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Overcoming the Obstacles

to Cloud Adoption
A successful cloud migration project requires a strategy that methodically
addresses costs, security and application performance.

Editors Note Confronting Understanding The Cautious


Resistance to Cloud Costs Approach to Cloud
Cloud Adoption
editors
note

First Things First

Its not difficult to recognize the allure will ultimately be a successful cloud project, he
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of cloud computing. The economies of scale says, is not as difficult as some might think.
Editors Note and flexibility inherent in the cloud model are TechTargets Stephen Bigelow, meanwhile,
proven and plain to see. Where things get com- looks at whether tools can help a business
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption plicated is in examining an entirely on-prem- manage its cloud costs. Running certain work-
ises environment and figuring out which pieces loads in the cloud will shift some of your costs
Understanding
Cloud Costs of that can be deployed effectively to the cloud. into the Opex category, but theres a variability
The transitions involved in migrating work- to cloud costs that will need to be reckoned
The Cautious
Approach to Cloud loads to the cloud can be complex, especially with.
in organizations with carefully built-up infra- Lastly, IT expert Brien Posey offers some
structures already in place. There are techni- guidance on how to develop an effective migra-
cal challenges, of course, but there are also tion strategy. He suggests a prudent approach
obstacles in convincing decision-makers and that accounts for important considerations
IT teams to see the efficiency benefits of the such as hardware lifecycle and application
cloud. performance. n
This handbook serves as a guide to confront-
ing that resistance. First, cloud expert Tom Phil Sweeney
Nolle outlines how to make the case for cloud Senior Managing Editor
adoption, suggesting specific steps to take and TechTarget,
in what sequence. Winning approval for what Data Center and Virtualization Group

2 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


The
Resistance

Confronting Resistance to Cloud Adoption

Despite cloud computings growth, its the required cloud computing resources will be
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clear that many companies dont know how to lower than the cost of acquiring physical serv-
Editors Note drive a cloud project forwardtheyre either ers, storage and so on.
picking the wrong benefits or meeting too Not only that, cloud computing can be
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption much opposition internally. Get both of these expensed, meaning that the full annual cost is
things right and cloud resistance can evaporate. written off against business revenue. Purchased
Understanding
Cloud Costs A successful cloud project has three computers must normally be depreciated, so
demands: prove the benefits, prove the pro- that while a company pays the purchase price it
The Cautious
Approach to Cloud vider choice and defend against objections. All can only deduct a fraction of that cost per year.
of these relate to identification and delivery of For small and midsized businesses, this differ-
benefits, so start there. ence creates a critical benefit.
Cloud computing can create three distinct The second benefit the cloud can deliver is
benefits, and most projects can draw a bit from reduced support and licensing costs. A server
them all to build support and momentum. thats been bought must be supported with a
maintenance contract. In addition, it needs to
be powered and cooled, and skilled resources
Cash, Costs and Agility may be needed to monitor the system. In the
An important benefit is the clouds ability to cloud, the hardware for infrastructure as a ser-
reduce capital costs and improve cash flow. vice (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and
Because most projects underutilize previously software as a service (SaaS) and some or all of
purchased hardware, the cost of buying only the software (in PaaS and SaaS) are provided as

3 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


The
Resistance

a service, which means the support comes from whose budget the costs will come from. For
the cloud provider. In many cases, the use of this group, the document youll need to gener-
cloud services (particularly SaaS) will result in ate is a total cost of ownership (TCO) chart.
a significant reduction in your costs. This will show the cost of acquiring, sustaining
The third major cloud benefit is business
agility, which has two parts. The first is the Many cloud planners make
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time it takes to deliver an IT application to the mistake of running first
Editors Note support a new business problem or oppor-
to the people who sign off on
tunity, and the second is the ability to match
Confronting Resistance
computing resources to variable business loads.
project financials. Begin with
to Cloud Adoption

Elasticity makes the cloud superior with the departments affected by


Understanding
Cloud Costs regard to both of the aforementioned business the application.
agility components. There is no protracted
The Cautious
Approach to Cloud purchase and installation period, no need to and supporting both the cloud alternative and
buy computer resources large enough to match the purchased IT alternative for a fixed period,
your estimated maximum needs, and no need usually either three or five years depending on
to make secondary purchases when you find how long on-premises computers are kept in
youve guessed wrong. Cloud capacity can be your company.
ordered with no delay and can be expanded or The TCO chart should show savings to be
contracted with usage to avoid overspending. obtained from using the cloud. This means that
Many cloud planners make the mistake of your opening position with the line depart-
running first to the people who sign off on ments is that the cloud will cost them less. The
project financials. The best way to start a cloud TCO will rely primarily on the capital cost sav-
approval process is to begin with the IT depart- ings and the support/operating savings; avoid
ment and the line departments affected by the the temptation to introduce agility benefits
application being run. That means finding out here because they are more difficult to quantify.

