So, you’re in a hurry to go to a store and buy a shirt – having decided you need a formal style. But you meet a sales adviser there who greets you like a long–lost friend and starts showing you some appealing, more casual alternatives. The result? You’re confused and no longer feel sure what you want after all. Surprising as it may seem, this scenario says a lot about the cloud purchase process.
You may have read my earlier blogs ‘Turbulence in the cloud’ and ‘How to secure your cloud’ where I discussed how to make the most of the cloud and how to secure it. I recently had an interesting meeting with a customer who had read both of them and asked me a pivotal question: “What you wrote is fine. But how do I choose the right cloud?” If this challenge rings a bell with you – read on.
Make a plan
The good news is that, by following a series of carefully orchestrated steps, you can make the right choice that leads to a planned move to the cloud – so that you’re not just ready to operate there, but also innovate. The first stage involves assessing your current digital estate, planning the best approach to migrating, and then doing so without disruption to operations. You’ll then be better placed to manage the routine, optimise redundancy and re-innovate the overall architecture to upgrade.
“The following is how I broke down the steps and actions for my inquisitive customer. Hopefully, it’s an approach that can work for you too.”
Step 1: Where are you now?
Action 1: Make an inventory of your apps
Classify apps by those parameters that define your business user or customer requirements – such as whether they need to be:
This process can help you define which apps can move to a public cloud and which should remain in a private cloud/hosted architecture.
Action 2: Take stock of the investment you’ve made in your data centre, servers, storage boxes, switch etc
How old they are on your books? If you’ve invested in the servers just a year back, your CFO is not going to be happy if you inform them you’re going to move to cloud and don’t know what to do with the existing investment.
Action 3: Define each app’s network requirement
Define the bandwidth requirement, the number of sessions, whether the app has external users or only internal users etc.
Action 4: Define the security architecture required for your app stack
This should not only depend on the confidentiality level of the payload information, but also consider regulatory compliances and end-user or end customer requirements.
Note: You can get help on this from CSPs or providers such as Tata Communications who can run this as a consultancy project for you.
Step 2: Plan the best approach towards migration – based on the holistic picture drawn out in step 1 above
For example, putting a figure on the investment you’ve already made will define when you can move cloud-ready apps to the cloud.
Step 3: Migrate without disrupting your operations
Plan a dual run of your business’ old and new architecture for at least three months (as per best practice) to ensure stable operations.
Steps 4 and 5: Run and optimise
While running BAU operations, you now relentlessly explore the opportunities to optimise. This can also mean bringing in apps from hosted architecture to the cloud when the servers are at the end of life (EOL). You can also run a step 6 here – where you can look at re–innovating to upgrade. But that’s for another day.
“Breaking up the process into easy–to–implement steps in this way will help you take things forward easily, as my customer did. This allowed them to define the right cloud migration approach, rather than simply selecting the vendor.”
In some cases – such as when we worked with Infiniti Retail – we’ve helped at every stage of the journey, starting with designing the right architecture for migration and working with them through to optimisation. Once they stabilise the migration, I’m sure that the next step – re-innovating the overall architecture – will not be too far away either.
Read more about steps you can take to improve your business in a digital age.