Conversations today (2018) with customers, partners (current vs. boutique), consultants, ISVs and vendors alike have a laser focused attention (bias) towards business or digital transformation including the adoption + consumption or Public Clouds (IaaS) providers which in my definition by example are providers such as the following in alphabetical order but not limited to Alibaba Cloud, AWS EC2, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud e.t.c
I would like to offer some simple rules that I have see in action, understood and learnt personally + professionally from some engineers I have had the privilege of working with when I was working at a MSP in central London and through my own experiences. Some of those engineers today within teams run/manage Tier 1 IP transit carriers e.g the back bone of the internet and some of them actually in a previous life built the infrastructure to support these carriers e.g the data centres. Two of them also within a team (pre that MSP) built world class banking trader platforms so resilient + fast it still blows my mind way today writing this sentence thinking about those conversations so YES I have learnt alot from some exceptionally talented individuals, my own observations + experiences + mistakes (not major thankfully) and through customer advocacy which has also enabled me to work alongside some of the smartest people on the planet.
Some of the technology from over a decade ago is only hitting the enterprise today which has made me think more about my technical + technology roots and what I call “the core vs. going back to the core” which is powered by Tier 1 IP transit carriers and Tier 3/4 data centre providers. Naturally over time I have created a simple but very important set of rules or principles that I adhere to and that should be understood by any organisation at all tiers from the CxO to the Head of IT to the Engineers or SysAdmins deploying, configuring and running workloads, mgmt. infrastructure (plane) before embarking on a journey to the Public Cloud vs. developing a Hybrid Cloud strategy.
Yes 100% you can consume Public Cloud however the follow rules must apply and will naturally lead towards a Hybrid Cloud strategy.
1. +Recognise that Hybrid Cloud (or Service) is king for all tiers
2. Respect (IaaS/Public Cloud) it e.g how it works vs. operates
3. Move only workloads that are *right vs. relevant+
4. Switch to PaaS services for mgmt planes to support business outcomes + transformation journeys again * and also only move WHEN * and don’t just assume it’s like a light switch ON vs. OFF like often most organisations + individuals think public cloud & PaaS is like.
5. Build your mgmt. planes if choose NOT to consume PaaS the way they would e.g local connectivity east & west + north & south consuming separate physical IP transit carriers and consume separate data centres + providers in separate countries if at all possible. However for some customers due to compliance this is simply not an option for them so deploy this strategy in country well over the minimum required distance by certification vs. compliance.
6. Your core + critical LOB apps should be able to with stand both minor and major outages of any type while keeping your business operating and transacting with customers vs. suppliers.
7. Do not be afraid to work with a MSP the best ones become an extension of your IT team which is very important for several operational, compliances reasons including continued DevOps, Transformation and Innovation. Note: The really good ones are NOT cheap but well worth it and equally VERY VERY hard too identify so ask!
8. Don’t dive into any cloud type model without a trusted advisory to support you e.g a competitor just did it, they saved alot of costs and improved share holder value by x we are going to do it now. They probably brought in a boutique advisory firm 12-36 months ago whom keeps them regularly updated with trends and outcomes at multiple tiers enabling all of there current success. Again ask!
9. Revisit your TCO https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_cost_of_ownership, ROI models – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_on_investment in a DevOps style approach but not as frequent as DevOps.
10. Sizing and scaling workloads based upon existing vs. net new traditional h/w setup & configurations just doesn’t work most of the time. I minor exception to this is if you are running a cloud style HCI appliances you are way better prepared all around but again don’t just assume.
Experience has taught me managing customers in a previous life that a managed public cloud powered by a MSP is very fruitful (follow the rules) for everyone involved as it enabled true live business continuity, burst capacity + agility where required, stronger security controls, IT skills of world class engineers, the customers engineering team has down time to support innovation + transformation and finally better overall app + infrastructure management resulting in awesome outcomes and experiences for customers.
I also quickly observed with customers they went from consuming the managed Public Cloud platform as a strategy play to it becoming the primarily platform of choice with the existing data centre fabric running in the managed colo racks upgraded with new kit to reflect an internal managed Public Cloud linked to the MSP’s platform or they converted the kit to become a DR site.
If you choose to follow a handful of this rules or principles at the start even during of your journey to the Public Cloud you’ll be a little better off I believe. I am a huge advocate of IaaS so its important to me that organisations are able to embrace it but on there own terms where it is right vs. relevant to them.
The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.