It’s no secret that cloud now plays a pivotal role in the success of modern organisations. For those looking to thrive, it should be a given. When implemented correctly, cloud should enable smooth business agility, with its scalability and flexible capacity ultimately providing technology services on tap.
Of course, the label ‘cloud’ has now come to mean a
whole variety of things, making the term itself rather nebulous. Indeed, clouds
now come in many forms, and with a mind-boggling variety of providers and
services, it can make the prospect of implementing a cloud strategy, and
getting it right, both daunting and confusing.
organisations already have a cloud strategy which is likely to range from
simply running productivity tools in the cloud through having a single public
cloud provider, combining public and on-premises cloud and potentially
consuming services from multiple cloud providers. Are these environments
interoperable? How should an organisation plan on scaling and incorporating
different workloads? Do they provide the capabilities to meet business
significant issues to take into consideration when developing and iterating a
cloud strategy and the management of data is worth special consideration;
they’re called “datacenters,” although disguised as AZ’s and Regions in the
importance of an organisation’s data in an increasingly competitive data-driven
business climate it’s critical that data is accessible, protected and mobile
whatever its mass; managing data easily, consistently and cost effectively in
the cloud, as on-premises, is essential.
let your data get tied down
Increasingly, organisations that are adopting
modern applications are more reliant on the individual clouds that house their
workloads and data. Using multiple providers in this way can cause issues in
relocating data, or subsets of data, from one environment to another. Adopting
cloud should facilitate application movement whereby the underlying data simply
moves with the application; across Clouds, from Cloud to Co-Lo(cation) or Cloud
Fortunately, mobility is not a myth, and
organisations can ensure that they don’t end up with siloed data by opting for
providers that have multiple integrations and partnerships. In particular, organisations should ensure
they opt for services that integrate seamlessly with the large public cloud
providers, such as Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.
Adopting Kubernetes allows for enhanced data
flexibility by being application centric, allowing an organisation to move the
whole app or workload as many times as needed.
Making sure that the environment is built for this portability from
day-one provides futureproofing.
Organisations therefore need to make sure that they have a platform in
place that has a data-plane fully integrated into Kubernetes.
Organisations will also want to ensure that they
achieve a consistent, simple experience. So you should therefore opt for a
single cloud provider, right? Not necessarily. A single provider may have the
ability to offer hundreds of different services, but that doesn’t mean all of
them are right for every organisation. Going down this route may mean you find
yourself ‘locked in’ without the flexibility you are used to and with your data
constrained rather than truly enabling your business.
Organisations shouldn’t assume that the public
cloud is always the best option for every workload. Ultimately, a ‘cloud best’
rather than a ‘cloud first’ strategy should be adopted: pick and choose the use
cases where cloud makes the most sense, but where this isn’t the case consider
keeping applications under your own control, through a hybrid set up. Yet by
having a portion of their infrastructure on prem, organisations don’t need to
worry about losing the flexibility that they’ve learnt to love with cloud. Increasingly characteristics of the cloud are
available in a hybrid or on-premises environment such as elastic capacity and
as-a-service consumption-based commercial models.
control, and avoid technical debt
Cloud, and its inherent scalability is fantastic
for business agility and offers the potential for significant savings for the
right workloads. However, this scalability can be a double-edged sword. Whilst
capacity is available instantly with the “swipe of a credit card”, it can be
easy to get carried away, leading to rising monthly bills that are increasingly
hard to track. Factor in a multitude of consumers and services across multiple
cloud providers, and it’s easy to see how cloud spending can get out of
This again is where having a ‘cloud best’ strategy
comes into play, and where choosing a hybrid cloud model can allow for the best
cost efficiencies. Flexible consumption models should be considered as they
allow organisations to pay for use, rather than engaging in the tricky practice
of predicting capacity requirements in 18 months’ time. This will position
organisations to address changing business demands whilst avoiding excess
capacity or unnecessary commitments on spend.
Cloud as a
vehicle for growth in an unpredictable world
Ultimately, for organisations to get the most out
of the cloud, they need to be proactive rather than reactive in how they use
it. This means having a fully developed strategy, making sure you are equipped
for multi-cloud up front and not locking yourself out of any potential
infrastructure upgrades once a cloud architecture is established. With flexibility built into the architecture
ensuring both optionality and portability, organisations can ensure they are
geared for growth and ready for the unpredictability that businesses globally
have had to accept.
Wherever it is used or stored, an organisation’s data holds immense value. With the right cloud strategy in place, and having portability as the lynchpin, each organisation can squeeze every last drop of value from its data and use it to gain a competitive edge.
Patrick Smith, CTO EMEA, Pure Storage