One Cloud, Two Cloud, Red Cloud, Blue Cloud
Written by: Alex Curtis | Posted Jan 2, 2019

The following is a NTC Member Promoted Blog Post from Earl Gay – Practice Manager – Cloud & EUC from RoundTower. Register now for RoundTower’s Containers and Automation Workshop on Jan. 31st, 2019 at 9 am at Tech Hill Commons.

In the modern world of Instagram and other social media sites, it’s common to see folks say “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” The same applies to Cloud and IT teams. If you look at Twitter or news sites or even hear customer testimonials at events like AWS re:Invent (which RoundTower was an exhibitor!), you would think everyone has everything figured out and is sitting on cloud nine — but, the reality is most people are still figuring out all the ways to take advantages of the benefits of the Cloud within their unique organization.

We commonly talk to customers across all sorts of verticals and size that are still figuring things out in the public cloud (even some of the ones that you see plastered all over Customer Testimonials by big vendors). There’s a common thread with the ones that are further along down the road: they are okay knowing that they don’t know everything about the cloud. There are 150+ services within AWS alone (and similar numbers in Azure & GCP) — it’s simply unrealistic to try to hold yourself to knowing them all. But, what you can hold yourself to is to a pattern of learning, experimentation, and trial & error to figure out how to leverage them within your environment.

There are tried and true approaches to how to accelerate cloud adoption, and instead of rehashing those, I will point over to AWS’ blog on “Using a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) to Transform the Entire Enterprise”. A few characteristics of the team they recommend, which align with the aforementioned, are: experimentation-driven, bold, result-oriented, customer-focused, and able-to-influence. Note the first one: experimentation-driven — there is no silver bullet, no box to buy, no magic pill or bean.

At RoundTower, a core part of our Cloud Practice’s approach is to help folks understand where they are, where they want to go, and how they can get there. Our approach is to sit alongside customers to guide them, and hopefully make their experiments quicker, more productive, and less messy.

Don’t forget to wear goggles!

Whether you are getting started or on the path, there are some things I’d recommend to accelerate your journey:

  1. Pick a primary Cloud provider, and commit to them first. If you want to advance your skills, capabilities, and really harness the power of these providers, I recommend picking one of the big 3 providers (Amazon, Microsoft, Google) and really committing to them first. Once you’ve figured out how to leverage their services, automation, APIs, integration, processes, approach, and more — then you can worry about multi-cloud. If you try to learn 3 providers at once, it’s going to take you much longer for a variety of reasons. The counterargument here is going to be fear of “vendor lock-in,” but this is a sales fear as old as time — it’s much ado about nothing (and the drawbacks of having an environment so vanilla that it never harnesses the power of anything is a much worse problem if your IT department’s goal is to accelerate the business with technology, in my opinion).
  2. Correspond application migrations with actual compelling events. Moving applications to the Cloud is great, but there should be a reason to do so. There are lots and lots of really great reasons, but they’re going to be different for each customer — maybe your datacenter lease is expiring, maybe your application has grown to need the benefits of elasticity and automation, maybe you have a totally new application. Tying the moves to real compelling events means you’re going to have more support, better ROI, and see more value.
  3. Invest in training for the organization. One of the great things about Cloud? There is a tremendous amount of training available, and it’s not expensive. Sites like ACloud.Guru, Udemy, PluralSight, and others have amazing content, and they’re all very inexpensive. It’s important to get IT engineering and operations up to speed, but invest in training for developers and business folks as well — have them enfranchised on the cloud journey! We do a lot of workshops at RoundTower focused around custom education and enablement, and we see great returns from teams on the time spent.

This is not an all-encompassing list, of course, but just a few things to think about. There’s a popular meme from the TV sitcom Parks & Recreation where the character Andy says “I don’t know [insert topic here], and at this point I’m too afraid to ask”. Never be afraid to ask, never be afraid to learn — the capabilities that are constantly being released by Azure, GCP, and AWS are incredible — and it’s a fun time to be an engineer!

Don’t forget to register now for RoundTower’s Containers and Automation Workshop on Jan. 31st, 2019 at 9 am at Tech Hill Commons!