Attack of the Cloud Killers: Fending Off Threats to Cloud Ops Success

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For many companies, the cloud model is no longer an option – it’s a mandate

Yet, the transition to public cloud can be challenging. You’re up against all sorts of governance and insight issues, along with numerous change management demands. These potential cloud killers are not so much technology challenges as organizational and cultural ones, and they all stem from the fact that cloud operations (Cloud Ops) is a wholly different kind of IT world.

Below I list three principles that I’ve found useful while working with companies on the front lines of cloud rollouts:

  1. Understand the need for a completely different governance model.

What I have in mind here is not your classic governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) processes – though those are crucial for cloud success too. Cloud Ops governance is all about how do I maximize value? It’s about having deep visibility into the financial health of the assets.

Finance controls are the number one thing that needs to be done differently from the beginning. As my colleague John Treadway pointed out in a recent post (3 Ways HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud Drives Hybrid IT Success), “if you’re not paying attention to what you’re using in a public cloud, you can easily end up overpaying.”

What’s more, the acceleration of consumption is much, much faster with cloud than with the classic model–with all its POs, contracts, legal involvement and so on. Within a very short time, you can end up with uncontrolled, unmonitored usage and zero visibility. You’ve got spend that you can’t answer for, so what likely happens is that your finance department steps in and kills the project.

Then you have a wrecked cloud initiative, and IT blames the business or falls back and says, “our cloud program costs too much” without actually looking for the root cause of the problem. This issues all could have been avoided by putting the right controls in place from the start.

  1. Recognize that your Cloud Ops team can’t be the same team that’s running your classic model.

Your cloud ops team and your on-premises IT team need to be separate and differently dedicated. And the decision as to how to populate each team is a tough one. But I’ve worked with quite a few companies that originally tried to merge their on-prem operational teams and their cloud operational teams in the hope that they could act as one. It hasn’t worked well at all.

The on-prem operational teams may not understand how the new model works. They’re probably not familiar with the technology and the new software platforms that you’re deploying. The cloud folks may lack the depth of experience needed to manage the on-prem assets. This is where the friction starts, with team dynamics issues, turf battles, and silo building. I’m a convinced advocate for bypassing these problems by the simple expedient of keeping the two teams’ workflows distinct and separate.

  1. Target your training.

The two-team approach is also useful in your training programs. Cloud Ops training will be very different from your on-prem op training or your developer training.

Cloud Ops training should be oriented more towards managing spend controls, enabling or disabling services, and supporting users who are consuming cloud services. Importantly, it should also focus on the DevOps relationship and the benefits it delivers to IT service consumers.

The ideal training should also focus on the DevOps relationship and the benefits it delivers to IT service consumers. A tight connection between development teams and operations teams is pivotal for maximizing the value of cloud implementations. That partnership needs to be carefully fostered, and a big part of that is through training.

Building a top-flight Cloud Ops function is a demanding task, but an essential one for companies that want to see the best results from this innovative, agile paradigm.

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About the author

Attack of the Cloud Killers: Fending Off Threats to Cloud Ops Success TechNativeRobert Christiansen is a cloud technology leader, best-selling author, mentor, and speaker. In his role as VP of Global Cloud Delivery at Cloud Technology Partners (CTP), a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, Christiansen oversees the delivery of professional services and innovation for HPE’s public cloud business. His client base includes Fortune 500 and Global 2000 customers, and his team’s leadership model encompasses the entire IT transformation journey, from inception to execution.

To read more articles by Christiansen, visit HPE’s Transforming IT blogsite or  Shifting to Software-defined blogsites.

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