Advantage Blog

Your organization has moved workloads to the cloud and is getting some valuable benefits and experience. But to recognize the greatest value, there are some other decisions that must be made and some additional assets put in place.

At the top of the list is bandwidth. Many perceived cloud problems are actually network issues, with bandwidth limitations causing latency for data in transit or even packet loss that could be problematic for some applications. Without a robust network, the cloud is merely an interesting idea, not a key resource for business growth and agility.

Robust doesn’t just mean high bandwidth. You must create the conditions for reliability, redundancy, and resiliency in both your network and compute environments. These can be achieved cost-effectively when viewed as risk mitigation. That perspective informs sound decisions that otherwise might just be viewed as additional expense.

For every application you move to the cloud, you should define both a recovery point objective (a measure of how much work you’re willing to put at risk and potentially lose or re-process) and a recovery time objective (how long you can tolerate an outage). These are set by business needs, not technical constraints. These parameters are the key inputs to the level of resources needed to sustain a continuity of business.

If your transaction demand profile has major swings by time/day/month/quarter/season/etc., the elasticity of the cloud can be a major benefit to matching costs with volumes. There is never a need to over-provision computing resources in the cloud as long as the provision/turn-up cycle is rapid, matching to your business need. Some cloud service providers have tools that can be embedded within your application code to automatically adjust compute resources to meet transaction flow, ensuring that you have and pay for only what you need. Elasticity can also be leveraged for software development efforts, where software engineers and testers can have their resources available for the time they work and shut down when they don’t.

Governance is a topic most IT professionals would rather avoid, when perceived as being all about obligations without privileges. There are instances where key principles have morphed into a multitude of rules in many organizations. But there needs to be some governance in place regarding the cloud environment or the sprawl to which both technical and non-technical people are prone will inflate your cloud bill to levels that are unpleasant to receive. Those seductive prices that you focused on could be applied to a never-ending increase of compute, storage, and networking resources unless guidelines are established, easily followed, and enforced.

The last topic is taken for granted but is too important to be cavalier: security. The infrastructure from cloud server providers is extremely secure, but you must follow some important practices. Many breaches target known security issues of products that have already been fixed, but the latest patches and releases have not been applied. Software engineering best practices can lower the risk profile of code you develop. Finally, play close attention to client (edge, or end-user) devices. The majority of data breaches find entry to corporate data from an inattentive click to a spurious email.

As always, Advantage is here to help ensure that you are realizing the top line, and bottom line, advantages of Cloud Computing.  

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