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Cloud First

“Cloud First” – it’s something we’ve all heard from a variety of companies but why do some organisations struggle with “Cloud First”?

Before we can get in to the “why organisations struggle with Cloud First” conversation, we need to understand two things:

  1. What is “Cloud”?
  2. What is “Cloud First”?

What is Cloud?

Cloud isn’t a location – this may sound controversial but there are many types of Cloud: Private, Community, Hybrid and Public. NIST define that Cloud computing has five distinct characteristics:

  1. On-demand self-service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Resource pooling
  4. Rapid elasticity or expansion
  5. Measured service

So, what is Cloud? It is a model of working – simple as that. It is about abstracting the underlying Compute, Network and Storage at the heart of every IT infrastructure and commoditising it for use.

When I’ve done virtualisation engagements with customers in the past, there has been a common thread amongst of them: driving standardisation. Whether this be through “t-shirt” sizing Virtual Machine offerings or using more advanced templates such as SQL Server templates or full application templates. This drive for standardisation, whilst extremely admirable, didn’t last long before someone said, “the sizing doesn’t fit my requirements”, “the sizes are too big”, “the sizes are too small”; at which point the standards were overridden and custom sizes created. These are not Cloud deployments.

What is Cloud First?

When engaging with the Cloud model of working organisations need to understand what their costs are for implementing a service, have a variety of services and can offer those services in an on-demand manner.

Organisations that say “Cloud First” and are just referring to Azure/AWS/GCP without the full understanding of what the Cloud Model entails, are on the road to failure. “Cloud First” is a total understanding of the Cloud Model, the services provided and what can be leveraged.

Hyperscale platforms such as Azure/AWS/GCP should be not be seen as a replacement for a virtualised environment such as Hyper-V or VMware. Hyperscale Clouds offer such a wide variety of services that should be considered before “just run it a VM”.

As such having an understanding of the project/service to be implemented and where Cloud based services can be used is critical to having a “Cloud First” approach.

So what does this mean?

When using “Cloud First” think of the overall service, the benefits of the Cloud Model and how they can be leveraged – don’t just think of it as a location. Understand how the service is going to paid for and what is required of it.

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