First of all, I’m not a techie luddite. I’m a huge fan of Cloud services and use them regularly both at home and for work purposes. But, I don’t believe in using cloud for clouds sake either. Often cloud is glamourized by IT, sales people and the press, into being the next best thing since sliced bread.
On the whole Cloud is advantageous, for several reasons, sometimes costs, simplification etc. Especially now since working flexibly is becoming more and more of a requirement, for companies and clients alike. But there are oversights that can make people behave like the rumours of suicidal lemmings, one goes they all go.
All this article intends to do is to point out some all too obvious glaring oversights in venturing into the cloud, simply pointing out to concentrate on the journey rather than just the destination.
What’s your strategy?
Firstly do you have one? Many companies still don’t have a cloud strategy, and the default is often (stated or not) that they are just doing what their CEO wants. Sometimes the CEO has actually dictated that the cloud is the strategy (without a connection to an actual business goal). Not unlike other examples of “airline magazine syndrome,” hype and unrealistic expectations are often behind the interest. This is not a cloud strategy and is often based on one or more of the myths outlined in this note.
Asses the need is the simple answer, it’s all to easy to bung something on cloud as a solution when you could actually find alternative cheaper solutions (e.g hosted services, virtualised solutions etc.)
The usual fear with internal IT is that moving to cloud lessens their workload, and jobs feel under threat. Simply that is not the problem, cloud providers seldom have the working knowledge and manpower to replace internal IT. If anything this is an additional string to the bow, expand work responsibility and keeping the cloud operationally at full functionality
So ensure that client IT don’t think they can sit back and enjoy the ride, or that you can pass everything on to the provider, a good cloud strategy will rely on co operation with provider(s)
Cloud is about money
All too often the financial considerations not part of an IT decision process, especially when that process concerns cloud computing. The Myth that cloud is that it always saves money, is not always the case, simply bad decision making without financial afore thought contributes highly to cloud costs.
Often a “what we have and can it be put in Cloud” is the overall view point, no thought given to expansion and additional costs of OS, storage and connection services as the customer base grows. Check the financial implications that a switch from capital expenditure (capex) getting what you have, to the operating expenditure once you move to cloud the expansion requirements.
If you’re providing a private cloud, or using a hosted solution, what have you done to cater for clients future choices to change provider, amend/expand the network configuration on their site etc.
The simple fact is that: don’t assume you will save money unless you have done the hard work of honestly analysing all of the situations, Utilize total cost of ownership and other models on a case-by-case basis. Segment cloud into use cases. (see next section)
It could well be that to gain the real advantages you require from Cloud, that you have to look beyond cost issues, and therefore provide a more “expensive solution” to get the working solution required.
The sole vendor scenario
Any new IT implementation is all too common to fall into an easy option, of putting all your eggs in one basket. But, cloud computing is not one single concept, there are multiple solutions that span over several concepts or models such as SaaS, DaaS even just simplified Cloud storage.
Although most cloud providers will say they will cover all bases on your behalf, financially you could be handing out free money for something that can be done cheaper by another provider, or alternatively by yourself.
This should be looked into thoroughly, for example SaaS solutions by an external “hosted” servers for clients, will effectively save you storage costs, and the end user/client IT costs. Again look to expansion, provisioning of more storage, additional servers etc, additional OS and other hosting costs will apply
But your own infrastructure, could be put on Azure to provide SaaS internally or for smaller client bases, and run DaaS models so as to provide a work anywhere scenario, that you could maintain internally without having to pay external hosting providers dead money for costings and services that you don’t use all the time.
The behaviour of inter operational cloud is not impossible, cloud strategy should be based on aligning business objectives and getting benefits from it. Those goals and benefits are different in various use cases and should be the driving force for businesses, rather than any attempts to standardize on one offering or strategy.
If you’re not Cloud your history
Looking at cloud from both sides, or cloud rinsing the habit of calling something cloud that isn’t (e.g. a hosted service) is another common myth.
Basically call a spade a spade, there are other capabilities (e.g., automation, virtualization) and characteristics can be good and have no need to be “clouded”, let these strategies be if they work for you and the client, and avoid misplaced expectations.
For example private cloud hosted services, may make use of a secure connection to assure privacy/security, this link could be point to point between companies, so any opportunity to access cloud style may be prohibited unless connectivity is taken into consideration
Virtualisation Fog/Use Cloud for everything ?
One term banded about is hybrid cloud, and in reality it’s the better solution. A percent split of services that benefit from being on cloud, and maintained where they are, is often the reality that is left once your objectives have been assessed.
Where services are kept in situ, where cloud is not suitable then perhaps virtualisation, is an alternative. Virtualization is a commonly used enabling technology for cloud computing, but, it is not the only way to implement cloud computing (established SaaS while new approaches such as containerization are gaining traction).
Not only is it not necessary, it is not sufficient either. Even if virtualization is used (and used well), the result is not cloud computing. This is most relevant in private cloud discussions where highly virtualized, automated environments are common and, in many cases, are exactly what is needed. Unfortunately, these are often erroneously described as “private cloud”