4 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


The
Resistance

Still, dont ignore agility entirely. Experience Objection management is the last issue,
shows that the best way to introduce this char- and one you shouldnt undertake until youve
acteristic is to ask your line departments what addressed the benefits. The most common
they would do to respond to a sudden expan- objection to the cloud is, of course, Will it
sion or reduction in business, and how long it really save me money? If youve done your
would take to make the necessary changes. By TCO and cash-flow analysis properly, you
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explaining how the cloud adapts to business should be able to answer that skepticism.
Editors Note changes, you can validate a powerful benefit Other concerns will center on:
despite the fact that its difficult to quantify.
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption That cloud costs will rise over time but
computer costs wont
Understanding
Cloud Costs Manage Objections That the cloud isnt secure

When you have garnered an acceptance of That auditing/compliance requirements cant


The Cautious
Approach to Cloud the cloud migration option from IT and line be met in a cloud environment
departments, its time to take on financial
approval. This will also start with the TCO, but All of these can be answered.
CFOs and similar managers will want a finan- Cloud service providers have steadily reduced
cial comparison of five-year cash flow with the their prices, without ever increasing them.
cloud versus purchased IT resources. In contrast, every TCO element in private
The cloud will almost always improve cash computingwith the exception of computer
flow by matching deductions with spending. pricesgets more expensive over time. The
Buying computers wont do that. cloud is a good bet for stabilizing costs.

The most common objection to the cloud is, of course, Will it really save
me money? A TCO and cash-flow analysis should be able to answer that.

5 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


The
Resistance

On the security and compliance side, cloud the practices to the cloud provider and cloud
computing doesnt really raise risks that com- service type youve selected. Your cloud pro-
pany Internet use hasnt already raised. Secu- vider will be able to help with case studies
rity and compliance practices and tools used and tools to create the needed level of cloud
within a company can also be applied to cloud security.
resources. Its just a matter of learning how the Most resistance to the cloud comes from a
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cloud provider best supports encryption, phys- failure to communicate benefits and address
Editors Note ical data security and so on. risks. Do both, in the right order, and you
You know the risks from the Internet. You should be able to sail through the review pro-
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption know the practices from your own current cess and be on your way to a successful cloud
data center operations. You only need to fit project. Tom Nolle
Understanding
Cloud Costs

The Cautious
Approach to Cloud

6 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


Cloud Costs

Understanding Cloud Costs

A principal argument for cloud ser- There are many other cloud management
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vices is the shift from capital to operational tools for budget planning, such as Cirbas pri-
Editors Note expenses. While its an attractive notion vate cloud management software and Egeneras
to most business leaders, its important to PAN Cloud Director.
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption remember that cloud costs are recurringnot
fixed. The monthly cost of cloud services
Understanding
The monthly cost of cloud services varies
Cloud Costs
varies dramatically depending
dramatically depending on changes in usage.
The Cautious on usage. To those expecting
Approach to Cloud For organizations expecting steady cloud
expenses, this realization can come as an
steady expenses, this can come
unwelcome shock. as an unwelcome shock.
Luckily, businesses can turn to a growing
suite of software tools to track private, public Budgeting errors can cause big problems for
and hybrid cloud usage. These tools help users a business, and some cloud providers recog-
visualize, forecast and improve cloud budget nize that. Vendors, including VMware, spon-
planning. For example, RightScales Cloud Ana- sor a Cloud Credits Purchasing Program,
lytics offering displays each cloud account in a which allows users to buy services upfront and
dashboard, monitors usage and breaks it down redeem those services with certain cloud pro-
by application, group and so on. Additionally, it viders over time. This minimizes unexpected
projects future usage and cost trends based on budget fluctuations and maximizes the full
seasonal patterns. budget.

7 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


Cloud Costs

Finally, its important to use cloud budget feedback to finance and business leaders. This
data. Shifting workloads from an on-premises refines cloud budgeting processes and justifies
environment to the cloud changes Capex to cloud usage.
Opex, but dont assume it automatically saves Cloud services are effective alternatives to
you money. Determining actualif anysav- traditional on-premises deployments. But
ings takes careful budget analysis. cloud doesnt automatically make those ser-
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Budget tools can be extremely useful for vices better for a business. Any move to the
Editors Note ROI assessments. The data culled from these cloud must meet a clear business need, be
tools, such as actual versus projected costs technically feasible and offer measurable cost
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption or long-term budget trends, provides vital benefits. Stephen J. Bigelow
Understanding
Cloud Costs

