Monday, November 4, 2019

Moving to the cloud. Pick any two: Cheap, Fast, or Easy

The Cloud offers literally all of your current IT services, plus tons more, some of which most of your IT department has never heard of before. You can quickly and easily move all your existing workloads there, but you'll pay dearly, as many companies are finding out. You can take the time to train your IT staff and meticulously plan for the most efficient way to the cloud, but that's not quick. 

Moving to the cloud correctly truly requires rethinking how you do everything in IT. In all cases, the best route is to only move a subset of workloads or capabilities to the cloud, and different clouds may be better for different workloads. Some things are easier and cheaper to run on-prem. For example, in many cases it can be cost effective to arm your IT and development staff with laptops with 64GB of RAM. Doing so allows each one to run their own private multi-cloud in which they can test away. A brand new laptop with warranty with 64GB of RAM and 6 cores (12 threads) can be found for under $1700 on eBay and has a useful life of 4 years. Such a VM in the cloud (AWS EC2 r5.2xkarge) costs $.20 per hour, which is $5,300 for a three-year term, and doesn’t allow the flexibility of a local system running VMWare Workstation. That's a very specific example, but it illustrates why each and every workload needs to be analyzed or audited before simply moving it to the cloud.

 Some workloads are more suited to specific public clouds. WebSphere applications are a big example. If you want to “lift and shift” these workloads to the cloud, the IBM Cloud should be your first choice. If you have apps that run under Sharepoint, you should absolutely run those applications on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. There are many other workloads that may run equally well on any cloud, and for those, the analysis needs to take other factors into account.

 The point I want to get across is that moving to the cloud requires analysis by a qualified team of experts. I think the best approach is to hire one or more experts and simultaneously train your own team to help them get up to speed. The combination of those two is extremely important, because you don’t want newly-trained people responsible for your entire cloud migration. You want an expert who can guide the team, allowing them to take over responsibilities over time.