One Size Does Not Fit All. Matching Workloads to Cloud Options.

When considering a cloud adoption, we always advise customers to properly plan what workloads best fit a cloud model.

While racing to those benefits may seem tempting, we find that taking a considered approach pays off. Just like in Aesop’s fable, haring onto a path without a plan can end in a loss. Not that we are suggesting moving at a tortoise-like pace either, but reviewing and assessing workloads is definitely part of a winning strategy.

There are some fairly straightforward workload and application considerations, such as performance and compliance, something especially important in industries featuring stringent data-related legislation. The physical location of data centres is something to look into carefully, whether or not there is a legal requirement for your data to be domiciled in Australia. After all, while we always hope contracts will run smoothly, the possibility of engaging in proceedings in other jurisdictions is one that few would relish.

Sometimes, though, the less obvious considerations are the most important. When we talk about assessing workloads, of course we look at the practical issues such as interdependencies that may be affected. We also, though, look at things like user needs and organisational culture, because cloud models work best when they have support beyond the IT department.

When businesses seek an operational expenditure model and avoid big up-front costs, naturally cloud comes to mind. Another indicator may be aging infrastructure, where replacement may incur large costs. Where fast provisioning is needed, or elastic computing for testing or development workloads, workloads are likely to make suitable cloud candidates. Sometimes, this may be as an ‘overflow’ capacity using a hybrid model, where cloud is used through peak periods of demand on infrastructure.

Much depends on the individual business. One of our customers, working in disability and community services, has an entirely cloud-based workload. They dodge the need to wrangle service provision in favour of focusing on their clients. Another customer uses the cloud for a completely different workload, limiting use to Backup as a Service (BaaS). They found the cost of licensing, hardware and ongoing management and offsite of tape media far outweighed the cost of using a BaaS platform, not to mention made an unwelcome distraction from other critical tasks.

Probably the best success factor is to find honest, skilled advice about where workloads should reside. Include business stakeholders beyond the IT department, and use a proof of concept or trial before committing. Define the support and service level agreements you require, and enlist the help of a partner willing to be both flexible and creative in meeting those needs. True to the usual golden rule of IT, there is no silver bullet, so if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

For straight answers to your cloud workload questions, have a chat with one of our friendly cloud experts.