As the region’s cloud market begins to mature, I have recently spoken to some early adopters of cloud solutions about the lessons they have learned from using these services.
It is often stated that we are still in the early stages of cloud, and that the impact cloud will have on the industry is far-reaching, and only just becoming apparent. While some organisations may still be resistant to cloud, there’s an increasing appreciation of the value of private cloud, and many large organisations are switching to a model of virtualised infrastructure to leverage private cloud.
For public cloud services however, there’s still a wide range of opinions on adoption. Some companies I have spoken to are resolutely opposed to putting their applications in the cloud, seeing it as surrendering control to a degree which they are not comfortable with. Others are reluctant for a number of reasons — they don’t want to entrust the uptime of their applications to a third party, or they don’t want data residing outside the region, or they simply cannot convince senior management to make a shift to a service provider approach.
For the companies I spoke to however, the cloud experience has been almost entirely positive. In the main part, cost, flexibility and time to market were cited as the main benefits of cloud adoption. Some have taken tentative first steps with non-essential applications being rolled out in the cloud, and for the most part, the success of these implementations has convinced them to try more cloud in future.
Others have taken an everything into the cloud approach, an approach which is mainly suitable for start ups, but one that looks compelling for satellite offices and other areas where flexibility is required.
In either of these cases, the basic guidelines and experiences all point to the same thing, make sure you know what your service provider is promising you, and make sure you have the infrastructure to manage and monitor that what is promised is what is received.
The service level agreements and legal frameworks are still being developed around cloud, but if you are going to trust your business to a public cloud provider, you need to be clear on what they will provide and where the gaps might be. Financial penalties for non-delivery are another grey area, but if your business runs on cloud, then can you afford any downtime.
Network resilience and monitoring solutions also become more important with cloud, to get the best performance from applications and to ensure quality of service. Many of the early adopters have had to do some tweaking to improve performance and have installed solutions that can track service levels.
Cloud adopters also need to ensure they have clarity on licensing, and how costs will scale with increases or decreases in the number of services they take. While costs of cloud should be simpler than traditional on premise licensing, it does seem that some providers, mainly the old school software vendors, are still clinging to old habits and incomprehensible licensing. Your first cloud deal might be attractive in terms of costs, but make sure that services will scale without costs running out of control, or that there are not heavy penalties for downscaling or dropping a service provider.
In all, its very positive to see how these early adopters have embraced cloud and the benefits that they have gained from it, and it points to a much greater degree of cloud adoption in future.