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Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by ERIC NAIBURG
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Congratulations, you’ve decided to move into the cloud. Now what? Things get easier from here right? Not so fast.
Not every organization is “cloud fluent” and can seamlessly harness the technology themselves to propel their business forward with minimal effort. The fact of the matter is, the cloud is hard, the cloud is complex.
Unfortunately, many cloud providers have succeeded in making their prospective customers believe that moving to the cloud is an easy process. But, in a survey of 358 IT and business decision makers we conducted with THINKstrategies, 43 percent of respondents said they failed or stalled during a cloud implementation. Of these, nearly half had cost overruns relative to their original budgets, and more than 50 percent had to make one change or another in the first six months.
This disappointing record led to only 27 percent of respondents expressing extreme satisfaction with their overall cloud onboarding experience. Basically, only one in four companies has experienced a seamless move to cloud - that’s simply not acceptable.
While it may be relatively easy to choose a cloud hosting service, properly calibrating one’s cloud infrastructure to successfully support specific applications and workloads takes specialized skills and experience that many organizations lack. That’s why especially across healthcare, finance and e-commerce, there are organizations looking for a hosting provider that can focus on the infrastructure so they can focus on running their business.
The good news is that there are tactics that these organizations can leverage to ensure they don’t experience the same implementation issues that affect a large portion of the aforementioned survey respondents.
Here are my top five must-haves.
Must-Have #1 – A deployment project manager
Before even beginning to layout the plan for moving to the cloud, it’s important for organizations to select a cloud hosting provider that will allocate a deployment project manager they trust to oversee all phases of the move. Sounds intuitive and something every vendor offers right? Wrong. Do your due diligence in the selection process and make sure that your cloud provider will have a skilled collaborator to walk with you every step of the way.
Must-Have #2 – A cohesive cloud infrastructure design
Organizations looking to accelerate their business growth by moving apps to the cloud, while reducing their investment in managing their own IT infrastructure, must put on their architect’s hat right off the bat.
Having the requirements for what you want in place will enable the end result to function properly. Moreover, having a lock-tight design that looks at your required performance, security and compliance needs, typical and non-standard traffic patterns or expectations, specific requirements that your application or third-party components need, and your database capabilities, will help reduce issues that can hinder a quick and efficient onboard and help meet all of your unique needs.
After all, time is extremely valuable when moving to the cloud and organizations usually want to be up and running as quickly as possible.
Must-Have #3 – Application implementation per the design, no audibles
Going back to the architecture metaphor for a second, imagine if when the Lincoln Memorial was finished, Lincoln himself was actually standing instead of in his iconic seated pose. You can bet the designers who envisioned the monument wouldn’t be too happy.
Cloud onboarding is kind of the same thing. Once your design is in place, it’s essential to work closely with your hosting provider to ensure they don’t take any liberties or assumptions during the onboarding phase that changes what you originally planned for.
For example, be sure not only your server architecture is clearly defined, but also, the networking and security components like firewalls, switches and other components. Once defined, ensure that they are properly configured to give you access to the servers and all rules meet both your needs and those of security and compliance.
Any audible, even a small one, can have a significant impact on efficiency. For example, an e-commerce site may not be able to launch on time, causing numerous potential customers to go to a competitor.
Must-Have #4 – Solution provider expertise in app technology, not just the infrastructure
Some may consider this a bonus, but I think it’s a core competency. If your hosting provider understands what apps you are hosting in the cloud, their design and how they are meant to function, then they will be well equipped to make sure these platforms operate smoothly.
Here is an example to illustrate: any good carpenter can probably make you a baseball bat, but which of these two would you rather have do it – a carpenter that’s held and swung a bat many times, or one that’s never participated in the game of baseball in any capacity? Knowing how to set up the infrastructure is just half of the equation, but being able to step in the shoes of the organization launching apps is ideal.
Must-Have #5 – Ability to test the app
Having the ability to test your apps as they are entering the cloud is a must. This includes examining their performance and availability, being able to seamlessly make updates and running through various scenarios in the environment. Collaborating with a provider that will take the time to do this with you will pay dividends. Be wary of those that just assume everything will work fine and rush you out the door.
In the end, organizations moving to the cloud need to take all of these tips in mind and must partner with a trusted solutions provider that can handle not just one piece of this complex implementation but can comfortably manage every part. Only then can you truly get worry-free cloud application on boarding.
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