There was an article that was sent to me entitled “Unclouding trend is real, but preventable“. That got my attention since the Cloud is in that period of disillusionment. They cited a Q3 2016 survey from Datalink that stated that nearly 40% of organizations with public cloud experience have migrated systems from the Cloud to on-premises.
But when you read the actual survey which is here: https://www.datalink.com/getattachment/e900f48c-faa8-4d43-b9cf-07131e5cc713/Data-Centers-in-Flux-The-IT-Optimization-Challeng.aspx (a locally-cached copy is here), the story is a little bit different. Cloud growth has slowed, but continues to grow. Nor do companies pull ALL of their Cloud systems back in-house. The idea behind the article was to prevent the Cloud disillusionment in the first place. They pose five questions that should be asked prior to moving systems to public Cloud servers.
- How stringent are your legal and regulatory requirements?
Companies with PCI or PHI data collections are probably better off keeping those systems in-house. Outsourcing services doesn’t alleviate your business from legal obligations, fines, or penalties. You will need to review the Cloud provider’s contracts and also analyse their security procedures.The general Cloud philosophy is that for many businesses, security is better in the Cloud. That’s not entirely true. If you truly understand the Cloud company’s security procedures, then you are already on a level technical footing; the only security benefit from the Cloud would be if you require 24×7 vigilance and you don’t have the staff to do it.
- Are your application usage patterns steady or spiky?
Mobile front-end applications, web, and DNS services are spiky. They probably belong in the cloud. As it was mentioned in TV commercials many years ago, if Oprah mentions your website, you’d wish you had cloud servers! If you have a DevOps group, you’re probably already in the cloud.
- Will the cloud create network latency issues?
Voice and video systems are sensitive to packet latency. Even some database-driven systems with web front-ends might cause latency problems. You may get better performance keeping these in-house.In the case of customer “portals”, you’ll need to make sure your pipe to the Cloud is big enough to handle the load.
- Are your legacy or mainframe apps worth the move?
As the article suggests, internal Mainframe/Server workloads tend to be strategic. Moving them to Cloud systems presents a risk. From a technology perspective, converting these apps to run on Cloud servers is another significant risk.If application conversion is necessary, you may want to implement a hybrid Public/Private Cloud architecture so it will be easier to pull the system back in-house, if necessary.
- Have you projected your public cloud expenses?
Low-latency workloads that organizations can easily move back and forth are ideal for public Cloud systems. The same is true for data that doesn’t need to accessed frequently. Data backup systems are ideally suited for the public Cloud.Most Cloud systems have bandwidth costs. Usually, it doesn’t cost anything to put data onto a cloud server (Uploads). It’s the transmission Downloads) of data that gets you.If you move entire servers to Cloud-based virtual machines (VMs), you may run into performance issues that will be expensive to fix. Post-cloud migration is not the time to realize that the only thing better than a virtual server is a physical server!
Another thing to consider is the cost, or productivity loss, of a Cloud outage so consider Cloud infrastructure services like load-balancers. You might also need to consider the cost of redundant Internet access facilities at your premises.
Generally speaking, I’ve found that if you have to spend more than a few minutes assessing items 1-4, then your application probably belongs in-house. Once a candidate application or service is deemed suitable for Cloud migration, review your Cloud costs.
Now you can get the most enjoyment out of your Cloud experience!