Migrating your IT capabilities to take advantage of the countless benefits of Cloud Services is both a necessity and an opportunity. Lots of companies are well underway with their migration, while many more are about to take the first steps.
Like any journey to a ‘new world’, myths abound.
While no-one would want to put any smart business off the idea of beginning its Cloud journey, there are dangers aplenty in store for companies that are swayed in how they approach the task of transforming their infrastructure by some of the gung ho and ill-informed nonsense offered up by ‘less than expert’ experts.
Check out this list of the ‘5 Things You’ve Heard About Migrating To the Cloud That Simply Aren’t True’, compiled by Cloud Computing expert Justin Day, Managing Director of Cloud Gateway, a platform designed to make migration to the Cloud simple and manageable.
There are lots of businesses being encouraged to adopt Cloud Services across the board without anyone taking the time or effort to determine what exactly the business needs or wants to achieve by doing this.
It’s simply not true that every storage setup, application, server or other entity on your network can or should be migrated, and if it can, or should, then it all needs planning out meticulously.
You need to have a proper Cloud Readiness Assessment compiled by a suitable knowledgeable Cloud IT specialist. Each system, application, service or product on your network needs to be considered not only on its individual requirements, but on the interdependencies it has with other component parts of your existing infrastructure.
Without the learning you’ll gain from this, the progress of a migration is almost certain to stall or be halted altogether. It’s far from uncommon to hear of cases where it has to be aborted or even reversed altogether.
Much of the intoxication with the Cloud that we are witnessing is attributable to the ubiquity of Cloud Services accessible over the Internet.
The Internet typically allows easy access to these services, as well as a flexible platform with which to manage them. That being said, it is not smart to attempt to move absolutely any service to the Cloud assuming that the Internet will enable it to be consumed properly from there.
Many existing applications are best served by older protocols which lack the appropriate encryption or security considerations to be used across the Internet. Other applications don’t perform across NAT boundaries.
There are many ways to move just about anything to the cloud, but these don’t all use Internet connectivity. You need to be prepared and equipped to consider these requirements if you’re going to migrate.
It’s true that Cloud Service Providers have done a great job of making connectivity easy.
If you understand a bit about infrastructure, code, automation and scripting you can get things working with the Cloud with relative ease.
However… networking absolutely is not dead. The basic networking components (e.g. network containers, routers, gateways, load balancers and security groups) offered by the major Cloud Service Providers are functional but too simplistic. If you’re unable to understand the best architecture to adopt from a networking perspective, you will generally end up with an environment in which things don’t quite work.
In truth, a strong network architecture is arguably more important in Cloud Computing than it has been in more traditional environments, especially as there’s likely to be a ‘hybrid architecture’ in operation in most organisations for a long time to come.
Network Security Groups are the most basic of Layer 4 firewalls. They serve, in the main, to ‘shape’ permissions for who or what can consume a service or application within a given part of the Cloud environment.
They are not, however, even close to being appropriate as a valid security device. Yet they are often implemented as the only means of securing Cloud based infrastructure.
With a number of services being exposed to the Internet, and with cyber attacks on the increase, security is paramount in Cloud infrastructure.
NSGs simply don’t cut it. They are too often used as an excuse to bypass the security posture within an organisation, by falsely being represented as the means by which security concerns have been dealt with.
There are actually a wealth of excellent security options available within Cloud. These need to be considered in line with the Network Architecture so as to provide your business with appropriate protective measures.
Cloud offers a wealth of commodity capacities and services.
You can scale up your infrastructure on demand, paying only for what you use at the times when you need to use it. There are no costs to be considered for hosting, and long term contracts are limited, or don’t exist, meaning there are no extended tie-ins.
What this means, however, is that governance and control over spend are often overlooked or lost altogether. Where an item of physical infrastructure used to be subject to spend control before a purchase order was raised, its Cloud equivalent can be purchased with the click of a button. As a result, it’s rare for financial controllers to have a firm grip on what is being purchased and why.
Carelessness can easily creep in. Resources can often be “left with the lights on” when in fact they are not being used or are simply no longer needed. Cloud Service Providers do have tools that can assist in alerting administrators to this fact, but as the volume of resources grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor the landscape.
The most overlooked of all costs is that of egress data. For every GB of data transferred out of a Cloud Service Environment (sometimes even within the environment) there is a small charge. These charges quickly add up, yet they are often completely ignored, sometimes being assumed to be a ‘necessary evil’ of using Cloud Services.
The bottom line is this. From the point of view of cost, depending on the business requirements for an application or service, migration it to the Cloud may simply not be the smart thing to do.
So, the Cloud Journey is an imperative part of the IT strategy for any business. There can be no doubt about that, and everything the Cloud promises should be considered as the ultimate goal for almost all businesses.
However, enthusiasm for its possibilities need to be tempered, and a number of its myths dispelled, if you are to ensure the correct decisions are made at the right time, and for reasons that will benefit your business and assure it of the maximum returns for the effort involved in the migration.
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