By Nick Brackney, Senior Consultant, Cloud Marketing, Dell EMC
A purpose-built cloud operating model needs to be an integral part of every organisation’s technology strategy. Some organisations have implemented a cloud operating model and made substantial cloud investments. Many, however are still in the early phases of their cloud journey.
Early cloud adopters sometimes moved with much exuberance towards the cloud and paid the price when the wrong workload was moved; either due to escalating costs, poor performance, or service levels. As a result, they’re right sizing their clouds and repatriating the workloads that run better in their data centre.
Cloud isn’t going away; it’s only going to become an even bigger part of organisations’ IT strategy. And, in most cases, poor cloud experiences are the result of poor planning and execution. For this reason, it’s important to be thoughtful in how you approach your cloud journey. With that in mind, let’s look at the pitfalls to avoid as you progress through the stages of cloud adoption.
1. Not aligning with business objectives
If the organisation prioritises expediency over practicality, and cloud investments are made without consideration for your business model, or organisation structure, you are on a surefire path to cloud failure. Additionally, unrealistic expectations about how quickly users can adopt new processes or technologies can create misalignment and jeopardise the project. The greater the change, the more the tendency to disrupt the flow of business. IT Ops should take a leadership role and help ensure that the organisation’s cloud strategy accounts for the needs of both business and IT stakeholders in a cohesive way.
2. Making sweeping mandates instead of incremental changes
For years “cloud-first” and “we’re getting out of the data centre game” were the rallying cries for many companies. But the reality is that on-premises is still a better option for many workloads. Per ESG, nearly nine of ten organisations expect most (35%), or at least half (54%) of their applications/workloads to be running on-premises in three years.
Instead of moving applications to the cloud wholesale, look at each application, and assess whether it is a good candidate for cloud or not. Important considerations include its service level requirements, how the business uses it, and regulatory requirements. For most organisations, public cloud, private cloud, and edge infrastructure should work together as part of a cohesive IT strategy. By taking this prescriptive approach to cloud, you can deliver the right experience out of the gate and reduce the churn and rework often associated with repatriation.
3. Creating disjointed experiences for developers and IT
With some applications and data living on-premises, and some in the cloud, it is very easy to create a situation where both developers and IT operations are working in a series of disconnected siloes. By having two sets of processes and tools, it becomes more difficult for teams to work together, and establish best practices for both environments. This creates a rift between environments, decreasing the pace of innovation, and increasing the costs of managing and developing across your entire IT landscape. Approaching IT from a hybrid perspective and establishing a common infrastructure and management experience across these disparate environments can go a long way to delivering consistent experiences.
4. Wasting existing skills and investments
Reducing the data centre footprint, revamping operational models, and adopting new technologies sounds appealing to many organisations considering a cloud migration. Essentially by starting from scratch, the hope is to eliminate complexity and technical debt. The problem is that this wastes all the skills, processes, and infrastructure investments that your organisation has spent years accumulating. This waste means onboarding unfamiliar practices and can create exposure to risk as the organisation struggles to consume these new technologies and surround them with the right skillsets. Finding a way to leverage your existing investments in conjunction with cloud services can greatly reduce the amount of retraining and additional upfront investment that is required during this transition. By relying on your strengths and incubating new technologies or operational paradigms, you will move a little slower, but also in a more controlled and secure manner.
5. Being trapped in a single cloud
Before making a move, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re going to do if it doesn’t work. Different workloads work better in the cloud vs. on-premises, on one provider’s cloud vs. another, etc. Looking at the hyperscaler options that are available, you would be hard-pressed to pick a clear-cut victor, each will dominate the landscape for many years, and will find their niches. For this reason, you must figure out how to make applications portable and how to protect critical data in such a way that you won’t experience data loss or be prohibitively penalised for moving it. It’s important to note that the concept of data gravity will greatly impact your ability to move later, so having a strategy on the front end that rationalises all cloud investments is critical. Thinking through these risk factors and creating a contingency plan will ensure that you’re at least going in with your eyes open.
I hope that you find these tips helpful. When we were looking at our cloud strategy for Dell Technologies Cloud, we saw organisations running into many of these challenges. That’s why we built it—to help companies avoid these pitfalls and thrive in this multi-cloud world. We’ve partnered with some of the largest hyperscale cloud providers to offer choice, built an offering that removes a lot of the complexity, and designed professional services to help our customers decide where to go and what to move. Ultimately, our goal is to be your partner, so we can help you get away from generic approaches and focus on defining and executing your winning cloud strategy—no matter what that looks like.