From the 'cloud rush' to enlightenment

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 2020-05-01 Views: 802 Tags: Document, Cloud, Strategy, Management, Infrastructure, Disaster Recovery, Quest PDF Version:
Adrian Moir, Senior Consultant at Quest Software, looks at the growing trend for 'cloud repatriation' and asks whether the cost and time involved are being given adequate consideration in finding the appropriate balance

Many organisations have felt the pressure to move towards the cloud and it was only four years ago that Gartner suggested a "cloud-first" strategy was the foundation for staying relevant in today's world. There is no denying the substantial benefits that cloud can deliver, but there is a difference between taking a considered and strategic approach, and 'forcing' cloud migration simply due to fear of being left behind.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but what many organisations didn't predict was the level of complexity and additional costs of simply lifting and shifting everything into these new environments. So how can businesses find the right model for their cloud-based workloads as data continues to grow?

CLOUD ADOPTION
The last decade has seen an influx of cloud initiatives, with many businesses seeing it as a must-have platform. CIOs were enamoured by the sudden scalability available at their fingertips and as the technology proliferated, many companies clamoured to migrate their workloads. The cloud computing model captured everyone's imagination by promising an agile, scalable and cost-effective platform. It seemed to be the perfect solution to many of the challenges businesses were experiencing with older legacy systems.

Traditional storage platforms were struggling to keep up with volumes of data and the need to over- provision resources was costly and difficult to plan. Many businesses also found backups were becoming inefficient and less reliable. It seemed like the cloud came at a perfect time for industry. As such, some companies took this as an opportunity to upgrade all their infrastructure and move to a pure cloud-based structure. However, today we are now seeing these organisations struggle with a number of data challenges, so perhaps it was case of running before they could walk.

THE MISCONCEPTIONS
It is absolutely true that cloud has been and continues to be a clear enabler of business success. A recent survey found that over 50% of respondents are using the cloud in some way as a part of their disaster recovery processes. Furthermore, the cloud has also enabled many businesses to kick-start their digital transformation efforts, driving innovation through almost every level of the organisation.

But all of this is only useful if businesses invest the right amount of time, money and resources into their cloud strategy from the start. It is also important to make informed decisions about its suitability and how this supports the businesses goals. A key part of this is cost forecasting to ensure that there are no nasty surprises further down the line.

When looking at the rush towards the cloud, cost reduction is top of the wish list for many CIOs. Improved business agility and reliable scalability during peak time periods also prove enriching. However, while the initial rollout of the cloud was regarded as a cheaper option to on-premises, this is not the case for every organisation and today there are many businesses facing cost overruns, complexity and backup challenges.

One of the main drawbacks of the cloud is that poor planning can quickly accumulate to wasted time, money and resources. With a consumption model such as cloud computing it's important to look at how quickly costs could rack up, where the data is stored and how backup and compliance/regulation will impact the business strategy. While the idea of outsourcing is a major appeal, businesses are still accountable for data so it's important to forecast, plan and consider all the options.

These challenges are causing many organisations to rethink their cloud strategy, with some organisations going as far as pulling data back on-premises. While in some cases this might be necessary, repatriating data from the cloud is not a simple click of a button - it is costly and time-consuming, the two key things that any CIO would wish to avoid.

FINDING AN ENLIGHTENED PATH
Many of these obstacles are not a reflection on cloud computing itself but of poor planning and a lack of strategy. It is forcing a cloud-first mandate that is leading towards the need to pull data back.

Most organisations will benefit from using a balance of different services but it is important to keep an open mind about which model will suit which workloads and adapt accordingly. Carefully choosing exactly where data should live is critical. Understanding what you have and how it behaves is of paramount importance, before you begin moving workloads to new environments. While over-provisioned resources should be recovered first it is essential that the workload behaviour is understood and how that can be analysed to prevent cost over-run or a drop in performance during peak requirement.

Aligning a reduction in over-provisioned resources, knowing behaviour along with the cost analysis of both current and future planned deployment locations will enable businesses to be well on the way to understanding if cloud adoption is right - and for which workloads. New technologies and services will always emerge in today's digital world so we should use this as an opportunity to learn how poor planning can cause significant longer-term repercussions.
More info: www.quest.com

"One of the main drawbacks of the cloud is that poor planning can quickly accumulate to wasted time, money and resources. With a consumption model such as cloud computing it's important to look at how quickly costs could rack up, where the data is stored and how backup and compliance/regulation will impact the business strategy."