Cloudy with a Chance of…More Cloud?

23 Mar

Don’t you hate when words take on double meaning?  As if the English language isn’t hard enough, you have to decipher the definition based on the context the word is used in.  Perfect example, anytime I see the word “network” – are you referring to a computer network or the drinks after work, network?  Another example, “cloud” – are we talking about the weather or the technology solution NO ONE understands?  If you’re lucky, you’re talking about the weather.  If you’re in the Information Technology sector, you’re usually talking about the latter.  Guess what we’re talking about today;  kind of ironic considering I have yet to see the sun.

I continue to hear more and more about Cloud and yet it continues to be the big ol’ elephant in the room no one wants to talk about – even for solution and service providers.   Trust me, I could think of a million other things I’d feel more comfortable discussing.  The thing is, it’s not because businesses aren’t interested in it or we as VARs don’t have the tools to be successful.  The problem is that there’s never been a clear, concise, known definition, and people fear the unknown.  Despite that, I think we can all agree the move to the Cloud is inevitable and one we can’t ignore.

I started researching in hopes of finding some commonalities – across the boards – relative to Cloud.  Alarmingly enough, I’ve managed to stumble upon some consistency, and it all has to do with….drum roll please…prep work, go figure.  I know it’s not sexy by any means simply because it doesn’t produce immediate results.  BUT we all know what happens when we don’t lay the ground work.  The good news, there’s a chance you’ve already got a head start you’re not even aware of.  Whether you’re well on your way or just having the discussion, here are a few tech tip(s) to keep in mind:

  • STANDARDIZE.   You should conform to open industry standards and consolidate.  Not only does this result in a reduction of capital expenses, it frees up staff time.
  • VIRTUALIZE.  You must make virtualization a priority as this is a fundamental step in moving to the Cloud.  A majority of you, I’d be willing to bet, have or are in the process of virtualizing.  This is one of the easiest ways that enables you to consolidate.
  • AUTOMATE.   You should consider automating your IT processes.  This provides real-time provisioning of your physical and virtualized servers.  This helps reduce operating expenses as well.
  • START SMALL.  Choose one of the above building blocks that makes the most sense to your business currently, and run with that as your starting point.
  • BE FLEXIBLE. Choose a Vendor and strategy that allows for growth, change and future enhancements.  Like all things IT, Cloud is ever-changing.
At first glance this looks like a cake walk, and I truthfully wish for everyone’s sake that was the case, but it’s not.  Migrating to the Cloud isn’t something that happens over night, and I get that this isn’t a new concept.   What I’m getting at is that while we understand the process might be ‘cloudy’ (no pun intended) and we understand things may change along the way, you have to look at the overall picture not just the end result which is the last tip I’ll leave you with.  Remember that while Cloud adoption happens in phases, each of these phases provides cost-associated benefits, efficiency gains, productivity increases and so on that at the end of the day make business sense regardless of any Cloud migration deadline.
Chat later,
Referenced articles: Roadmap To the Cloud

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