The Cautious
Approach to Cloud

8 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


Cautious
Approach

The Cautious Approach to Cloud

Even in the server virtualization era, that practice would be to integrate a cloud ser-
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deploying on-premises servers comes at a cost. vices roadmap into that hardware lifecycle pol-
Editors Note Along with the licensing expenses, there are icy. Doing so would allow IT teams to migrate
costs associated with hardware resource con- on-premises resources to the cloud instead of
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption sumption and support infrastructure. As such, moving them to newer hardware.
there is almost always a significant investment Cloud services can be particularly attrac-
Understanding
Cloud Costs associated with an on-premises server. tive for smaller organizations and startups.
Outsourcing a servers data and/or function- Not only does the cloud let a business get
The Cautious
Approach to Cloud ality to the cloud may mean abandoning your started quickly and without a sizable invest-
on-premises investment unless an on-prem- ment, it provides access to enterprise-class
ises server can be repurposed. Although this hardware and fault-tolerant features that might
rip-and-replace approach to cloud migration otherwise be unaffordable for a new or small
may not make financial sense for organizations company.
that have a large investment in an on-premises
data center, an organization can still benefit
from migrating certain resources to the cloud. Application Requirements
Server hardware eventually becomes obso- for Cloud Migration
lete. Organizations have traditionally coped In the case of application servers, administra-
with this reality by adopting a hardware life- tors must consider whether the specific appli-
cycle policy. They might, for example, choose cation can function in the cloud. Likewise, the
to retire servers after five years. A new twist on applications performance must be considered.

9 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


Cautious
Approach

Compatibility usually isnt a big problem for not be an option. Lab testing is the only way to
newer applications that run on top of modern know how an application will behave in a cloud
operating systems. It is also easy to assume environment.
that performance wont be an issue for such Another consideration for moving applica-
applications because most cloud providers will tion servers to the cloud is hardware scalability.
allow hardware resources to be allocated to Some IT analysts have suggested that cloud
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hosted servers on an as-needed basis.
Editors Note Still, youll need to consider performance. While it can be easy to migrate
Even though you can provision the hosted
Confronting Resistance a virtualized application server
to Cloud Adoption application server with nearly unlimited com-
pute and memory resources, Internet band-
to the cloud, the application might
Understanding
Cloud Costs width may impede application performance. have external dependencies that
It does little good to have a high-performance rule out a migration.
The Cautious
Approach to Cloud hosted application server if bandwidth
limitations stand in the way of a good user services are ideal for hosting hardware-inten-
experience. sive workloads because service providers gen-
The second consideration is application por- erally offer nearly unlimited scalability. That
tability. Although it is often easy to migrate a scalability, of course, comes at a price.
virtualized application server to the cloud, the Providers of infrastructure as a service,
application might have external dependencies including Microsoft and Amazon Web Ser-
that rule out (or greatly complicate) a migra- vices, charge customers a fee based on resource
tion. For example, an application might have an consumption. As such, a cloud-based, high-
Active Directory dependency or require access performance computing environment can
to an on-premises SQL server database. become cost-prohibitive. Recently a cli-
For older applications running on legacy ent told me, for example, that it costs more
operating systems, a move to the cloud may than $10,000 per month to operate a single

10 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


Cautious
Approach

high-performance application in the cloud. The a cloud network must function as an extension
majority of the cost is related to CPU and disk of the on-premises Active Directory forest.
I/O consumption. This means that the organization will typically
need to deploy cloud-based domain control-
lers, DNS servers and possibly DHCP servers.
Virtualization and Network Concerns More importantly, the organization will need to
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Regardless of organizational size, a key con- figure out how to establish a secure communi-
Editors Note sideration is whether the workloads targeted cations path between the cloud-based virtual
for cloud migration have been virtualized. In network and the on-premises network.
Confronting Resistance
to Cloud Adoption some cases, migrating workloads to the cloud is This requirement usually isnt a deal-breaker
easier if on-premises servers have already been for organizations with an existing on-premises
Understanding
Cloud Costs virtualized. In fact, some providers will allow network, but it does mean that a significant
an organization to port VMs directly to the amount of planning may be required before
The Cautious
Approach to Cloud cloud. beginning a migration.
If on-premises servers have not been virtual- As an organization contemplates the risks
ized, a migration to the cloud is typically still and benefits of a move to the cloud, it is impor-
possible. That process, as youd expect, will tant to keep in mind that cloud migrations are
likely be more complicated. not an all-or-nothing proposition. In most
Another factor to consider is the on-prem- cases, it will make sense to move certain ser-
ises network. When an organization plans to vices to the cloud while continuing to operate
keep resources on-premises (even temporarily), others on-premises. Brien Posey

11 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption


about
the
authors
Stephen J. Bigelow is the senior technology editor in
TechTargets Data Center and Virtualization Media
Group. He can be reached at sbigelow@techtarget.com.

Tom Nolle is president of CIMI Corp., a strategic


consulting firm specializing in telecommunications Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption is a
Home and data communications since 1982. SearchCloudComputing.com e-publication.

Editors Note Margie Semilof | Editorial Director


Brien Posey is a 10-time Microsoft MVP with two
Phil Sweeney | Senior Managing Editor
Confronting Resistance
decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance
to Cloud Adoption
technical writer, Posey worked as a CIO for a national Patrick Hammond | Associate Features Editor
Understanding chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has
Cloud Costs
Linda Koury | Director of Online Design
also served as a network administrator for some of
The Cautious the nations largest insurance companies and for the Neva Maniscalco | Graphic Designer
Approach to Cloud Department of Defense at Fort Knox. Rebecca Kitchens | Publisher
rkitchens@techtarget.com

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12 Overcoming the Obstacles to Cloud Adoption