Operating In A Cloud World

As many companies make the transition to cloud infrastructure, it could be baby steps or full-blown migration, there are some operational aspects that will require some adjustment, especially if they haven’t utilised the cloud before. These factors can change how you run, manage and budget your IT infrastructure.

  1. The infrastructure itself – This is one of the most obvious changes when moving to the cloud. Suddenly, there is a whole bunch of hardware that you no longer need to manage. It will immediately become more flexible and there will be one less thing to worry about. The concept of a ‘server’ is becoming increasingly rare as different functions, such as databases, are now becoming services you consume rather than a server you manage.
  1. Costs – In the pre-cloud days, many of the costs associated with physical infrastructure were high and required to pay upfront. Need a new physical server to add to your VM farm? You’ll have to buy it before you can implement it. With the requirement to manage physical hardware now removed from a cloud environment, the costs associated are very much ‘pay as you go’. This flexibility means that your operating costs may vary significantly month to month but it also gives you the control to make cost-saving changes and see immediate results.
  1. Licensing – This aspect requires some flexibility from the software vendors themselves. Most show that they are onboard with cloud cost models and are offering a number of choices when it comes to licensing their software. When it comes to the most common licenses such as Windows Server or SQL server, these are actually built into the ‘pay as you go’ cost of running the cloud VM. By having these costs built into the operating costs of the infrastructure there is now one less thing to worry about and you can achieve peace of mind knowing that your licensing is compliant. But what if you had some expensive licenses from your old physical fleet? You can reuse those as well – most vendors will allow you to bring your own license (BYOL).
  1. Management – Managing cloud infrastructure can have many similarities as physical, for example you can use the same monitoring or anti-virus tools. However, having the ability to ‘templatise’ nearly every part of your cloud infrastructure, there is a mindset change from physical infrastructure management. Services and instances can be deployed from a single file of code. If you wanted to tweak one of these instances it can be much quicker to simply update the template code and let the cloud platform take care of the rest. There is one aspect of cloud infrastructure management that you may not have needed to consider before and that is cost optimisation. As cloud introduces significant flexibility, it’s important to utilise this to ensure costs are minimised and you are only paying for what you need (you can read more about this in my previous blog.)
  1. Skill Base – if you have an in house architecture or support team it is important to consider their knowledge of cloud platforms and the value they can add. As I mentioned before, managing the cloud can require great mindset changes to get the most out of it. While some traditional architectures remain relevant, there’s a whole lot more that can be achieved that wasn’t possible in the physical world.

So there’s 5 points to consider as you operate in the cloud environment. It’s not always going to be easy, and it can be overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here. Give us a call or email today to find out how we can support, guide or even augment your business.

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.

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