By Ron Mente, Director of Cloud and Emerging Technologies

As IT teams are increasingly expected to deliver more quickly and effectively, cloud technologies are no longer an option – they’re required.  Unfortunately, demystifying cloud technologies and how they can best be utilized by an organization is often as nebulous as the word “cloud” itself. 

Corporations that are seeing results understand their business goals and identify the technological capabilities which enable them to achieve those goals. There are many options to consider, and many paths that can be taken when driving to achieve the desired results.  In this blog, we will discuss a few of the most common deployment methods IT groups are using, and the pros, cons, and caveats of each.

Method 1: All in on public cloud  

In this scenario, you abdicate your choices to one of the public cloud vendors by using their platform, tooling, and methodologies.  In exchange for your monthly spending, you get significant help from the vendor. In many cases, this is a fair trade, but a thoughtful approach is required.

Pros:

  • Supports the ability to adopt CI/CD practices, greatly increasing speed to market  
  • Does not require you to refactor your applications in most cases to get started (although this is something you will need to consider long-term for maximum effect)
  • Allows for greater agility and scalability, married with lower complexity – the ability to elastically turn on and off resources on demand is one of the prime benefits of the public cloud

Cons:

  • Costs are difficult to maintain (this is the #1 piece of feedback we hear from customers who have chosen this method)
  • Cloud-only focus does not consider alternative technologies
  • For best cost and performance, interdependent workloads will need to move to the public cloud environments together – there is significant work involved from the networking, security, and performance teams to make this successful
  • Being locked into any single public cloud provider limits future flexibility and increases business risk

Caveats:

  • Putting controls in place to understand the spend is key to being able to align the spend to the business value it is driving
  • Anticipate a 30 percent repatriation of workloads as costs and performance realities are quantified
  • The full benefits of cloud platforms are realized when you leverage cloud-native technologies – you will not be there on day one!

Method 2: Toe in the water 

In this option, your approach is to make small, strategic investments in a new technology, and then if it is successful expand the effort. You identify a business need requiring new features that are unavailable in the current solutions.   

Pros:

  • By choosing a new, specific capability you get it in place quickly, limit your impacts, and start to see the benefits immediately
  • Honing in on a new business capability as opposed to modernizing an existing application allows you to deliver incremental functionality, allowing the team to leverage cloud technologies without impacting incumbent technologies    
  • In addition to introducing native cloud technologies, you can begin to transform the delivery approach by adopting agile methodologies, including CI/CD and automation
  • Once you have successfully implemented one of these newer technologies both the staff and the business as a whole will have greater confidence you can do more

Cons:

  • It is often difficult to limit the scope and isolate delivery of new technologies without some integration with existing functions
  • The team’s success in adopting new technologies and methodologies will challenge traditional approaches, causing overhead and delays
  • Success will be limited if the technology team does not partner with the business – the whole point of technology implementation is business impact

Caveats:

  • Clearly define the need and the minimum functions needed to deliver value.  Time box your efforts so you can realize value quickly
  • Ensure the new capability is grounded in a business need which drives business value
  • Clearly define success criteria inclusive of both business and technology objectives.  This will enable you to quickly identify success and build momentum moving forward 

Method 3: A Hybrid Approach 

This method shifts the focus from, “I need to move to the cloud” to “what is my business trying to accomplish and why?”  It challenges you to re-think how you architect, provision, and operate your infrastructure, taking a holistic approach grounded in enabling the capabilities which drive business outcomes. 

Pros:

  • Leverage the best of public cloud and on-premise technologies
  • Incremental approach allows you to modernize, keeping incumbent workloads in place and refactoring, replatforming, retiring, or replacing them over time
  • Gives you the greatest flexibility within the environment – you own the entire ecosystem, not relying on an external entity to set the process
  • Provides alternative options, with the same speed, agility and benefits as the public cloud, when the public cloud is not the best option.   Enables greater autonomy for the business without introducing risk, improving the business/technology relationship

Cons:

  • High risk if not approached thoughtfully
  • Requires that existing processes evolve
  • New technologies must consider existing technology constraints
  • Provides the greatest flexibility but complexity is increased
  • More difficult to control scope

Caveats:

  • Requires an integrated approach.  To achieve the greatest success, business and technology teams need to work as one team to deliver results
  • Be aware of total overall costs
  • You will need outside expertise, to support the team for the implementation to be successful

Although there are many ways in which cloud technologies can be adopted, the above outlines some of the primary options to consider.  The key is to ensure your technology investments remain relevant to the success of the business.  The path you choose will depend primarily on your focus, skills, and budget.  True success will come only if you have awareness of your goals, where you are in relation to those goals, and the tenacity to see it through each and every day until you get the results you are looking for.  One last caveat is that once you achieve the goal, you will need to maintain the result and continue to execute.  The discussion of maintaining your new modern infrastructure, however, is a topic for another blog.

There are many ways to approach implementing cloud technologies. There is no one size fits all solution. Micro Strategies uses a data-driven approach to guide organizations through the cloud journey. Using assessments, analysis and strategy, we help you understand where the cloud makes sense for your organization and enable you to make decisions grounded in business needs. We provide actionable knowledge about your data, a specific workload or your entire environment. Armed with this information, you can decide where to make technology investments based on functionality, cost and operational impact rather than simply deploying everything to a predetermined platform. Once a decision has been made, we can help you migrate to the chosen platform, and assist in maintaining the environment moving forward. Interested in hearing more? Let us know.

Want to learn More? Contact Us Today at 888-467-6588 or info@microstrat.com.