Blogtober Post #2 - Moving to the Cloud

It seems to me that members are very interested in learning about the cloud – hybrid, on-premises, public, private – the options go on. What’s exciting is that members are now deploying their cloud strategy and carefully moving to a new compute platform. If you’re not that far along, there’s no need to be concerned. Making this move is something businesses need to evaluate on an individual basis. Here are some thoughts to consider as you move to the cloud.

For this blog, I am defining the cloud as utilizing someone’s else compute. I’ll assume we’ve all deployed on-premises cloud with your own equipment utilizing VMware, regardless of whether that’s in your data center or colocation services.

First, you should evaluate your current situation. Start with equipment. If your equipment is aging or you need more capacity, this will speed up your move to the cloud.

Next, look at the software versions you currently have. Being behind in software may be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re ready for an upgrade and can get that by migrating to the cloud. On the other, you may be forced to upgrade to ease migration to the cloud. Whether your software is behind or up-to-date, the provider you chose will determine which is better.

Understanding your workloads is important. If you have seasonal requirements, the elasticity of the cloud can be appealing. If workloads are steady, choosing a cloud provider that allows for long term and lower cost contracts will be something to consider.

Taking inventory of the software you run may be the most important thing. Legacy software may be difficult to migrate to the cloud. If you work in an environment with programmers, I’m willing to bet you have software running in production that you’re not aware of. This is something you’ll find quickly as you move to the cloud. Trust me; that’s not the way you want to find out.

Evaluating your cloud partner should take time, and you should be thorough. There are many providers out there. You can find them in your town or across the globe. I’ve always liked the option to visit the data center where my data is located, so I‘ve opted for one that is a day’s drive or less away. Visiting is good for clients, auditors, and due diligence.

Just like most things, what is right for your neighbor may not be right for you. When looking at your cloud provider, look beyond the compute. Evaluate the other offerings they provide that you may want to take advantage of, be that extra services or just expertise. Expanding your compute and access to certified engineers can be a benefit. Access to those engineers can also be elastic, just like the compute. That’s another advantage of picking the right cloud provider.

Of course, having these options, whether you use them or not, comes at a price. If you have the engineering expertise in-house, pricing and location will likely be the deciding factor for a cloud provider.

These are just some of the things you should consider. Everyone’s environment is a bit different. When looking at a cloud partner, I’d start with the vCAN (vCloud Air Network) or the recently announced VMware Cloud Verified partners. They can help you navigate your move to the cloud.

Brad Tompkins

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