Why You Can't Just Switch To The Cloud Overnight

One of the often-hyped advantages of the cloud is the speed with which you can deploy a new service. In theory, you can whack down your credit card details and instantly have something working. But in reality, any full-scale shift to the cloud is going to require a planning process that takes months, if not years.

picture from Shutterstock

That's certainly the case at Australian mortgage software provider Stargate. The organisation is no stranger to basic cloud operations. "We run our own private cloud and have done so for over a decade," operations manager Unal Altay said, though he noted that it wasn't labelled that way when it was introduced. "We just called it hosting."

Right now, Stargate is debating whether to make a change to its cloud and hosting arrangements. "Do we go public? Do we stick with private? What are the cost benefits? We'll be taking the next 12-18 months deciding on how we go," Altay said at a Brocade media event in Sydney yesterday. "We are in discussions with people like AWS and Azure and some private providers."

Some options appear more obvious than others. "We're a Microsoft development house, and we've actually got Azure running locally as well," Altay said. "For us to go fully cloud, it's virtually a cut-and-paste for something like Azure."

"It's all about application performance though. A lot of it is untried and unproven. We're taking our time; we're definitely not rushing into it."

In the meantime, cloud is mainly be used in a familiar test-and-dev scenario. "What AWS and Azure are doing makes it very easy for the customer to spin up some virtual machines and deliver applications. As a software development company, we might spin up a project for a test run. Rather than buying hardware, it's great to go online and just spin up some instances."

"Racks are real estate. If we want to do some work, I have to go out and spend more capital to get hardware, and then there's the ongoing cost associated. Cloud is easier."

Performance will also be a major issue. "We're looking at how to use software-defined networks to enhance the bandwidth of our CRM systems," Altay said. "We want to put training videos into them as well, and that's where bandwidth plays a key role. We also looking at storage acceleration to cut the number of IOs. We need to speed up delivery."

And then there's the familiar concern over data sovereignty. "One of the drawbacks of an AWS or an Azure is that your data's never just in Australia -- it's being replicated overseas," Altay said. "If you change your mind five years down the track, how do you know you have all your data retrieved?"

Skunkworks cloud deployments for individual projects aren't about to stop. But if you're planning a transition to broader cloud usage, it won't be an overnight decision.


Comments

    hough he noted that it wasn’t labelled that way when it was introduced. “We just called it hosting.”

    Right? It's only fanboys that care about "the cloud". It's just infrastructure. Anything else is largely just a sales term.

      I will admit, I've been converted to the 'cloud' concept.

      Yep, it is a massive sales term, but use it in the approach of 'I don't care what I'm paying for, I just want X to work', instead of "I want A, B and C to be built so X is able to work'. To me, the concept of 'cloud services' makes more sense.

      One example of that in the article is, instead of going to Rackspace and getting more space, which is a process, you just spin up a new service or machine from a cloud provider.

      Though anyone who believes Azure/AWS/etc don't have the exact same stuff going on behind the scenes works in sales, yea.

    He's wrong about "never just in Australia". If you use AWS Australia it stays in Australia.

    We did a detailed comparison and Dimension Data's cloud options seems superior. Local Data centres in Sydney and Melbourne (And about 11 international) with fail over options, hosted backups, choice of private or public and the ability to use their PM and tech resources to assist with the move. Also read the Tolly report which does a performance comparison to AWS (and others) and it is far superior to AWS.

Join the discussion!