Cloud First

Gregory Levineby Gregory Levine

For some of you this will feel like shock therapy. Or remember that TV drug commercial from a few decades ago "…this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs…" ? Well, for many IT leaders who are still protecting their internal IT and building private clouds – "…this is your job, this is you without your job…". Time to wake up and think Cloud First!

As in public cloud.

I come across way too many IT leaders who still protect their internal IT environments, and state how they are different and cannot leverage the public cloud. Sad to say, their days are numbered. I try to explain to these leaders, sometimes a little too directly, that their businesses are already thinking about and in many cases already utilizing public cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS). These IT leaders are becoming disintermediated and do not realize it. They will claim that external regulators and/or internal compliance teams prevent them from leveraging the public cloud. Now, there are some limitation of liability or SOC1/2 issues that come up that need to be considered based on business risk, but there are no rules & regulations that prevent you from utilizing the public cloud. All industries/sectors are using the public cloud including Financial, Energy, Pharmaceutical, and Healthcare. Even Federal agencies (NSA, CIA, DOD, etc.) are using the public cloud.

Now, I'm not suggesting you go blindly off and start utilizing public cloud for everything. Perform the necessary due diligence, and assuming you understand and accept the risks to the business (e.g., limitation of liability, contract terms, etc.) and various other critical requirements are satisfied (e.g., price, functionality, service levels, security, performance, time to market, agility, OpEx, scalability, etc.), then strongly consider public cloud service providers.

Trust me, I have been in your shoes. For the longest time, I fought public cloud mainly because of economic reasons. But a funny thing happened on my way to the Forum called the Digital Transformation. As businesses overhauled and/or re-invented themselves for this brave new digital world, IT needed to change too. In fact, many significant transformational changes were required by IT to support their businesses including:

I remember meeting with the CIO for a super-regional bank who adopted a public cloud first strategy years ago. I told him he was nuts for wasting money and exposing the bank to significant risk. Six months later I called that CIO to apologize and commend him for his bold action to support his fast-changing business. This bank's strategy is Cloud First! Sure, they still have some applications running on their private cloud, and it might take years to fully migrate to the public cloud. Also, C-level approvals are required to implement anything internally. So, yes they might have a hybrid cloud for many more years, but their strategy is not Hybrid IT. It is all in with the public cloud. Cloud First!

You are probably wondering how I can make such a bold statement. The reason is simple – internal IT cannot compete with public cloud service providers. Whether SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS public cloud service providers have the scale, flexibility, talent, resources, economies of scale, and service features (elasticity, security, subscription based pricing, feature/functionality, No CapEx, low OpEx, TCO, etc.) that make it impossible for internal IT to compete.

Hey IT, don't fight it! Embrace it! Remember, at the end of the day, every CEO (yes, EVERY CEO!!!) only cares about three things:

  1. Top line growth (revenue growth)
  2. Bottom line growth (margin growth)
  3. Reduce/Manage Risk

And they expect speed and agility from IT to support the digital transformations required to stay competitive:

Yes, transformation is hard, but not changing will be fatal!

And it is critical for IT to adopt a Cloud First strategy to support their business's digital transformation.

IT started to embrace public SaaS years ago (SalesForce.com, WebEx, HR/Payroll services, etc.). And now more and more companies are leveraging IaaS and PaaS in the public cloud too. Why? Simple - their IT leaders realized that the benefits associated with public cloud (time to market, speed, agility, no CapEx, low OpEx, feature rich, flexibility, scalability, elasticity, security, etc.) will help to achieve some or all of things CEO's care about.

Many vendors are frantically trying to offer public cloud services. Yes, they finally get it, but be careful. Did they build from ground up a cloud service (multi-tenant, carrier class, subscription based, scalability, elasticity, etc.), or did they just take their existing prem-based solution, host it in their data center, and label it a cloud service? If the latter, call it lipstick on a pig (i.e., the same weaknesses still exist with respect to cost, performance, scalability, complexity, etc. so avoid them).

Critical Success Factors for Cloud First!

Three words – Standards, Standards, and Standards. Hopefully your IT organizations are well underway with transformational change programs for:

Yes, you can start the public cloud journey without these, but the journey will be easier and smoother with these programs underway.

And finally, well defined frameworks are also critical. The CTO/Chief Architect will need to work in collaboration with Development and Infrastructure teams to define corporate standards for:

Hararei is a Cloud Generation solutions provider committed to helping clients prepare for, adopt and deploy the latest generation of applications and IT infrastructure in public cloud environments. We understand it likely that many companies will need to operate a hybrid IT environment until their journey to the public cloud is complete.

Let Hararei help you architect your systems for the public cloud. We help to connect current Data Centers to the Cloud at the Network level with Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) connectivity models or SD-WAN, using Cloud Storage, V2C migrations, all the way up the stack to orchestrated container models.

Hararei can help companies create agile and productive teams. Starting with an assessment of their environment, we then work with the customer to identify and quantify the opportunities that will provide the greatest returns. We help to establish:

Contact us for a no obligation consultation.

 Original Article     Hararei Blog