. Businesses migrating to the cloud can discover these very same productivity benefits through scalable, on-demand IT resources. Application development cycles can be shortened by weeks – even months – utilizing the highly scalable and flexible AWS platform. On average, the five-year business ROI of migrating to AWS for ten organizations interviewed by IDC was more than 560%. On an application basis, businesses reported more than $1.54M per application. Business productivity increases as IT departments are able to instantaneously deploy new server and storage resources in AWS, more than 97.1% faster than a standard infrastructure deployment.

Increased IT Staff Productivity

Surprisingly, business productivity is not a main driver of AWS gains. Employees are impacted by the positive benefits of cloud, including agility, scalability, and on-demand applications. NASA’s successful migration to AWS cloud provided an entire cultural shift within their IT staff, moving employees away from labor-intensive maintenance roles into important advisory and value-added positions. IDC also found that staff efficiencies in AWS cloud are found within administering and managing workloads; and developing and deploying applications.

Reduced Infrastructure Footprint

NASA experienced an immediate 40 percent drop in operations and maintenance costs by making a switch to AWS. Spending OPEX for cloud means a company will align its investment with actual usage against total cost of ownership. It means that businesses will avoid over-provisioning resources. Leveraging cloud enables a business to reduce on-premise or hosting services to deliver workloads and applications on-demand. In addition, businesses do not have to rely on a large infrastructure footprint when developing a complex, high availability disaster recovery plan. Amazon offers fast, efficient, and scalable disaster recovery models for an array of needs.

NASA and countless other companies are using these 3 key areas to transform their organizations and technology departments. Organizations that are adopting cloud become more agile competitors, offer better customer satisfaction, and increase productivity at multiple levels throughout the business. Relus guides technologists in adopting cloud and providing best practices to maximize cloud architecture and services. For more information, contact a Relus Cloud Specialist today.

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