The Need For Cloud Experts
One of the things that worries me about organizations considering cloud migrations is the reality of experts. Cloud experts are important as you move to implementing your solution in the cloud, but they aren’t as needed earlier in the process. It is important to consider the big picture first and then the technical details. Many years ago we used to call this the hammer and the nail problem. If the only tool you own is a hammer, everything is a nail.
That is why I tell customer’s to stop and ponder before they dive into the technical details of cloud computing. What do you expect to gain moving to the cloud? Is that goal the same over the course of the next 12, 24 and beyond months? The organizational goals have nothing to do with any specific cloud. Say your organization has decided that you need to get out of the operations business. You no longer want your IT team managing physical servers. Based on that going forward as your primary goal, then you can honestly say it doesn’t matter which cloud you pick.
All the cloud providers offer server management as a base offering. Not your application, just the servers your applications run on. However, if you primary organizational driver is cost, then once again, all the providers can save you money. But before you flip a coin and put yourself into your cloud of the future, there are still a lot of things you can do. First, that may save you more money before you move, and more money after you have moved.
The two easy conversations to have are as follows:
- Buy vs. Build
Buy versus build for cloud solutions is an expanded conversation, where we now include considerations around the concepts of SaaS. SaaS or Software as a Service vs. the use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and renting servers from the cloud provider. You, as an organization, then deploy the applications you want to run. With SaaS, the provider manages the solution, and you are always on the latest version of the solution. With the build solution, you own everything beyond the server. The cloud provider, IaaS, provides the servers and you do everything else. That subtle difference is one you have to consider. There are times when having a SaaS solution is much cheaper. There are times when that SaaS solution is not cheaper. You have to figure out before you decide to move to the cloud which works best for your organization.
Consumption is an interesting cloud question. Does your solution run 24 by 7 in your data center today? It most likely does. But the question you have to ask is, in fact, do you need it to run all day every day? The value of cloud is you are paying utility pricing; it means if you don’t use the compute resources you don’t have to pay for them. That means you need to take a hard look at your applications before you decide to move and see, how long do you need them running? If it isn’t 24 by 7 you will save additional money moving to the cloud.
Both of these can save your organization money. Both can also increase user satisfaction and decrease the risk of out of date solutions. They are both questions that need to be asked and answered before you even talk to the cloud expert for XYZ cloud.
By Scott Andersen