During a recent AWS Ambassadors Global Summit held in Seattle, we got to hear from Larry Gilreath (AWS VP of Solution Architects for Systems Integrators) talk about changing the world for good by asking one simple question:
“If you had access to affordable, virtually unlimited compute capacity, what problems would you solve?”
This is a very powerful statement that is at the heart of one of the many reasons organisations choose AWS (or any global hyperscaler). When answering this question, this essentially formulates the vision for what cloud adoption means to your organisation. The follow-up to this question is:
Getting to know the “Why” for Cloud Migration and Adoption
Many organisations on their cloud adoption journey during a migration have a general idea of what they wish to migrate and internally build a business case skeleton that gives the green light to go to market as a tender or Request For Quote (RFQ) for a migration project. Most commonly, this might be closure of a co-location facility or to reduce outages and hardware maintenance overhead. In these cases it seems clear that cloud migration makes sense, right? Well, not really. Let’s explore this further.
Let’s say a very large organisation states a migration to the cloud is due to a closure of a co-location facility.
“Why not use another co-location facility?”
This might sound strange to most people to ask given the goal is to use cloud computing instead and that seems good enough on the surface. However, considering the business is already setup to use the co-location facility in terms of processes, people and procedures – adopting cloud isn’t simply a case of business as usual (BAU). It is a completely different operating model. So a follow up to this question is:
“What would cloud computing offer you that a co-location or on-premise facility doesn’t?”
Answering this question starts to delve into the “why” and the true reason for cloud migration being considered. The answer to this questions starts to delve into what is important to your organisation. We often hear the industry buzz-words around “cost saving, agility, faster product development, allow the business to focus on innovation instead of BAU”…etc. While this sounds great, it doesn’t get to the root of what this means to your organisation and doesn’t address the “how”. Let’s use an example answer and unpack it a bit.
“I don’t want to manage hardware anymore”
This is again, a logical answer that seems like it’s a slam dunk for cloud adoption – a clear winner and cloud adoption alignment. However, let’s digest this further. As part of the shared responsibility model, it is true that the hardware maintenance is taken care of by the cloud provider. So, with this in mind, let’s follow this up with another open-ended probing question:
“Why is this important to you and what impact would it have on your organisation to no longer have to manage hardware?”
Now we get to understand that a factual statement still has intent. We can now begin to understand the impact this has on an organisation. For the most part, hardware maintenance is generally low in modern hardware platforms, so the amount of time spent “maintaining” hardware might actually be very minimal. That is of course unless we consider time spent patching the hardware with vendor updates. Perhaps this is due to the hardware manufacturer needing a regular firmware upgrade cycle to maintain effective support etc. That might be the true reason for an answer as to why reducing hardware maintenance is important. Finally, we have one metric of cloud adoption answered. Next we need to consider what comes next: the cloud operating model.
Operating the Cloud: The New Way of Doing Things
Migration to the cloud is only effective if the organisation can adapt to take advantage of how best to operate it. There is a fundamental shift from needing to provide spare compute capacity to using only what you need and scaling on-demand. The financial model changes from amortisation of assets and large Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) to pay-as-you-go as an Operational Expenditure (OPEX) model. Budgeting for resources becomes harder to report to traditional finance operations as forecasting becomes more difficult. Security shifts from both physical and virtual threats to virtual threats, however those threats could be global in nature so perhaps this also needs to shift. Operational teams might no longer maintain hardware, however there is still a need to manage responsible resource consumption of cloud resources in addition to training. As you can see – there is a need to consider a cloud operating model as part of a business case to migrate from existing on-premise or co-location facilities to cloud.
Asking “Why?” Is Important
Understanding the “why” helps you focus on what is most important in your journey to cloud adoption. In a migration there can and almost always is a value reason to conduct the migration, however this isn’t always clear upfront. This makes it hard to determine your success and can lead migration teams delivering the wrong outcomes by choosing a least effective method of cloud migration. If there is an urgent need to move fast, perhaps a lift-and-shift approach might work best. If the focus is on agility, perhaps there is a need to replatform to take advantage of new cloud-native solutions. If the focus is on cost optimisation, this needs to be a longer-term view – not short-term gains. In that case, a refactor might be best using serverless solutions for example as this will yield lower costs in the long-term.
Know Your “Why” and the Value You Are Seeking
By understanding the real “why” a cloud migration might be best for you, it helps to clarify what value is most important to you. What you really want from the migration and that becomes your success criteria. Preparing for a cloud operating model takes some time and should be started early in the ideation phase of a cloud migration. Training staff and providing a proving ground to allow teams to execute their vision is critical. Establishing the ways of working and governance and compliance on the use of the cloud is equally as important. A Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) is only successful when it is supported and understood by the wider business groups. The CCoE creates the vision however it’s the business that executes that vision. The reality for most businesses is that cloud adoption can be hard and this is why partnering with AWS partners like Cevo Australia can help you in those early stages.
Cloud Adoption Is A Journey
There is no magical formula to great cloud adoption, however there is a lot to be learned from others pitfalls. Cevo has garnered a lot of perspective and experience working across many organisations (big and small). If your organisation is looking to carry out a migration, using Migration Competency Partners like Cevo can help you understand the value and your “why” while providing the early guidance necessary to accelerate your cloud adoption journey from ideation, cloud operating model, business case, establishing a CCoE, establishing a secure cloud foundation, migration execution, application modernisation and finally ongoing support for an end-to-end journey of cloud adoption.
“What would you achieve with affordable, near limitless compute capacity?”
Reach out to Cevo Australia today to learn more about our Migration, DevOps, Modernisation, Data and AI Ops, End-User Compute capabilities and recognised AWS competencies. Together we can accomplish anything.