Cloud is a top requirement for an enterprise IT strategy today. But identifying the right mix of technology and platform providers to achieve fast innovation with secure, seamless delivery and flexible deployment can seem like the ever-elusive golden ticket for many.
This was the theme of a recent virtual event Snow participated in, the National Cloud Transformation Summit with Apex Assembly. Our session, “How Much Cloud Flexibility is too Much: Choosing Between Cloud Portability and Vendor Lock-in” focused on critical areas to consider when planning greater cloud reliance.
1. Identify how much cloud flexibility you need
When it comes to cloud flexibility, how much is too much? In theory, having an abundance of choice is a good thing. But it can lead to poor decision making. When considering your cloud architecture though, too much flexibility can lead to poor, unintended consequences. There is always a trade-off between portability and integration. Over-emphasis on portability can lead to wasted time and overly complex architectures that have too many unnecessary abstraction layers. On the other hand, ignoring portability can lead to costly vendor lock-in.
In agile development, there is the concept of ‘Last Responsible Moment’ which simply means the strategy is to not make a premature decision but instead, delay commitment until the cost of not making the decision becomes more than making it. But how do you determine when that is?
2. Define your cloud strategy and supporting terms
Popular cloud terms very often mean different things to different people. To ensure your cloud strategy is off to a strong start, get everyone within your organization on the same page for cloud concepts, including:
- Multi-cloud portfolio vs. multi-cloud application
- Hybrid as an end-state vs. hybrid as a stepping-stone on your way to a full cloud architecture
- Cloud as an extension of your data center or is it a paradigm shift and transformation catalyst
- Private cloud vs. public cloud
Clarify these terms for your organization and it will also help guide your conversations with vendors at a significant cost savings to you.
3. Take stock of your needs
Another foundational step in your cloud transformation process is to take stock of your current circumstance and clearly define what you’re looking to accomplish with cloud services. Key considerations very often include:
- Data privacy. Are there GDPR concerns? Are you operating in a geographic region that has privacy or data sovereignty concerns? If we must run our workloads within certain geographic or industry boundaries, this will significantly impact the cloud technologies and architecture we choose.
- Features/benefits. Does one cloud provider offer unique capabilities that matter to you?
- Existing agreements. Do you have commercial licensing agreements in place that make one cloud provider more attractive than another? So that you don’t double pay for licenses, get SAM and procurement involved in these conversations.
- Employee skills. Advanced cloud concepts require people with specialized skills. What skills do you currently have in-house and what will you need to acquire? Before adopting a provider, make sure you have the skills today or that you have the means to acquire them.
A transformation to the cloud means a change in the way your organization operates with a heavy dose of automation, infrastructure of code, and a full embrace of modern security processes. Without this comprehensive retooling, it can be a very painful process and you will miss out on many of the benefits cloud can offer.
Snow delivers a single pane of glass for technology intelligence including software, hardware and the cloud. We are also cloud vendor agnostic. For optimizing visibility, spend and governance across your cloud environment, take a look at the cloud management platform, Snow Commander.