6 cloud practices that can help your business reach 'cloud nine'.

Oct 22, 2018 | 1953 Views

As companies shift more applications to multiple clouds, they face a daunting tradeoff. Cloud technologies offer huge advantages over traditional IT in terms of agility, performance and cost efficiency. However, they confront users with brain-frying levels of complexity. You have to figure out which applications run best on which platform, and from which vendor. Which of the thousands of features available on each cloud are relevant to your specific needs? How will company leaders monitor cloud use when different departments are leveraging different cloud providers? How will central IT provide crucial multi-cloud security and regulatory compliance?
Managing the cloud migration process doesn't come cheap. Some companies choose to hire specialists with expertise in each of the cloud platforms, along with other experts who can make sure all of the platforms work together. That's not always an efficient process: RightScale's 2018 State of the Cloud Survey found that the typical organization is wasting 35% of its total cloud-related spending. When companies don't have a clear view into how the cloud is being leveraged across users, it's easy for costs to spiral out of control, for resources to be wasted and for cloud platforms to fall short of their full potential to drive innovation and new revenue. These challenges are often greatest in successful, established companies that have sunk significant investments in company data centers and traditional IT and are just now transitioning to the cloud.
The companies with the smartest cloud strategies follow six best practices.
1. Don't try to go it alone.
A good partner is one that commits to a shared ownership model, builds value-added technology on top of the various cloud platforms and provides cloud experts at scale. Such a partner can help with not only the upfront architecture and migrations but also ongoing operations and continuous optimization as technologies evolve. This approach allows cloud adopters to focus their scarce engineering talent on the core business.
2. Use a phased and success-based approach.
Smart cloud adopters often create a cloud center of excellence and define a corporate cloud strategy. These companies start by mapping out the technologies they're using today, the multi-cloud future state that they want to achieve, and a sensible plan to get from one to the other with the fastest ROI. This approach might mean killing some traditional apps in favor of software as a service offerings for example, maybe in the areas of customer relationship management or human resources. It might mean refactoring some apps to run in a public cloud. It might mean migrating other apps to a private cloud or a colocation facility. Not everything needs to move immediately, especially if a company has sunk costs into IT gear, data center leases and custom application development.
3. Pick the right platforms.
Consider which platform and vendor is most appropriate for the technical requirements of each workload, and for the unique needs of the company and its lines of business. One business unit, for example, might have deep expertise in Windows-based products and feel more comfortable with an Azure public cloud. Another business unit might prefer to use Amazon Web Services or Google for their deep DevOps and container-centric approach to application development. Smart adopters look for a cloud services partner with experience running comparative analyses for customers on how their workloads perform on each platform and cloud vendor.
4. Move from SysOps workflows toward DevOps methodologies.
By treating infrastructure as code and using iterative software development, companies are able to encourage more innovation and respond more rapidly to the changing needs of their business and their customers. These companies can march toward tangible objectives such as deploying code 20 times a day or ensuring mean time to recovery is no more than a few seconds. Once these workflows evolve, they allow companies to leverage the cloud to full advantage and deliver measurable business value.
5. Build multi-cloud security and compliance measures.
Establishing security at the foundation of the cloud architecture is key for successful cloud adopters. They architect multiple levels of security, including features provided natively in the cloud platforms and managed security services, delivered by a partner, that use leading security tools to proactively defend against security threats and manage compliance regimes.
6. Develop a robust governance strategy.
The right cloud cost monitoring and optimization tools can help companies track how, when, where and by whom cloud resources are utilized. This approach can identify opportunities to purchase more economical reserved instances or strike discount agreements with cloud platform vendors. Successful companies also create service catalogs of predefined reference architectures for various workloads commonly used by the organization to ensure proper governance without sacrificing agility.
Cloud adoption is a long process that can be made simpler with the right expertise. The most successful cloud adopters remember that it's not a destination, but a journey - and the journey never ends.

Source: HOB