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What to consider before committing to cloud

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What to consider before committing to cloud
Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, South Africa.

Africa’s neutral cloud infrastructure business, Routed, says that while IDC predicts public cloud revenue to reach $236 billion by 2020, local companies are still making basic mistakes when investing in cloud infrastructure.

“Cloud is more than a decade old now and while the adoption rate is growing, there are too many businesses basing their decisions on vested interests and legacy thinking, resulting in some common cloud missteps,” says Andrew Cruise, CEO, Routed.

“The biggest mistake is investing in cloud infrastructure with the main purpose of driving down bottom line costs. This typically results in businesses seeking out the cheapest solution in the market that invariably runs on cheap unreliable hardware and software. We call these sticky-tape solutions and they lead to unnecessary downtime or poor performance, giving businesses the impression that cloud technology isn’t there yet,” says Cruise.

He says that using cloud is a strategic decision and an enabler, not a cost-saving tool. Treating a cloud strategy, the same as legacy onsite solutions are treated is another common mistake according to Cruise: “It’s not the same thing with a different flavour, it requires a shift in mindset and a different approach to planning, implementing and supporting. Unfortunately, this often leads to businesses over investing and wasting money, and as a result, tainting their view of cloud and cloud providers.”

As with most technology, there are always specialists, and cloud is no different. Businesses think that all clouds are equal, and they simply are not. Cruise says it is important to find the right partner for the right solution: “Cloud providers are specialised and if you don’t select the right one, you will end up with a square peg in a round hole.”

He says that it is important that the cloud decision is not made from one vantage point only. There is a vital role for trusted advisors to play as it is not advisable for IT or accounting to make the cloud purchase decisions. If the decision is well thought-out, the cloud strategy has a better rate of success.

Self-education is another way to ensure you don’t go down the wrong cloud path:” Decision makers and influencers should attempt to understand the true benefits of cloud solutions, not just from an availability perspective, but also from a risk mitigation or segregation perspective. Learn more about the landscape of cloud-hosted providers; understand their USP’s and get second and third opinions.”

A staged approach is advised by Cruise. Identify an operational area that could easily be migrated to a cloud, remember it could be DRaaS, IaaS, PaaS or SaaS: “My advice is to consider back-up and DR as these are usually the easiest to start off with in the cloud. You could also talk to an onsite virtualisation software provider to find out about any hybrid cloud offerings.”

He says that the increase in hybrid cloud adoption rates is as a result of businesses starting to understand that cloud is an enabler and that it can easily exist along with legacy onsite solutions.

“Cloud mistakes are expensive, but so is avoiding the cloud. Do your homework, find a trusted partner and match the solutions to your bespoke business needs. Give it time, commit to the solution and the partner. Be aware of legacy and vested interest approaches, as well as vendor lock-in,” says Cruise.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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