Moving to a cloud provider means you don't have to worry about maintaining hardware or managing software. However, no cloud service has perfect uptime, so you still need to make sure that you plan what you'll do if there's an unexpected outage at one of your providers.
Cloud picture from Shutterstock
Jerome Barrientos, CIO for KinCare Home Care Services, reinforced this point during a media session on cloud issues at Cisco Live! 2013. Kincare began shifting most of its IT to cloud-based providers in 2010 when it shifted staff to Google's apps platform, a move necessitated by an acquisition which doubled the company's size. "Within six weeks we were able to set up new infrastructure to host this new business," Barrientos said. "The cloud for us is definitely a catalyst that allows us to grow."
KinCare will finish that process later this year when it shuts down its internally developed ERP system and moves to Salesforce.com. Asked what the biggest challenge was in that shift, Barrientos highlighted the need to plan for events with providers:
When we go eventually to Salesforce, how do we manage when Salesforce has an outage? They do have outages and sometimes it's on our Monday. So we need to look at systems for that, so we still have a system where we can see clients. You can't just say 'I'm dealing with a cloud provider and they are always up', because that's not the case.
The options you choose will depend on the platform and the type of tasks you perform, but an outage management plan definitely needs to part of any cloud migration. As Barrientos put it: "You can't give all the management to the cloud vendor. You still need to manage."
Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.