The next 12 to 18 months is to be the period when large Australian organisations including government look to move to cloud solutions to replace ageing infrastructure.
There are still large enterprises and governments running on Digital VAX systems which have been out of date technology, no longer on the market, for as long as I have been in the IT world – that’s since the mid-1990s.
Some of the equipment is now over 20 years old and the operating systems are just not providing a platform for growth in the digital age.
This is also playing out in the SME market place as the end of Microsoft 2003 Server support draws near. Any business with a 2003 server needs to be looking to the future and will need to select robust alternatives to its unsupported platforms. This 11-year-old technology will cease to get vital security updates and application support.
So it is time for a strategic approach to moving to new infrastructure in a cost-effective way. For many organisations large and small this will mean considering cloud solutions. The barrier to this is security.
Privacy and data sovereignty are big issues especially for governments and organisations dealing with government contracts. Australia’s new privacy legislation also restricts where and how personal information and data can be stored.
This means the next year will be one of investing in migration projects either to new in-house platforms or some form of cloud solution or a hybrid of the two. For those that are moving to cloud, security tools and encryption tools like Vaultive, which are encrypting data before it leaves your controlled network, will be key to removing the headaches of infrastructure.
Much of this will depend on government policy on what is required to meet the data sovereignty requirements: If it is sufficient to encrypt the data before it leaves Australia; or if it needs to be physically stored here in Australia.
Over the next few months we can also expect Microsoft and its partner network to turn up the heat on upgrading to server 2012 R2 and Office 365 and communicating the benefits of doing so sooner than later. As Windows 2003 Server goes to end of life.
If you are still using old technology in your business I hope you have a budget for the changes you will need to make. By early 2015 I am predicting that there will be a great shortage of capable resources at the SME end of the market for getting server upgrades done.
There are still thousands of Windows 2003 Servers out there in businesses of all sizes and they will be a serious security risk come July 2015. So anyone who has skills in server upgrades will be in demand.
As this has not been a trendy area of study for a few years now, there will be big competition for these skills and inflated prices to go with it.
Consuming your migration budget in the next two quarters is likely to get you a better price on the services and let you get on with business growth in 2015 rather than sweating over finding resources to deliver projects that have a tight timeframe.
If you make one New Year’s resolution this week or next, it should be for good planning for your migrations. This will minimise the impact migration has and the down time it creates in your business.
This is a time when getting the right consultants in to do a smooth migration could save you days of lost productivity across your team. For every eight staff you have working on computers, an hour of down time in a migration is costing you a day’s salary. A couple of days of good planning could reduce your hidden costs by tens of thousands of dollars.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?