Don’t let your Cloud transformation hit roadblocks – 5 critical checks…
Beginning the journey to cloud is not trivial. Ultimately you will want to get an idea of your desired end-state architecture and a picture of how you are going to get there – all wrapped up nicely in a compelling business case. But the first steps are the hardest and getting them right is critical to having a happy cloud future without road blocks along the way…here’s where not to trip up:
You most likely ended up here because, at face value, the promise of cloud met your business objectives. But just because cloud meets other people's requirements it doesn’t mean it will meet your needs. Whether you are hitting crucial resource constraints or seeking a fundamental shift in costs, a critical opening qualification for cloud adoption is needed. This means a frank assessment of the technical and business objectives that are driving this project. This will guide the way for the next steps.
You may think your apps stands alone but in reality they may be tightly linked to a string of dependencies on other applications, directory services, authentication systems, administration utilities, database calls and web services to name a few. This will dictate the broken links that will result from a separation from the remaining environment. The complexity of your application logic will also tell you whether you are best headed for a SaaS, PaaS or a private / public IaaS solution – the reality is one cloud doesn’t fit all. If you are seeking the economies of a dynamically scaled environment, the scaling model and API support will be critical. Apply this analysis across your portfolio and target the low hanging fruit.
3: Platforms and Systems
The nature of the existing platforms and systems will dictate the complexity of the required migration. Monolithic, "Scale Up" solutions can be less public cloud friendly (especially if tightly coupled to Enterprise Storage) whilst existing virtualised, scale out “edge” systems may move seamlessly. When you break up the layers of your solution (for example: managed database, PaaS for apps, managed web services) then understand how your providers will connect these layers. Due diligence on licensing constraints also needs to be carried out for ALL resident software including SOE elements such as backup clients and anti-virus. If your solution is clustered at this level, requirements to emulate the same degree of availability or meet Disaster Recovery policies will dictate your best path.
Getting your networking team to agree to a forklift change can be a challenge. They will tell you about bandwidth issues, chatty protocols, latency problems and then there’s security. These are all valid and critical causes for concern. Beyond that, there’s the data you’re sending during operations and the initial seeding during migration. The bandwidth, time and cost associated with this has to be calculated carefully.
Whilst you may have a technically feasible migration, are you still compliant? Data and Services may be bound by data security governance that prevents off premise or out of country hosting. Beyond that, your existing environment may adhere to regulatory standards the cloud environment does not. It’s critical to assess compliance issues caused by migration and ring fence systems that are implicated. Management of personal information is critical and governed by The Privacy Act. Wherever the data is held it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s secure. These issues are not always unsurmountable but this is where some of the big decisions get made.