Solving your Cloud Headaches: Information is Power
In our last post we touched on the challenges that a CIO has in terms of making the CEO’s cloud dreams come true! The benefits and advantages of cloud are, in all likelihood, exactly what the CIO wants anyway.
It’s just that getting from point A to point B can be a bit of a nightmare!
We suggested some questions in three areas, which might help make this transition a lot more headache-free! Be informed. Address Your skills and staffing. Understand and deal with your risk.
So, let’s drill down on how to become an informed customer. It’s a great place to start if you are new to the cloud, looking to change clouds or trying to decide if you stay in-house or outsource.
If you are new to cloud, how do you know which cloud?
Cloud computing comes in three basic flavours – public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. Which one you go for really depends on the workloads, security and management required.
In a public cloud environment, resources such as servers and storage, are owned and operated off site by a third party – think Google or Microsoft.
1. Potentially lower costs (it is becoming more and more common to hear people complain about bill fatigue in the public cloud arena so controlling costs is actually becoming more difficult)
2. No maintenance – this is done by your cloud provider
3. Unlimited scalability (but this will come at a cost)
4. High reliability – generally speaking disaster recovery should be well covered as many cloud providers have to “pay back” for outages.
In a private cloud environment resources are owned and used exclusively by the organisation often on premises, but sometimes in a data-centre.
1. More flexibility as you can customise
2. Improved security as resources are solely dedicated to your organisation
So for all intents and purposes there are advantages to both – enter our third flavour of cloud – the hybrid cloud, combining private clouds with public clouds and allowing data, applications and services to move between the two – kind of like getting a scoop of Rum N Raisin and Cookies N Cream – in the same cone!
Hybrid cloud gives you:
1. Cost effectiveness, as you scale in and out of a public cloud only pay when you need the extra resources.
2. Flexibility to allow you to scale up and down as required.
3. Easy – a gradual transition to the cloud. No cloud brain-freeze from taking the whole lot at once or too fast!
4. Control – keep sensitive assets secure.
How do you know which technology?
This is a complex question. Been to an ice-creamery lately? It’s not just the flavour.. there’s all the other bits that get added to enhance your ice-cream experience. But which ones go together best? And when did ice-cream get so complicated!
Alas, there is also a lot more than just choosing your flavour of cloud.
1. What are your organisation’s needs? Having a cloud strategy that is integral to the business strategy is important.
2. How is data used within your company? As we discussed in the last post, data analytics is one of the great benefits of cloud. But you need to know what type of data it is, who needs access it, how does it integrate into your systems and how will it be secured.
3. If you are working with consultants, you need to all be on the same page – are your definitions of cloud the same? Are your expectations of cloud what that partner would deliver?
4. What is your cloud readiness? You need to do a capability assessment. We will discuss skills and staffing in a future post.
5. What is your time frame for migration? What apps can be migrated, legacy apps might cause issues?
How do you set your cloud strategy?
Many companies are starting to move to a cloud-first strategy. Gartner says that by 2020 Anything other than a cloud-only strategy for new IT initiatives will require justification at more than 30 percent of large enterprises.
1. Understand your company goals. Cloud is a vague term and can encompass so many different technologies. Be clear on what each technology is and how it attaches to a business goal. Make sure everyone is on the right page. Communication and collaboration.
2. Have a plan. Everyone will have an opinion on initiatives that should be rolled out. A well-documented plan will help identify which cloud initiatives will help achieve the company goals. The strategic plan will link to the organisation’s business strategy and provide governance. The operational plan will keep you on top of project activities and management.
3. Plan for the future. A successful cloud strategy considers your immediate needs alongside those of the future. Focusing too narrowly on now leads to a system that isn’t adaptable to future needs. Lack of inbuilt resilience means your cloud solution won’t meet its full potential. When that happens, you’re left scrabbling to regain control.
Do you want to manage your cloud in-house or do you want to outsource to a partner?
In the case of a private or hybrid cloud, at some point you will need to decide whether you design, implement and manage your cloud yourself, or if you hand it over to an outsourcer, or work together with a partner.
Doing everything internally gives you greater control and visibility. On the other hand, if you don’t have those skills already in house it can be costly to train or hire.
Using a partner or outsourcer for all or part of your strategy means access to greater skill sets and experiences, but you can lose visibility, control and you need to understand the consequences if it all goes pear-shaped! Confidence in your partners is essential.
We will talk more about the when we discuss lowering risk in a future post.
The IT landscape – and, in particular technologies around cloud, are evolving at a faster and faster pace. This means both strategy needs to be future-proofed, to ensure that your business and the cloud that supports it is sustainable far into the future.
About Qirx in a Box
We have a simple approach to cloud solutions – we build cloud experts.
Qirx in a Box is a game changing product that turns everyday IT people into cloud experts. It’s a one-stop solution that allows us to transfer our expertise to you and your team. This means you are empowered with the knowledge, tools and know-how to accurately determine what your business requires. Then you are perfectly positioned to create a more efficient, secure hybrid cloud and maintain and scale your hybrid cloud environment as your needs grow.
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