Cloud Computing – The Road to Migration
Services companies like Codec know first-hand how transformational the cloud can be, enabling smaller firms to do things that were impossible before, and allowing larger companies to try something new.
(Note: This news item is a summary of an article published in the Sunday Business Post on June 3, 2018)
“Take an application like Skype for Business,” said Brian Smyth (pictured), cloud and platform technical lead. “With traditional infrastructure it would have been quite a big project to deploy and you would have needed a team to maintain it going forward. Now, delivered as a service, you literally check a box.”
SaaS means no more patching servers or sorting out disk failures; in-house teams can focus more on the business and developing new projects. Here, too, the process is much simpler, according to Smyth, who believes the days of building out services, on premise or in the cloud, are almost over.
“Sooner rather than later, companies will be consuming more SaaS offerings. The cost models are so good that it doesn’t make sense to build your own anymore,” he said.
Smyth has clients that used to rely on vast server farms for test and development. Now, Codec can spin them something up in the cloud for a fraction of the cost.
Another benefit is the way that the cloud lets companies try different things. Customers are steered towards apps and services from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace where it costs nothing except computer power to experiment.
“You can try out a network scanning appliance, for example, and if you like it and it does what you need, you can buy it. You can fail quickly if doesn’t and move on to something else,” Smyth said.
Is there a danger that it’s too easy to experiment and fail, that multiple projects can distract from core business?
“If you’re careful to run environments in a controlled manner, you should be safe,” said Smyth. “What you don’t want is people running around like crazy putting IP on servers that’s publicly exposed. You have to take a look at your permissions and determine who can do what. You have to keep an eye on good governance.”
Now that it’s so easy to activate a new service, it’s not surprising that things sometimes go wrong. Smyth tells the story of a client who accidentally deployed onto an Azure platform in Amsterdam, instead of Dublin.
“It wasn’t a big problem; it worked fine, but it shows you how easy it is to make a mistake,” he said.
Companies don’t always understand the potential for cloud pitfalls, which is why Codec runs workshops to show them the ropes. One lesson is the importance of having a top-down cloud strategy. Another is to nurture a DevOps team.
“One of the main tenets is that you have a lot of people with different skills who cross-pollinate. We’ve seen huge advantages and turned projects around completely using DeVops,” Smyth said.