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Cloud commandments … or Cloud-mmandments !

Thinking of global warming, and how warming (entropy) increases any area it touches (“inflates or creates a bubble”), I have come to think of how there is a correlation between warming, clouds, bubble bursting and rain, so here is a set of commandments (“ACID rain test“) to consider when you are planning your journey to the IT cloud:

First Cloud-mmandment: Cloud is here to stay

Don’t underestimate the cloud hype, just like during the industrial revolution – anything that is non-differentiating for your IT will be eaten by cloud providers, starting with the bottom layers non-strategic layers (either the infrastructure or the processes, like development and testing) and any green field projects that can be engineered as cloud-based projects.

Second Cloud-mmandment: Thou shall think iteratively

There is no specific “promised cloud land”, and be wise – nobody will be able to give you an IT promised land first iteration of engagement. Just consider the amount of solutions you have, and how can those solutions be migrated without affecting the income of your enterprise – once you realise this cost, you will see that migrations are like walking on egg-shells that have to be appropriately planned and carefully executed.

Third Cloud-mmandment: Remember to think low risk first, higher risk later

A different approach on the 2nd Cloud-mmandment: make sure that your first moves to the cloud are of low-risk services and solutions; see how it works, and iterate into the next service or layer of your journey.

Fourth Cloud-mmandment: think strategically, deliver tactically

When you embark on your cloud journey, think about long term objectives, short term gains; focus on horizontal or vertical layers that can be carved out with minimal or no disruption; note the results – consider elements such as project delivery, end-user satisfaction, improvement on SLA.

Fifth Cloud-mmandment: Think time-boxed projects

Whenever you are embarking on a migration project, make sure that you know when the end is nigh – “endless projects” go against most of the cloud-mmandments above !

Sixth Cloud-mmandment: Think about what is more important TCO vs CapEx2OpEx

Measurement of cloud projects goes in multiple directions, but the Total Economic Impact™ of a project is actually more important than TCO or moving entries across accounting books.

Seventh Cloud-mmandment: Thou shall know all clouds

Not only know who your vendors of cloud services are, know what are the differences in the broad family of clouds, don’t let the jargon bite your overarching IT strategy – differentiating between each “aaS” type is as important as determining what to migrate to the cloud.

Eighth Cloud-mmandment: thou shall not create dependencies with your clouds

This is a very basic IT principle – highly cohesive, loosely coupled approaches will be those that make your iterations through the cloud more and more successful ! Once you create features that are dependent on your cloud provider (note: it is YOU creating the dependency), migration (to/from/by) will be as complex (if not more) than it is with your applications today.

Ninth Cloud-mmandment: Thou shall honour your legacy applications

If it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it – trying to migrate a fully operational and satisfactory service or application to the cloud will most definitely bite you with a vengeance! Unless there are specific reasons (end of life, lack of resources to support or develop), anything IT component that is working fine doesn’t need to be migrated to the cloud – your users and your CFO will thank you for this.

Tenth Cloud-mmandment: Thou shall know what to put in a cloud, and what not to

 Just because cloud is in vogue, don’t think that EVERYTHING needs to be moved to the cloud; the easiest question to assess for this is “is this  IT component or layer, strategic and provides any differentiation to my enterprise?

Eleventh Cloud-mmandment: Thy destination itself is the journey to the cloud

 By now you must have realised – that moving to the cloud is not something that takes days, weeks and not even months: the cloud is an emergent set of technologies, complemented by an emergent set of strategies and tools to gain the full advantage of it; each organisation will have different reasons to migrate to the cloud, but they will also have unique challenges and constraints to complement these reasons. Just don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that cloud is a silver bullet.

Security – Cloud-mmandment Zero

Why is there no security commandment mentioned? Well as someone once told me “security is an implicit aspect of any IT” – security is paramount to any decision you make about IT – be it the use of an application to be distributed to all your devices, or be the use of a partner to provide cloud, build your cloud or outsource to someone to build that cloud; remember that your brand is your reputation; and in most cases even the brand itself has a financial value !

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We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. ~ Lao Tzu