By Russ O'Risky, Senior Solutions Engineer
Let these discussion points help you prepare your move to a public cloud infrastructure.
Seasoned cloud sales experts know that what they draw out of you in that critical first discussion can set the stage for your success in moving to the cloud. Your answers and the strategies they identify, will help guide how you both approach and invest in your public cloud infrastructure. Your cloud partner should be asking these types of probing questions to guide your move to the cloud.
Question No. 1: What are you doing for disaster recovery (DR) now?
IT teams often see moving DR to the cloud as a safe first step in adopting real estate in public cloud infrastructure. Your response to this DR question can drive what we solve for and how we solve it. Comprehensive DR in the cloud can be an integral bridge to everything else you want to do.
Client Example: In one instance, we discovered that a company had no DR. They wanted to move production to the cloud, which meant significant downtime. We laid out a phased approach that incorporated Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) as their first step to the cloud for their entire infrastructure. Using DRaaS allowed them to:
- validate cloud support for critical apps
- establish their comfort with available cloud capabilities
- create new processes
- plan their production environment move
DRaaS provided them with a bridge environment for transitioning production applications to the cloud. The DRaaS replication capabilities, tailored Recovery Point Objective (RPO) function, and app-level operational capabilities enabled the customer to move production apps to the cloud at their pace with high confidence.
Using DRaaS as a bridge is especially helpful when moving physical hosting infrastructures, which this customer had and needed to move to colocation. Rather than suffer downtime during the move, the customer was able to simply point the workloads of the physical environment at the DRaaS. By laying out this strategy, we were able to solidify their confidence in moving to the cloud.
Question No. 2: Are you using virtualization? If so, what hypervisor are you using?
These questions help customers moving virtualized environments to the cloud select from appropriate solutions. Our approach will vary based on whether you use VMware, Hyper-V, or another hypervisor technology.
Question No. 3: Are you managing your environment?
Customers managing their environment will benefit from guidance. Do you want DRaaS to be self-service or managed? If a third party is managing your environment, do you want them to manage the DRaaS? Your answers will drive our approach. If you are managing your environment but don’t want to continue to manage it, we have professional services and managed services available.
Question No. 4: Do you have allegiance to a particular vendor?
Must new storage, for example, be from a certain vendor? Knowing the vendors is an important part of planning your public cloud infrastructure.
Question No. 5: What are your IT staff’s capabilities?
What are you managing today? Are you familiar with the tools we use? We want to avoid situations where customers move to the cloud, find out they’re not familiar with the portal, the API, and the proprietary aspects of our cloud environment, and they find themselves stuck. Understanding what you can do today drives where we head regarding solutions that we think would make sense for you.
[You might also be interested in: NEIBP Working Toward a Turnkey DR System]
Question No. 6: What are your additional requirements?
Companies can have fine grain sensitivities such as to regulatory concerns or infrastructure management. The CEO of a large medical firm envisioned outsourcing as much management as possible to a provider. The IT staff saw the inter-dependencies involved with their apps, databases, and processes and had another vision for the move. They felt it needed to be a phased approach and that some things would ultimately never work in the cloud, due to the inter-dependencies of the applications, and those applications’ inter-dependencies with the underlying hardware. This key information enabled us to better meet their needs.
Communicate before a cloud commitment. Look for thorough exchanges and feedback between you and the cloud provider before you move to the cloud.
What questions do you have for a prospective cloud provider? We’d welcome your comments/questions below.
Russ O'Risky is an experienced solutions engineer with a wide range of technical expertise, both as an engineer and a leader. His days are focused on helping businesses solve their IT infrastructure challenges. Russ is responsible for leading technical conversations with clients and partners around hybrid cloud, managed services, DRaaS and business continuity services, with a special focus on high-availability and security. He serves the Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana region and is HQ'd in Chicago.