How to Choose the Right Cloud Mix in 6 Steps

Cloud services are bringing productivity and profit to many companies, but others are getting left behind. Many of the businesses that have not yet adopted the cloud have not done so because a lack of knowledge about how to get there.

That’s not surprising. Cloud adoption goes beyond just choosing private, public or hybrid cloud options. It requires a detailed process of due diligence, and specific research that will support the right implementations for a particular business.

Here are some of the specific steps that companies should take to be confident about the cloud services they choose, when they are ready to make that trip off-premises.

1.  Get a Full, Comprehensive Cloud Assessment

Good cloud consultants provide clients with vendor-neutral cloud strategy workshops that take a categorical look at cloud needs.

These go beyond technology or capability assessments like workload management — and extend into business and financial needs, development capability, and the need for internal education on cloud options.

A comprehensive cloud strategy workshop is like a “cloud physical” for the company — it provides that initial basis to move forward into a more detailed look at what cloud options will make the most sense.

2. Break Down the Financials

Obviously, one of the major issues for cloud services, and a big obstacle to buy-in, is cost. It’s imperative not to break the company budget — but beyond that, it’s also important not to waste money on implementations that are out of scale for what the company needs.

One way to achieve this is to look at the unit cost of cloud — to consider apples to apples costs for the on-premises and off-premises hosting of specific applications.

Instead of just getting a single cloud bill, companies will have to assess whether, for example, it makes more sense to keep an employee-centered ERP tool in-house, while sending certain marketing functions or supply-chain handling packages to the cloud. In short, looking at different options shows exactly how the cloud will save money for the business

3.  Assess Multi-Cloud Deployment Choices

Realistically, the best implementation for a company may involve more than one cloud service.

You can call this Cloud 2.0 — the idea in that instead of simply backing up the company’s data center in a single cloud-hosted repository, companies are going to be selecting different vendors for different components of their architecture, according to what each vendor excels at.

Cloud consultants can help companies look at true availability across an array of channels, which can present a clearer picture of how this multi-platform architecture will work as a collaborative whole. This is another of the concrete steps that companies miss at their peril

4.  Select Individual Tools

Keeping in mind the above point about multi-platform deployment, companies will need to research individual tools and cloud services that do particular things for the business.

Part of best practices is to identify tools that can be more effective in one area of a system. For example, some standalone Identity and Access Management tools can get a company more effective security with a lower cost than if they just selected generic components in a broader platform.

This research process also gives the company more insight into eventual cloud deployment and what it will look like

5.  Try a Hybrid Cloud Accelerator

Using a professional cloud consultant service, client companies can make their way toward deployment more quickly.

Part of this involves knowing exactly how implementation will go — how to manage migration, or in some cases, how to eliminate a learning curve by keeping on-premises and off-premises tool sets the same. Consultants can identify those shortcuts that will propel a company toward hybrid cloud solutions on a faster timeline, so that the company can reap the benefits of web-delivered data services sooner.

6.  Identify Potential Bottlenecks and Failure Points

When a company has a lot of the broader details of its cloud implementation in hand, another good best practice is to evaluate how all of these parts will work together, in order to break down silos, solve bottlenecks, and increase the effectiveness of cloud services.

It’s not unusual to see a company go live with cloud strategy, only to experienced unnecessary slowdowns and obstacles. This is especially frustrating when most of the system is set up to run fast, but one component is slowing everything down.

When consulting companies move in to assist with cloud adoption, they take a detailed look at whether there is a mismatch between certain core parts of the architecture. By optimizing each segment or sector of the platform, from storage or network to compute, virtualization and management elements, the end result is a more effective new cloud service setup for a client.

Using these procedural steps toward cloud deployment, companies can guard themselves against some of the big pitfalls and nightmare scenarios associated with bad implementation. The right cloud services will make a business operation hum — poorly targeted implementations can disrupt day-to-day operations and threaten to sink a business in confusion and labor-intensive technology wrangling. Use the above guide to get more of the good out of cloud adoption, without some of the biggest drawbacks