There is always something to learn when you attend an event, a new technology, a new feature or something that just makes you think. Recently I listened to Graham Crich, Vice President Cloud at Veeam, who spoke about “taking the risk out of cloud platform choice”, this was a very interesting concept as he talked about the amount of choice we are presented with when we design modern infrastructure especially when it comes to the public cloud.
This is an interesting topic as more businesses look to adopt cloud whether it’s migrating swathes of infrastructure or small tactical deployments the choices presented are wide-ranging and making the right decision for your business is difficult. It’s also not only about making the right decision for now, it’s also about making a decision that can provide the flexibility that your organisation may need in the future. It is this range of choices that can lead to problems and introduce indecision and delay into any solution delivery.
Build in Flexibility from the Start
How do we then start to overcome these challenges and de-risk our cloud adoption choice? Key to this is ensuring we consider flexibility right from the start. We often spend a lot of time, rightly so, planning our migration, getting that right is crucial in making the cloud work, however what is still very rare is to consider is building in the flexibility to move our data and workloads easily and effectively from cloud to an alternate location.
Increasingly businesses are starting to need to move some elements of cloud infrastructure to an alternate location whether that is for commercial, strategic or governance reasons, the demand for flexibility to move data and workloads be it from cloud to cloud or back on-prem is certainly growing. To be able to do this successfully we need to plan for moving data and workloads out of the cloud as much as we do moving it in. We need to consider the format our data is in, the amount and the cost and time required to move it from our current provider to any other location and we need to consider this right at the start, not as an afterthought once we have completed our cloud migration.
Consistency is Key
A core part of building flexibility into your cloud choices is consistency. Moving data or workloads between locations and infrastructure types is much easier to do if we have consistent services in all those locations so that we can host, manage and control our services and data in the same way regardless of where it is.
There are two main approaches to providing this consistency. One is to ensure we deploy the same base platform in each location, think about the “data fabric” concept, this allows us to have the same underlying storage file system on-prem, branch office, co-lo’s and public cloud, so we can move data and workloads without the need for transformation. An alternate approach is to have tooling that can hide the complexity of moving your data between different platforms and locations, tools that understand all the potential locations and perform workload transformations quickly and seamlessly as your data is moved between them.
Either approach is effective and built-in from the start will provide the flexibility needed to reduce some of the risks of cloud decision making.
Why De-Risking Cloud is Important
Technology is at the heart of the modern business and the idea that we can take risks with it or that our business will tolerate inefficiency and lack of stability or that our organisations will accept technology as a limiting factor in its ability to be responsive to changing demands is rarely acceptable.
To meet modern business demands we do need to be able to consider the public cloud, it provides many things that are difficult for us to do on-prem, scale, ease of deployment, technical and commercial flexibility are all very attractive capabilities that cloud delivers for the modern business. However, as we are seeing increasingly, those benefits do not always remain a benefit and businesses need to be able to bring data, applications or infrastructure back into their own datacentre or move it to alternate cloud providers for a range of reasons. Many have found this to be more challenging and more complex to deliver than the initial transition to cloud.
Is was this that made Graham’s point so interesting and while the main thrust of his discussion was how Veeam could help you take the risk out of cloud adoption, the principal of his point was universally valid. Considering all the possibilities of cloud adoption, including the flexibility to move data and workloads, is crucial for the modern technology infrastructure and building it in from the beginning will make a significant difference in your ability to deliver it when you need too.