Meeting the Challenges of Scalability and Agility
Wouldn’t it be lovely if the flow of business was entirely predictable? Of course it isn’t, so the hallmark of a well-run business is that it has plans on how to augment and adapt to market shifts. Seasonal businesses have long faced the issue of troughs and peaks, but most early phase businesses only plan for continual growth. When that stutters, bi-directional scalability becomes a major issue. Harvard Business Review identified confusion between growth and scaling – vastly preferring the latter, and listing “building capacity to scale” as a key business success factor.
A subset of scalability is agility – the ability to quickly adapt. This frequently means being able to take advantage of emerging technology and trends. Adaptation requires resources – both to plan and implement the change. This is an area where mega-lithic corporations have traditionally fallen on their faces. They see the iceberg, but can’t turn quickly enough to avoid it. Forbes called agility “the new currency of growth”, equating it with innovation in importance.
Scalability typically affects a broad range of infrastructure, as it encompasses the ability to add or reduce resources, communications, computer networks, telecom networks, processing power, storage, and management. The aim of scalability is always to keep costs to a level matching resources utilized – and not to be paying for future expansion potential. Everyone wants that potential, but want to avoid the associated costs until it’s needed.
Managing scalability – and keeping costs pared to the level used – is where Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) shines. You pay for what you use, and have constant ability to shift usage levels. When you make that shift, the management of resources is transparent – you can see it if you look hard, but you don’t need to focus on it.
Another key factor in choosing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for scalability, is the ability to add managed services as they are required. If you’re in Texas like Cartika’s US office, and hurricane Disaster Recovery is an issue, then add that service. FYI, our Dallas Data Centre has still had zero down-time! If you start to distribute videos on a widescale basis, you can add a Content Delivery Network (CDN). When managing your backups becomes too much, or you land a job that requires specialized data compliance or security, then you add those managed services – as needed. You don’t need to add local infrastructure or expertise to scale effectively.
Agility is the speed of changing how you work, and the technology used. Most IT departments are fully stressed managing day-to-day issues, and have neither the expertise nor bandwidth to effectively manage rapid technology shifts. Your workforce typically knows that they want to take advantage of new software and systems, and gets frustrated by the length of time it takes to implement these, while agile competitors out-maneuver them.
Agility isn’t something that all IaaS providers excel at. Especially the mega-lithic companies referenced earlier. Your customers want to interact with you in the way they are most comfortable. Your employees want to work in the way that allows them to be most effective and efficient. You need an IaaS partner who actively manages your infrastructure, and knows when you need to add a Content Delivery Network, or a mobile VPN to facilitate how your customers and employees choose to work.
Active Infrastructure Management
The key to meeting scalability and agility challenges lays in active infrastructure management. And managing infrastructure isn’t your core business. But it is Cartika’s only business, and has been for almost two decades. We are constantly adding managed service options, based on market shifts and customer demand.
Learn more about making the move to Infrastructure-as-a-Service in our IaaS Buyers guide.