There are many reasons why companies move to the cloud – storage capacities may be insufficient, applications need uninterrupted and secure connectivity, or the organization may be looking for increased productivity and performance through hybrid data center virtualization. But you can’t just “lift and shift” to the cloud – that will just shift any current data center challenges to the cloud.
But, is your cloud well-architected for the tasks your users want to accomplish?
The problem is, when clients tell me they want to do this, I rarely see the same amount of focus around determining whether “the cloud” has been architected appropriately for the tasks the users want to accomplish.
A Well-Architected Cloud
Let’s start with defining what comprises a “well-architected cloud.” A well-architected cloud incorporates the ability to optimize cloud operations to accommodate frequent and reversible changes. All systems must meet the requirements for today’s businesses, and proper documentation is essential. Therefore, a well-architected cloud must streamline all the users’ systems to meet their business needs. Security must also be baked into the design and development of the cloud solution.
A well-architected cloud also incorporates best practices as defined by the vendors involved coupled with accepted industry knowledge. Standards must be in place that anticipate the business needs – and the cost of failure – during the planning stages. Planning must incorporate decisions about hybrid connectivity between on-premise and cloud, performance efficiency, uptime, and reliability goals, as well as the need to recover from a massive failure should one occur.
First Things First
Since so many elements go into the planning and deployment of a well-architected cloud solution, it is crucial to meet with all stakeholders at the beginning of the project to understand – and correctly set – their expectations. A proper design is a significant portion of these projects, as is a cost-benefit analysis.
Of course, you must review the specific system requirements of your cloud plan, including compute, the amounts and types of storage, your software-defined network (SDN) and connectivity solutions, security, serverless computing, automation, delivery, sizing and fault tolerance. You also need to review the various types of cloud services available to determine which service will be best to replace your on-site legacy systems.
Before selecting a cloud provider, it’s also important to understand the size or footprint of the cloud provider and the certifications the cloud provider holds, such as HIPAA, SOC and FIPS (including their level of FIPS). These can help determine how effective your cloud provider may be in achieving your specific requirements and goals.
Cloud Pitfalls to Avoid
While there are many benefits to be realized when constructing a cloud architecture, there are also several pitfalls to avoid. These include:
- Starting your journey to the cloud without a plan.
- Thinking that the cloud should be designed in the same way as an on-premise solution.
- Assuming a move to the cloud is more straightforward than creating an on-premise solution.
- Believing that, just because something is in the cloud, it is secure.
- Assuming just because it is in the cloud, it is fault tolerant.
- Failing to budget appropriately – and remember: The most expensive part of a cloud solution can be bandwidth.
Cloud is complicated. There are many ways to take advantage of the various benefits a move to the cloud can offer, and they all begin with proper planning and a realistic assessment of your goals. To get started, you’ll want to assess what synergies exist between your existing system and any new cloud systems that you plan to implement. And you may want to have an experienced and valued partner to help guide you through the journey.
At MTM Technologies, we understand that the cloud is an important tool. We also understand just how important it is to define exactly what you want to do with the cloud so we can guide you to the best fit for your organization. We know the cloud, and we can help you find the right way to migrate to the cloud to reduce your risk of business disruption along the way.
To learn more about cloud and digital infrastructure and the ways MTM uses its listen-first culture to deliver custom technology solutions to your most challenging business problems, contact us and let us show you what we can do for you.
MTM Technologies, Inc. is a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, meeting all requirements for attaining the broadest range of expertise across multiple Cisco technologies. We have achieved Cisco advanced specializations in the following areas: enterprise networks architecture, security architecture, collaboration architecture, and data center architecture. MTM Technologies has integrated Cisco Hybrid IT, Cloud and Managed Services, and ensures high customer satisfaction in its end-to-end Cisco solution offerings. As a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, MTM Technologies has access to Cisco’s comprehensive sales, technical and lifecycle services training and support.