It’s only a matter of time for when most companies will move to using the cloud – if they aren’t already doing so. In all the euphoria of that step, it’s easy to forget that there are numerous different stumbling blocks that can cause cloud plans to go awry.
The opening of the Azure data centre in Switzerland removed a number of these obstacles for the transition into the public cloud. As a result, many companies are already halfway there. The reasons for using the cloud have shifted in the past years. While the cost benefits were initially the deciding factor, today it is the numerous new opportunities that are not possible with on-premises computing. These include quick and inexpensive testing of new ideas and reduced time-to-market. The cloud makes these a simple matter of course. Security and compliance are also arguments for the cloud. The Azure cloud provides companies that are subject to regulatory requirements with infrastructure that supports more than 90 of the most common worldwide industry standards. In addition, Microsoft provides recommendations on how and with which services applications need to be built to meet these standards.
Alongside these “new” arguments, the classic ones of course still apply. These include automatic scaling and the global range. Companies also appreciate the complete cost transparency of their cloud workloads. In the cloud, they can see on a daily basis what a project or product costs, down to the last detail.
The path into the cloud is paved with opportunities. The catch? There are also pitfalls that can really trip up a company’s cloud plans. Luckily, these can be avoided fairly easily. Here are our top 3:
Mistake 1: No expertise with Azure
Many companies still believe that the step into the cloud is not a major challenge. The employees that were in charge of the on-premises environment in the past are now also responsible for the cloud infrastructure. “It’s the same thing, right? They’re just virtualized machines in a data centre.” No, they really aren’t. The cloud is an exciting new world that offers opportunities but also risks. A lack of Azure expertise is the number one reason that cloud projects fail or end in chaos. The environment is not only unstable or slow as a result, it is also not secure – and it costs a fortune. Disappointment sets in because the promised benefits and opportunities fail to materialize. Which is why expertise is the key to success for a cloud project.
Mistake 2: An unstructured approach
One thing is clear: With the step into the cloud, the cloud provider assumes part of the responsibility and thus also the work that is required to operate a solution. In this context, we often hear people say: “If the solution isn’t run in our own data centre anymore, I can focus on my business operations and don’t have to worry about the infrastructure.” That’s not accurate. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that, yes, individual tasks such as virtualization or the physical hardware are transferred entirely to the cloud provider. The majority of matters, though, remains the responsibility of the cloud user. There needs to be a concept for identity & access management, auditing & reporting, network infrastructure, security management and much more. Without a concept or a structured approach, fundamental requirements can be forgotten. This could, in turn, only become evident late in the course of the project – when it is actually already too late.
Mistake 3: No optimization step
“Migration is complete, everything is running in the cloud now.” We hear this every day. Sounds great, right? In talks, though, it turns out that the cloud migration was a big disappointment. The costs are much too high. And no one really knows whether the specifications of the cloud strategy were implemented. There is unclarity with regard to security and there is still ongoing discussion on how the platform should be operated.
In most cases, the problem is that no optimization steps were planned in. These are an essential part of any cloud project, though. The benefits of the cloud can only be used to their full extent through analysis and optimization of the existing environment. It is not unusual to see savings of far more than 50 percent. Leaving out the optimization step is a serious mistake that will have dire consequences in the short or long term.
It is clear: The cloud offers many opportunities. If one wants to use these to their full extent, it is important to keep the stumbling blocks mentioned above in mind. And to really play it safe, it’s a great idea to call on a clever partner to help one navigate the wilds of the cloud.