Even though spending on cloud services could total more than $180 billion by 2015—and more than 60 percent of businesses utilize cloud for performing IT-related operations—there are still a number of mistakes that companies make when migrating to the cloud. In fact, such was the topic of today’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2014 panel appropriately titled, “Top Five Mistakes Businesses Make When Going Cloud.”
This morning’s panel went through the most common hiccups companies experience in their cloud migration journey. Let’s dig into each a bit deeper:
Mistake One: Failure to Understand the Best Cloud Model for Your Needs: Public, private, hybrid… which route will you go? This very question continues to plague a number of organizations that grapple with which deployment model will best serve their needs. Riverbed (News - Alert) Technology’s Technical Director in the Office of the CTO Steve Riley argued that many companies today should start casting their eye more strongly towards the public cloud, unless there are overwhelming reasons against the model. That’s because the public cloud offers substantial cost advantages, the ability to shift in the way you account for the expenses and built-in security. Meanwhile, panelist Chandler Vaughn, SVP of Product Development for Cordero Hosting, contended that to avoid this mistake, companies have to figure out what they are trying to optimize. “If you need consolidation or to focus on cost then I would agree with Steve, go public as fast as you can and forget about the rest,” he said. “If it’s a different problem to solve, however, like the security of your data or your customers’ data, you need to rethink where you are placing that.”
Mistake Two: Underestimating Capacity Needs
As the panelists argued, many companies don’t account for their capacity needs, or finding the “right size” deployment model. But best-in-class companies ought to establish their capacity modeling goals, understand their SLAs, and analyze and project their capacity needs. “Many companies fail to fully appreciate the flexibility that you can get or think that the cloud must be limited just like my own data center is limited,” Riley said. “You have to reprogram your brain to believe that you can behave as if the resources are essentially limitless and change the way you develop those applications.” Added Vaughn, from a sizing perspective the only way to make this transition successful is to get something in the cloud to profile so you can understand how big that will become.
Mistake Three: No Corporate Cloud Policy or Usage Guidelines
Setting permissions and admin rights is imperative when it comes to cloud deployment. Otherwise, your environment will continue to grow and grow and IT will be left with a hefty bill, wondering why. Companies must account for governance best practices, outlining how to deploy something, who has access to it and how you will secure your deployments. “It goes back to control,” panelist Jesse Proudman, CEO of Blue Box (News - Alert) Group Inc, said. “That doesn’t mean control of the premise; it means control of the data and understanding it.”
Mistake Four: Failure to Understand Proper Security Requirements
What aspects of cloud security are you responsible for and what parts fall under the jurisdiction of your company? This very question was explored by the panelists during this morning’s session. As Riley argued, you have to rely on the cloud provider to take care of security. Think of the Amazon model, he argued, in that the company is responsible for all aspects of security from the concrete to the hypervisor. “In essence you are outsourcing part of your security to the cloud provider; that makes a lot of people nervous but it’s a pretty cool thing,” he said. Proudman echoed that there’s a benefit in letting your cloud provider handle security as large companies have massive teams solely focused on securing your business deployments. “Security is an afterthought in a lot of scenarios for companies because traditional applications have been hosted behind a firewall,” he said. “But it no longer can be an afterthought; it has to be part of the deployment and design.”
Mistake Five: Failure to Maximize on the Benefits of the Cloud
To ensure that companies get the most out of cloud migration, they are encouraged to think of what’s coming down the pike for their business and determine how those applications and workloads be developed in a cloud-centric way. “The mistake is not understanding the features,” Vaughn said. “People often do a forklift and take an application and drop it in the cloud and they never really benefit from it the way they should. One of the great things about cloud is you can fit the deployment curve to the usage curve.”
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Edited by Maurice Nagle
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