In the early days of Cloud services, CTOs were promised huge reductions in their operating costs. Move your infrastructure to the Cloud and you will save a fortune on data centre and hardware costs they were told. As the Cloud industry has matured, the use case has changed significantly. Most businesses now cite increased flexibility and scalability as their primary motivators for Cloud adoption. Now ten years after Microsoft Azure launched, some Cloud users are running into problems. Costs reductions are not as much as expected. And the promised infrastructure flexibility actually seems quite limited. So what goes wrong sometimes?
Lift-n-Shift – a recipe for Cloud disaster
Infinite scalability, comprehensive onboarding tools, and the beautiful simplicity of moving virtual servers makes Cloud migration relatively straightforward. Indeed, armed with nothing but a company credit card, your business could register an account and begin working in the Cloud immediately. Which is exactly what some businesses did. Taking their existing infrastructure, they simply replicated their onsite platform in the Cloud. This strategy does work – but it delivers almost no long term benefits.
There are two problems with the lift-n-shift approach. First, by replicating existing infrastructure they simply recreate exactly the same bottlenecks and flaws they always had – but this time in someone else’s data centre. Second, replicating existing infrastructure is incredibly resource inefficient. Of course, the Cloud platform will scale to accommodate these inefficiencies – but you will be charged for every wasted processor cycle, or gigabyte of duplicated data. The cost savings realised by not buying dedicated hardware are just as quickly burned by Cloud applications that have not been optimised or re-engineered for the pay-as-you-use charging model. DIY Cloud migration is possible, but usually quite expensive and very inefficient from day one.
Stop trying to “muddle through”
To realise the full cost benefits of the Cloud, you need to be working with containers and packaged services. Your processes need to be optimised so that they execute as cheaply as possible. You need to stop thinking in terms of how things worked before. And you need to be able to stay on top of new developments and charging models that could improve operations – or increase bills. Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant report highlights these issues, explicitly stating; “Customers should be aware that while it’s easy to get started, optimal use — especially keeping up with new service innovations and best practices, and managing costs — may challenge even highly agile, expert IT organizations.” Download the full Gartner report here
Work with a reputable partner
Their advice? DO NOT attempt major Azure Cloud projects on your own. Cloud services occupy their own special niche, offering little crossover with traditional IT skills. No matter how skilled your in-house team may be, they will still struggle to achieve optimal use. Instead you must partner with a reputable Cloud expert who is familiar with the Azure platform, and who knows how to take full advantage of the available benefits. Your partner can then guide you through the re-engineering process to avoid the costly mistakes that your DIY competitors have already made.
Whether you’re just starting out on the Cloud journey, or you’ve already encountered the problems described here, Acora can help. Give us a call today and let us help you get your Cloud strategy on track.