Easing Cloud Anxiety: Navigating the Dark Areas of the Cloud
When companies look to the cloud for servers and storage, they enjoy many benefits, such as reduced hardware costs, increased backup capabilities, and freedom from countless software upgrades. But, even with the numerous benefits of the cloud, nagging questions tend to enter IT managers' minds.
What if an outage brings my entire system down? What if my data is exposed to malware? What if something goes wrong in the cloud?
Relax. There are steps you can take to ease your anxiety and to navigate the dark areas of the cloud. As long as you prepare for these risks, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of business in the cloud.
Ease your anxiety by starting with a low-risk, limited commitment experiment that will show you how the cloud can benefit your company and will contribute to organisational learning. Find a deployment option, either internal or public, and select two applications as prototypes.
One of these options will be legacy architecture to help you decide whether transforming the installed infrastructure into a cloud environment is viable. The other option should be a web-based application as an exercise in scalability and elasticity. This practice will show you the long-term implications of cloud application architectures.
Take baby steps into the cloud with limited, non-critical functionality. Begin transitioning into the cloud with an application that your company does not depend on to provide a low-risk evaluation. This approach will allow you to take a step back and learn instead of panicking because the first application "has" to run flawlessly from the start.
Don't become totally dependent on the cloud. To really put your mind at ease, you can avoid the biggest risks of cloud computing altogether by implementing in a way that will insulate your applications from direct dependence upon a particular cloud implementation.
To achieve this, manage your application code for deployment flexibility. Design the application so that it encapsulates code and software component installation - this will allow substitution of specific cloud infrastructures.
Evaluate cross-cloud management tools and frameworks to see if you can avoid total dependency on a particular cloud until you have become comfortable with the processes and management of that cloud.
Navigating the cloud with this slow approach can help you learn as you go. As you become comfortable with simple applications, you will be confident to trust more of your company's core processes in the cloud. Finally, remember that any cloud provider you are considering should carefully and patiently address all of your questions and concerns - if they don't, simply move on to one who will.
About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.
Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.