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More large companies are transitioning to the cloud

July 08, 2013

Moving to the cloud may be desirable, but it isn't always easy. For a young, relatively small company with a robust IT support, the decision is relatively simple. The lack of a prolonged history and not needing to move the information regarding numerous employees allow startups to transition with minimal difficulty. For more entrenched companies, however, the shift to the cloud isn't always an easy one. 

Large companies and the cloud
When it comes to to sizable companies, few are bigger than BP. With approximately 87,000 employees and a heritage that reaches back to 1909, BP is one of the largest companies in the world. According to a recent Computer Weekly article, the company's pre-cloud IT infrastructure included 90,000 PCs, 17,000 servers and 340 WAN connections. These helped manage the 57 petabytes of data BP accumulated during its long history. 

Migrating all of this information to the cloud was no simple task, despite the 10,500 individuals involved in BP's IT services. The issue was further complicated by the regulatory compliance requirements the oil company must abide by. 

However, the optimization and security benefits of the cloud compelled the company to make the move. The agility of the cloud granted BP the resources to handle a sudden increase from 15,000 visitors to 17 million during the gulf oil spill, as well as the ability to quickly release new marketing campaigns during that time. 

Not just a cloud; the clouds
Rather than rely on one cloud service, though, BP chose to use nine different providers to receive the the best technological support possible for the company's numerous departments and needs. It utilized private, public and in-house IT infrastructure alike when it moved to the cloud. 

"We wanted best-of-breed cloud solutions for every feature, but there is no single provider that can offer the best technological solution for each of our needs," said Dana Deasy, BP CIO, according to the news source. "It is difficult to pick one service that fits all use cases."

Beyond giving BP greater flexibility with its IT resources, the move will also assist the company's BYOD policy. Computer Weekly reported that the company currently uses 20,000 personal devices thanks to the policy. By moving to the cloud, the company can ensure greater information security by storing less data on equipment from outside the organization. 

Staying ahead of the tech curve
Despite BP's size, it invested in the technology that may help it maintain its global presence for the foreseeable future. Speaking with Business Today, Werner Vogels, Amazon chief technology officer, recently suggested that the cloud may give startups the ability to rapidly become a global business. This can create competitors to large companies that were nonexistent just a few short years ago. Amazon itself drastically changed book sales by utilizing then-new shifts in technology and buying habits. BP's move was challenging, but may give it a degree of flexibility lacking in its competitors. 

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