Cloud Computing continues to take hold in the market, and continues to provide businesses cost savings, increased security, and increased speed of implementation. However, many company purchasing managers and IT departments dive too quickly into the cloud without deeper consideration of the issues at hand; in other words, with a cloud strategy. Without a qualified provider of services to walk the company through the implementation process, moving to cloud computing on a whim can cause more harm than good.
Never Choose on a Whim
Over the past few years, the cloud has cemented itself as a developing technology that is going to be at the center of IT for decades to come. However, this does not mean that IT managers can simply schedule a cloud migration and assume success. Cloud Computing should never be chosen on a whim, and never be chosen strictly because of the following three rationales:
- Cost Savings
- Enterprise IT Renovation
Related: Common Mistakes in Vendor Selection
This said, the aforementioned ideas are starting points to cloud adoption, but should never be the defining factors that set a cloud move into motion. The cloud can, for example, make IT infrastructure simpler and more efficient, but if businesses try to add the cloud to their existing infrastructure instead of truly migrating, the end result is a much more complex system.
Key Cloud Understandings
If businesses migrate unmanaged, unstructured data to the cloud; data is not going to be any more effective than it was when it was hosted on-premises. Note the following considerations you need to make before diving head-first into the cloud.
- Understand IT Complexity: Cloud applications exist in the infrastructure of most organizations. However, the organizations do not get rid of the existing legacy infrastructure and, as a result, they are adding more layers to their IT and making it more complex. An important pre-cloud consideration, data cleanup can help minimize the mess created during migration.
- Understand the Overall Costs: In the case of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), when multi-instance capabilities allow scalability; cloud computing can become dangerously misunderstood in terms of price. For instance, if you predict 10 or 30 instances monthly, but allow your developers to purchase instances as they see fit; there have been companies whose developers purchased instances freely and ended up with 750 instances on account. Luckily, for multi-tenant or subscription-based services, the pricing is more straightforward, but still a consideration that must be heeded. Learn how scalability works in a multi-tenant environment here.
- Understand and Clarify Virtualization: As software-defined approaches are applied to information technology, organizations now have the choice of outsourcing IT functions to service providers. But Lack of clear virtualization strategy and over-provisioning can result in the consolidation project overcomplicating the infrastructure and make things worse.
- Understand Security: Companies can offer security features in the cloud, but if your password is ‘password,’ that’s not the fault of the cloud. Gary Barnett, chief analyst at Ovum says “Cloud computing can be secure but enterprises must train their staff to stop using easy passwords. It is not about technology, but about changing the business culture, having policies and checks in place, and outlining a strategy and sticking to it.” Understand the importance of security in data here.
The Bottom Line
No matter what you do, remember the following three pieces of advice from Gartner VP and Analyst Thomas J. Bitteman:
- Cloud computing can save money, but only for the right services.
- Enterprise IT can learn from cloud computing, and private cloud, when applied to the right services (that can’t be deployed to a public cloud provider), can drive the organization to more efficient and effective standards.
- Cloud computing enables new forms of computing and can enable experimentation and short-running services like never before – but there is a balance between innovation anarchy, and long-term operational effectiveness and efficiency that need to be managed, just right.
IT managers at midsize businesses have to be especially careful of these cloud computing considerations, since these businesses are less able than enterprises to absorb a misstep.
IT managers simply have to do their homework and gain an understanding of the cloud. This begins with an internal audit of existing systems, can be discussed with a cloud partner to determine how to best leverage the power of the cloud to eliminate the need for many of these internal systems. Some businesses may find that a quick migration is best, while others may decide to roll out new apps and initiatives in the cloud first, giving IT staff time to learn before migrating existing mission-critical apps.
How can you do your homework and get truly informed before you make a decision to move to the cloud? The InCloud360 Blog is your source for the news and insight in cloud computing. We welcome you to subscribe to our e-newsletter (we never spam you), and contact us when you’re ready to make the move.