As the cloud has come into its own and been widely adopted at enterprises around the globe, many organizations have started seeking services from a multitude of cloud providers to meet diverse application requirements and data needs across different business units. Multi-cloud approaches have become incredibly popular in recent years and many point to it as the future of cloud computing.
But simply deciding on a multi-cloud deployment model doesn’t achieve a stable, tranquil IT operation; organizations need to effectively allocate their application workloads to the proper platform to achieve that nirvana.
The first step in choosing the right cloud and/or provider is to match each application’s technical requirements to the cloud features and service offerings of the specified platform. This blog will highlight key considerations when identifying the best cloud for your applications.
Contract and SLA’s Considerations
- SLA Alignment with platform choice– What is driving your business uptime SLA? Do your applications have specific availability requirements? If so, understanding the uptime SLA’s provided by the various providers will help you determine which cloud is best to meet your uptime needs.
- Platform Choice – It’s important to consider how you plan to manage several platforms/ providers and aggregate the right data to understand what is going on in your environment. How do those workloads work together or specifically stay segregated?
- Data Privacy– Understanding who owns your data can help you to better understand and manage cloud costs more efficiently. Be sure you identify any application dependencies and data flows among servers and the users. By understanding user access patterns and dependencies you can help determine the amount of data that may be leaving a cloud provider. This will help you estimate the amount you may be billed for egress charges.
- Compartmentalization– Identify whether your application is dependent on other workloads? Is it tied to anything else in terms of dependencies? If not, it’s much easier to move those workloads to a hyperscale cloud as the application doesn’t have any interdependencies that would require additional resources to be moved as well.
Cloud Risks Considerations
VM Sprawl, Ease of Use & User Experience– Nowadays, the ease of provisioning resources with the swipe of a credit card can cause your environment to grow 2x to 3x overnight. It’s critical to understand who has access to what resources and how they can spin things up. In addition, with hyperscale cloud, your IT staff will be most likely be forced to learn a new way of managing your servers via the hyperscale cloud providers portal. Take into consideration time spent learning this new way of doing business.
Connectivity & Latency- Prior to selecting a cloud for your workloads, it’s important to determine how much it will cost you to connect and how any latency will affect your overall user experience. It’s recommended to test a workload, preferably a dev/test environment that’s not production impacting to start with to determine what affect it has on user experience, if any at all.
Governance and Application Security– When you move to the cloud, it’s important to consider, upfront, how you plan to govern who can add/remove, migrate or turn your workloads up/down, to ensure your bill isn’t 3x what you expected it to be. This can also help optimize your environment to minimize operating expense while still providing the right user experience.
Total Cost of Ownership Considerations
It’s imperative to identify and weigh the value of TCO variables when considering a move to the cloud. Analysis should include the evaluation of:
- Total cost of hardware/ software; including contracts and licensing renewals
- Cost of a full-time employees for management (or percentage of time of a FTE)
- Downtime/ resiliency to downtime
- Flexibility and scalability of solution
- Vendor management
- Data Center space
Costs aren’t always linear, so it’s also important to understand the break points; where your infrastructure still has shelf life. This allows you to make the most of the existing infrastructure you have and migrate to the cloud over time versus all at once.
Upgrades & Patches– Understanding who is responsible for what in the cloud is critical to success. Determine, upfront, who will execute the tasks, you or the service provider. It’s also important to note how soon to patch after it’s been released. If the provider does this for you, ensure that they have a roll back strategy in case any issues arise with the patch.
Managed/ Unmanaged – Understand the level of support required per workload, then determine who you want to manage these workloads. If you want an SLA and to transfer risk, a service provider can provide the audibility, change management and enterprise grade monitoring/patching tools to support your workloads, freeing your IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Process– Assess the software tools, change management procedures, auditability for compliance and the integration of systems between you and your provider. It’s also important to ask if the provider provides a customer runbook, where everything is documented and issues can be remediated regardless of who would be on staff during a potential outage. This is a major benefit of a 24/7 service provider.
Workload Mobility– Having a clear understanding of what your workloads can run on is key for portability. In addition, network configuration considerations come into play. How do you tie your networks together? How do you get from one platform or provider to another? How do you plan to ensure they are secure and enable quick movement of workloads between them? Understanding these variables will help you to better decide where to place your workloads.
Finding Your Cloud Guru
Deciding how to allocate workloads to the cloud is complex and what you choose will affect the benefits you get from your cloud deployment. Partnering with an experienced provider can help. OneNeck IT Solutions offers a free hybrid cloud assessment to help you understand your cloud needs and balance your workloads the right way. With our experience architecting, deploying, and managing hybrid cloud solutions based on Microsoft Azure, OneNeck is the cloud guru you need to guide you through your hybrid cloud practice.