Q. There’s no question that organizations are moving their applications to the cloud. In your discussions with OneNeck’s customers and prospects, what are you seeing? Are businesses still keeping the majority on-premises, or is the shift happening to primarily cloud?
A. It still varies by organization. However, some of OneNeck’s customers that are moving mission-critical applications to the cloud are opting for private managed cloud. We see that when we talk to our peers and suppliers as well.
Q. Like any major IT initiative, cloud migrations can be fraught with challenges. What are some of the pitfalls you’ve seen customers endure while moving their workloads to the cloud?
A. A big one is one that’s a must – understand your application architecture, including inter-application dependencies and the underlying infrastructure, before attempting to move them into the cloud. Many organizations get over zealous and fail to do the up-front due diligence to assess and understand their current workloads, and as a result, they end up in trouble. It’s important to assess your applications and decide which ones are ideal for migration and which ones need to be replaced. Not all apps are a good fit for the cloud, especially ones where compliance is a concern. There are also applications that need to quickly scale up and down, based on demand – a perfect fit for the cloud.
This is an area where we are helping many of our customers. We address this with our solution architects and advisory consultant services. Providing a private cloud can help addresses many of the data sovereignty and other privacy and compliance issues.
Q. I’m assuming that in addition to application analysis, there should probably be an analysis at a higher level, so that the cloud strategy can be aligned with the business strategy?
A. Absolutely. Like any business project, technical or not, a business case is a must to ensure a successful outcome. This is an area where we see our customers and prospects getting it more and more. But we also help them articulate the benefits and potentials. Additionally, we try our best to deliver different service levels in each of the functional cloud areas (compute, storage, backup) to match application requirements to cloud performance profiles to corresponding costs for service delivery.
Q. What other pitfalls should organizations consider as they move to the cloud?
A. One that we see come up a lot in more than just cloud initiatives is inaccurately planning for the cost of the project, start to finish. While the cloud offers a great TCO by reducing on-premises costs that can really impact the bottom line, the cost of getting to the cloud are often overlooked. Moving applications, storage and data can be costly and must be articulated up front.
We address this area quite well and quite comprehensively. We do not charge traditional ingress and egress bandwidth bytes to access cloud services, and we provide a variety of high-speed low latency connection options. Our cost model is straightforward, predictable and inclusive (i.e. full service). We have planning and data migration services available, and we have a long history of high-stakes production systems migrations. We can migrate workloads for our customers.
Q. For organizations that are nervous about the pitfalls, or maybe don’t have the time and resources to do extensive analysis, are there ways to make the move to the cloud without having to completely change everything overnight, but ease into it?
A. In many ways, a private cloud is a more gradual, or a less disruptive, migration to an eventual cloud-native application. A hosted private cloud can address aging and inflexible on-premises systems while the customer develops an application migration/modernization plan that could take advantage of the hyperscale cloud features for those apps that are appropriate for that deployment model.
Q. What about post-migration pitfalls? Anything today’s organization should consider?
A. For an organization to really benefit from the cloud, they need to move beyond the mindset that it’s just another place to store an app or a repository of files. It’s the services that you integrate into your cloud solution that really become the key piece. But it requires a shift in mindset for IT from the legacy days of being a service provider to becoming a service broker. Cloud services are about enabling the business, letting team members spin up services on the fly rather than waiting for IT to deliver.
We are striving to do this as well, as a cloud service provider. We’re continually making investments to help our customers receive services more quickly from us, but to also help them manage all their clouds in a multi-cloud world. It’s what our customers are demanding in order to compete in a digital marketplace.
Q. Anything in closing you’d like to share with our readers?
A. Full disclosure – no matter how much you prepare or how hard you try, you’re probably not going to have a completely smooth transition to the cloud. There’s a learning curve for your team, and challenges will arise that you just didn’t see coming. But there are things that can help. A big one, find an experienced partner to help guide you through your cloud journey – don’t go it alone when you don’t have to. You wouldn’t try to summit your first mountain without preparation and a guide, so don’t be a hero and attempt to execute your cloud journey without guidance. In the end, it’ll be worth your investment.