Cloud Preparation – More than Technology?

Cloud is easy, right?  Someone builds a data center, runs cables, slaps some hardware and software together and *poof*, you are running a cloud.  If a company wants to join, they just sign some documents and push their applications into the deep blue and everyone is happy!

Of course, I am being sarcastic.  Generally, when we engage a company about a failing cloud initiative or a new cloud initiative, we generally get the same thoughts.  Cloud is easy, and anyone can put one together.  Even the companies / teams that have failed after 2+ years with nothing to show wonder why they have not delivered.

Over the past 6 years, I have been focused on deploying private cloud implementations for multiple clients.  Although most have been on engineered or converged systems, there have been multiple with physical and / or virtual systems over many technologies.  These engagements include either “bail-outs” of failed implementations from other big-named firms or a complete end-to-end deployment. For the failed engagements, we generally start with a system health check to identify the challenges.  Our thoughts were cloud providers understand the process for on-boarding a client – which is a false statement.

Over these engagements, we have implemented a methodology that has been very successful in the preparation and rapid delivery of cloud implementations.  Over the next set of blog posts, I will discuss the methodology and some of the common errors that we have seen.

“We generally start everything with a health check – because everyone is ready for the cloud … right?”

Technology is fun and cloud technology is more fun.  The issue that we find very often is that people understand cloud technology, but they don’t understand the cloud.  Whether it is a public cloud or a private cloud, most people we talk with understand the benefits of implementing a cloud.  The excitement over the benefits often overwhelms corporate leaders with promises of cost savings and rapid deployments.  But, when we ask them what they want – generally, we get a blank stare.  In fact, if you read my last blog, we get a lot of blank stares at the beginning. In reality, we find the client is ill prepared for the migration to the cloud, either through expectation or level of effort.  The blank stare presents the moment when reality becomes apparent.

“As a good friend and colleague told me today – “We need to learn better English…”.  Perhaps that will remove the blank stare syndrome.

The blank stares will never cease, as I believe the disconnect is in the expectation, not the comprehension.  Regardless of the topic, technology is supposed to be simple.  Bottom line, cloud is simple if you are prepared.  It is just like riding a bike! But just like riding a bike in today’s world, you have to know what you want and how you are going to use the bike.  Then you have to be prepared for the hills, the elements, the virtual riding– so really, is cloud simple?

IMG_4237 (1).jpgThis is a picture of my bike, in my house “torture chamber”. I can guarantee that it is more complicated than just getting on and peddling!

So, over the next few weeks we will talk about being prepared for the cloud.  Whether you are going public cloud or private cloud, the preparation is nearly the same.  If you are wondering “why do I need to prepare my environment for a cloud?”, please read-on, it will change the way you deploy and save money.

Here is what I will discuss over the next few weeks …

  • “Are those requirements? There’s no requirements in the cloud!”
  • Does a reference architecture really help?
  • Patterns, not just for sewing anymore!
  • Service Catalog and Christmas List – hope eternal
  • Automation, Supply Chain and physics eternal

Technology is fun, and the cloud is fun.  As an infrastructure engineer, database architect and application architect, I spend more time debating with myself than other people.  They are good debates and I generally stop the discussion before they get violent.  I hope we can have some fun as we go through this cloud journey and I welcome comments and thoughts!

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