Which Cloud Strategy is Best?
Every organization has a cloud initiative. Advertisements for the cloud can be found everywhere; during the Super Bowl, on KYW, on the banner of your Google news feed. You cannot escape this onslaught and neither can your CEO, CFO, or the board. The cloud initiative is poised to eliminate all your IT woes, offering 0 downtime with money leftover in your pockets.
As a member of our regional cloud team (more on this later) I typically find myself at the table discussing cloud initiatives. The three most popular questions at the beginning of these conversations are:
- What can be moved?
- What should be moved?
- How long will this take?
Without failure at the end of our conversation I am asked off the record which cloud is my favorite, or which cloud is best? Before I answer these questions, I would like to walk through why you should consider moving your applications to the cloud. Back in 2002 with the dot-com bubble burst, many IT budgets were slashed. Since the recovery process has skipped over the IT budget, we are asked to do more with less people and a more condensed timeline.
The dilemma facing IT staffs today is; do you complete the afterhours upgrades this month, deploy the new financial application, merge the latest business acquisition, or check on last week’s backups and review performance statistics of the ESX hosts. All too often the tasks that cannot be assigned a monetary value by the business, until there is a problem, is thrown to the cutting room floor to be picked up next week.
So how does the cloud help make my life easier? First, you gain a standardized way of operating, risk is transferred to the cloud, you never have to upgrade your hardware again, and finally you are working in a flexible operational budget.
The arguments against moving to the cloud is the loss of configuration flexibility across the infrastructure for your applications, No longer able to the ability to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul”, cost (the cloud can cost more), and your CFO’s favorite is capital expense depreciation.
When I look at the clouds available, I break them down into 4 classes.
- Private Clouds – Your Data Center
- You and only you have access to the resources in a private cloud. You will pay for resources if they are in use or not. You still work with vendors to spec., build, document, manage, and maintain all aspects of the infrastructure or multiple infrastructures if you require any type of redundancy.
- Metro or Regional Clouds – This is High Availability, Inc.
- You determine the amount of resources your organization needs for your applications and the service provider builds a pool of resources you can carve up and manage as needed. They are an extension of your IT staff to maintain the infrastructure, network, monitoring and backups while you perfect the applications to meet business needs.
- Public/Hyper Clouds – Think Azure or AWS
- They maintain massive data centers for resource allocations and you pay by the drink and the drink and the drink. Every component, and every aspect of your infrastructure is billed by the minute it’s turned on. These are great for variable workloads and business to consumer applications. If you are looking to experiment with Docker or containers, this is a great way to step into the mix without a large capital expense. If you require CDN functionality, this is the right platform. And keep in mind that you are still responsible for all the infrastructure upgrades and backups. They just take care of the hardware. (by the minute)
- SaaS Clouds – Think O365 or Salesforce.com
- These applications that are hosted by the software developers are great solutions for IT organizations that are already taxed with internal projects, M&A and working with the business to drive functionality to the end users.
Every cloud (albeit I am a bias) will not work for all applications. So, to answer one of my early questions "Which one is my favorite"? The answer is simple, the cloud that runs my application the best. All too often we get caught up in the “religious wars of I.T.” I’m an “insert OS/Cloud/Product line” fan boy or girl.
I challenge you to take a step back and ask the question: Which platform is best for my application? It could be Google, private cloud, or a regional cloud like High Availability, Inc.
Understanding the options, and making an informed decision for your business is the end goal. Find the right cloud for you by making sure you understand what will work best for you.
Need to discuss your options more? Reach out to your account manager or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org