What does it take to make a cloud deployment succeed?
A new study by CloudHealth Technologies investigates the characteristics and best practices that separate successful cloud trailblazers from cloud failures.
CloudHealth surveyed 388 senior executives in the fields of security, IT and infrastructure operations and codified their responses in the new Secrets of the Cloud Leaders report (free PDF download upon providing registration information).
Upon identifying cloud leaders that achieve higher ROI on their cloud deployments, CloudHealth determined leaders exhibited major differences in terms of their vision, discipline and governance.
"We asked the respondents about making the transition from a traditional build philosophy, where apps run on datacenter infrastructure, to a cloud-first philosophy, where they deploy production apps to the cloud," CloudHealth said in its survey report. "The trailblazers, or 'cloud leaders' (enterprises we grouped into the top-tier camp), were 10 times as likely to say they had a 'crystal-clear vision' of how they were going to make that transition. Companies not obtaining their full cloud potential told a different story; one in five replied that they had 'only a vague idea' or 'no idea' of how they would make that transition."
The discipline needed to make that vision a reality includes creating a role dedicated to cloud management. Another form of discipline is a commitment to optimizing cloud workloads as a continual process rather than a one-time exercise. CloudHealth said trailblazers following this model are more likely to:
- Have cloud computing service-level agreements (SLAs) (87-91 percent versus 54-62 percent).
- Proactively monitor and alert for abnormal cloud behavior (92 percent versus 63 percent).
- Have a comprehensive, clearly articulated strategy for managing cloud cost (94 percent versus 37 percent).
- Leverage pricing strategies from cloud providers based on forecasted use by workload (90 percent versus 61 percent).
- Understand benefits and differentiators of various cloud options and pick plat forms accordingly (91 percent versus 59 percent).
- Define instance utilization thresholds by workload (90 percent versus 49 percent).
The governance factor, meanwhile, is reflected by the tight control of deployments following a central strategy, with the use of reference architectures and configuration rules to guarantee enterprise standards are met.
The survey also indicated cloud leaders achieve greater impact from their deployments, have the ability to roll out new apps quickly and keep watch to avoid cloud chaos caused by unchecked sprawl, which can lead to higher costs, poor performance and security risks.
Based on its survey data, CloudHealth provided the following five steps to become a cloud leader:
- Designate responsibility and empower ownership.
- Set metrics for success.
- Understand that cost isn't just a function of dollars and cents.
- Centralize governance.
- