Demystifying the Cloud
Cloud, Cloud, Cloud. We seem to be constantly bombarded with the latest cloud offering from a partner or vendor. What I find challenging is how to demystify the hype and work out what will truly benefit a business and set them up for an easy transition to the cloud over the next 2 years.
Being in New Zealand, we are placed in a unique position: “We are geographically challenged but we also have perception issues around what type of cloud to use and how to implement it”.
Central to this is the perception issue surrounding Data Sovereignty. In my personal view, we need clarification around this with guidance from a government agency. While speaking with customers and partners in the USA throughout my travels over the past two weeks, we seem to be unsure of what we can and cannot place in the cloud, particularly in comparison with other countries. One qquestion that comes to my mind is; do we use this an excuse to prevent the move, or is it a real issue that we need to address?
What I am learning whilst I travel is that there are two distinct approaches in addressing how to move parts of an organizations to the cloud – the “move everything to cloud” approach and the “hybrid” approach. When thinking about which will work best for your business, I think that you should consider the following:
The “move everything to the cloud” approach provides organizations with the maximum benefits of a cloud solution instantly, but it can lock you into solution from which it is harder to move. Some vendors use propriety solutions that do not allow an organizations to move workloads back to their local infrastructure. There is also a high risk factor when taking this approach due to those scary ‘unknowns’ that live within every organizations environment.
The “hybrid” approach provides a slower transition for companies looking to move to a cloud offering. However, this can be ideal for those companies who are looking to ‘dip their toes,’ and migrate with reduced risk. Organizations can slowly transition workloads back and forth, whilst testing business solutions along with performance and ability meet internal requirements. The key to the hybrid approach is choosing a cloud solution that provides you the flexibility to achieve this.
I of course work for Microsoft and we provide a Public Cloud service called Azure, delivering a variety of services. The rapid pace that Azure is developing is truly astounding. We recently added per minute pricing across our infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform. This offering allows organizations to extend their virtual environments to the cloud along with a plethora of services. In my opinion, one of most critical functions that organizations can implement is the Azure Active Directory synchronization service and management. Synchronization enables organizations to have a single sign on option across multiple platforms. This, in conjunction with IaaS, provides a compelling and simple starting point for companies to test how cloud can create multiple advantages.
The skill set required to implement this can be tough to find and I highly recommend that organizations look to find a good partner to assist in any plans to move workloads to the cloud. The excitement and ‘buzz’ around cloud is definitely top of mind at the moment. My advice is to research before you jump in and make sure you don’t get locked into a solution that does not allow you to easily move off if you want to.
Bradley Borrows is the Microsoft New Zealand Azure and Server Business Group Lead for Microsoft New Zealand. He has been with Microsoft for almost 10 years working both in New Zealand and the UK.
Locally he presents on New Zealand’s only online Tech TV show called GeeksphereTV where they discuss film, gadgets and technology.
Email: bradbor @microsoft.com Blog & TV: www.geeksphere.tv