Journey to the Cloud

Interesting article in the Reg on Weds about where to start in your Cloud journey…..

With so many virtualisation vendors and cloud offerings, sometimes it’s wise to take time and see which product (or cloud model) fits your business and IT strategy! The worst thing anyone can do is jump straight into the cloud just because their C-level have been cloud-washed by a marketing dept or sales guy! Your cloud journey will be more painful if you try to avoid any due-diligence! (Just look at all those clients who got locked in when 2e2 went tits up!)

In fact it’s worth sitting back and letting the vendors fight amongst themselves for your services!

Entering a public cloud may seem a great way of offsetting infrastructure and support costs, but you need to have a plan in place to exit the cloud – something that probably 90% of cloud customers don’t have!! When you embrace any sort of new technology, it’s always worth having an exit strategy in case everything goes wrong!

As for deploying cloud applications and custom apps…. well, they’ll all be redundant if someone in upper management decide that they don’t want to use VMware and want to put it all in Amazon (or vice-versa)!! Time and effort for cloud-integration is commonly overlooked…… What may work in a VMware cloud may not work in Microsoft Azure or Amazon EC2!

In my opinion, the journey to the cloud should be the same process as the journey to virtualisation…… and that is only throw your dev/test environment in first! Don’t start customising your applications and infrastructure for Cloud in case you need to swap vendors or pull out!

Whilst it’s possible and tempting to push everything into the cloud, it’s more  advisable to ensure you have control over your engagement, that you understand the implications of cloud and how it will integrate with business services…. it’s far easier to scrap a test/dev cloud environment and reclaim data (or even lose it all) than if you had pushed out your mail services or your file server!

Another thing a lot of companies overlook is training…… Cloud computing is a different beast from standard Wintel support….. how do you manage your cloud infrastructure? How do you monitor it for performance? What’s your capacity to grow? A lot of companies pay for consulting services to help them into the cloud, but after splashing out £1-2k per day, make sure that you get your IT some knowledge transfer so that you don’t have to keep paying consultants to come in and fix your problems or even maintain the environment for you! It’s far cheaper in the long run to train your in-house staff and get them managing your cloud than to go outside!

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