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The AWS Outage Puts a Spotlight on the Cloud Architect

Key Takeaways from February 28 to Keep You on the “Upside” of Cloud

The AWS cloud outage last week sparked a firestorm of debate on cloud. It continues to highlight that all clouds are not created equal and that the people and planning behind the decisions on what cloud model organizations should deploy are as important today as ever. Undoubtedly, this week the owners of the more than 140,000 sites affected are looking back at their move to the cloud and wondering how to anticipate and protect against downtime and disruption in the future. The answer is simple. When it comes to cloud strategy, there is no substitute for careful architecture, planning and management.

There are public cloud vendors on the market who offer great strength and value if and when the workload aligns with their platform. They serve an important role in our market. Equally as important is the independent cloud architect. They think first about matching the right workload with the right environment – without exception – because there is no “one size fits all” approach to cloud. Regardless of the strength public cloud providers like AWS, Google and Azure offer to the market, if it’s misaligned with a customer’s applications, storage and legacy systems – there will always be the potential for failure, rising costs and unanticipated frustration.

The Difference is in the Details
The industry is still scratching the surface on moving substantive workloads to the public cloud. Despite how far we’ve come, there is still no easy answer. It takes a lot of careful evaluation to decide which applications can go to the public cloud now, which ones can go later and which ones may not be a good fit. When working directly with cloud vendors, the customer is expected to decide how much of each service is needed and the customer has to determine what performance applications are required. There is a perception that the major public cloud providers will help answer all these questions, but just because a customer has access to those platforms doesn’t mean they have explicit access to the people that can help them determine these critical steps.

Cloud architects play the “matchmaker” role everyday helping organizations choose the appropriate progression and anticipate future needs to minimize headaches. For example, many organizations go into public clouds initially focused on a cost savings only to realize there are proprietary hooks intrinsic to their choice that add complexity and dramatically increase their spend over time.  Customers need an expert to guide them through this process to ensure the right fit.

Get the Facts on Private & Hybrid Cloud Options
The financial implications of moving to the cloud always weighs heavily on the selection of cloud providers. Cloud architects advise customers on whether a cloud model makes financial sense and that means thinking beyond the initial costs to the long-term advantages. Private cloud can give customers access to the storage tiering, performance and redundancy they need at a price that’s competitive with public cloud. Private cloud storage may even be less expensive over the course of three to five years, depending on needs and business requirements. Simply put, certain workloads create barriers to public cloud and with all things considered are better off in a private setting from a financial and performance standpoint.

Preparedness Creates Certainty in the Cloud, Not Brands
Placing workloads in the cloud doesn’t mean your data is automatically protected. Having an appropriate strategy for all the fundamentals like disaster recovery, continuity of operations and production management are crucial to making the cloud work for you. If issues related to the AWS S3 cloud service can negatively impact the financial performance of 54 out of the top 100 retailers, it calls all businesses and agencies to take a second look at their redundancy plans. The outages are a reminder that we are still talking about technology and it’s not infallible. Technology is only as strong as the people and processes that manage and govern it.

The cloud can help run an enterprise but at the end of the day, it’s still just another IT platform. Organizations have to evaluate it the way they do anything else. Cloud architects are accustomed to this push and pull weighing out the performance, reliability and cost requirements customers battle with and the cloud options that promise to deliver. At the end of every day – even more so on February 28, 2017 – it’s all about putting the right workload in the right place with the people who can help you do it.

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