How to Get the Most Out of Your Cloud Deployment

With today’s dynamic economic climate, we are seeing organizations across every industry looking to the cloud to solve real world business problems and realize new opportunities, whether around global expansion, product innovation or customer engagement – though increasingly in a context of efficiency and cost reduction.

In this article we will share our tips and advice on how to maximize the value of the cloud and leverage it to the fullest to help achieve business goals while keeping deployments lean and optimized. If you haven’t already, check out the first two articles in this series: 3 Reasons Your Optimized Cloud Deployment is Still Too Expensive and Should Your Organization Even be in the Cloud?

For most enterprises, the future is multi-cloud

Gartner recently predicted over 75% of mid-size and large organizations will have adopted a multi-cloud or a hybrid IT strategy – a position they’ve been very consistent about since they coined the term “Bi-Modal IT” almost a decade ago. Gartner knew then in theory what organizations have been discovering in practice, which is that cloud computing is just a tool, and there is no single tool that is right for every situation.  

The reason their advice applies to “mid-sized and large organizations” is because without question, cloud is great at smaller scales. In the cloud, you can buy tiny slices of expensive equipment and services. By the time you’re buying huge slices, you could be better off capitalizing it so you’re not paying per use. Cloud is a hotel – while ideal for your vacation, living in one is an expensive proposition.   

Multi-cloud (or hybrid-IT) when done properly is more of an approach than a disposition. It’s having a clear understanding of your resources and goals, and making objective decisions about where workloads should live, based on the current and future requirements and your organizations’ abilities.   

We’ve seen dozens of company leaders who drank the cloud cool-aid and lifted and shifted massive workloads because they were going to “get agile,” only to realize that agility is also a tool – meaningless without a use case or goal to apply it to.  Business change comes from vision, and vision comes from inspiration or insight, often through data analysis.  The cloud doesn’t bring its benefits to your organization. It allows your organization to achieve certain goals which require the benefits it provides. You must meet it halfway. Getting there is only part of the journey. 

Make infrastructure optimization a KPI

Infrastructure management should be a center of excellence for your organization, and cost optimization is part of the mission. Efficiency should be a first-class metric, right alongside availability and performance.  

20 years ago, VMware reinvented enterprise efficiency by allowing organizations to fully utilize the hardware they were buying. Resource sharing and dynamic host reallocation technologies reduced the penalty for overallocation, which meant administrators could spend less time and energy trying to optimize their deployments. The infrastructure by and large would just figure it all out and they only needed to manage cluster capacity in aggregate rather than individually at the VM level. Public cloud doesn’t work this way. You pay for what you allocate, so when you lift and shift an over-allocated VM to that environment, you’re lighting money on fire. Do this at scale and your dreams of reducing spend by moving to cloud become a nightmare.   

In the cloud, combat this by monitoring cloud spend and resource utilization. Make available CPU, RAM and storage per instance as important a metric as what’s being consumed, for this is waste.  Don’t scale anything vertically that can be scaled horizontally. Use incentives to drive behavior- some companies even provide spiffs to engineering teams to find code optimizations which result in cost savings. Foster a culture of efficiency within engineering and operations teams.  

In our ongoing work with several leading organizations, we’ve found that companies that benchmark and track progress at each stage of the cloud maturity model have shown the best results and value from their investment.  

Embrace continuous adaptation and improvement

Effective cloud transitions and ongoing management is no easy task. It requires rigor and a continuous commitment to driving value creation and cost savings for the organization – and your team’s mindset and approach is essential to achieve this. 

Culture is key – establish strong feedback mechanisms between IT, engineering and operations teams so they can work together towards commons objectives. Understanding the challenges and successes at the ground level aids in making informed decisions.  

Also, encourage the team to embrace, analyze and act on feedback, as this is essential to evolving and adapting in a constantly changing business landscape. Finally, promote a personal growth mindset by encouraging individuals to view challenges not as failures, but as opportunities to learn and improve. In the end, it’s a journey and evolution – mistakes will be made, but, with the right approach and team culture, a state of continuous improvement is well within reach. 

Embark on your journey today!

Want to learn more about how you and your team can get the maximum from your cloud investments? Our team at Cuesta can share our rich experiences and tailor a program to suit the unique needs of your business and operating environment. Thanks for reading! 

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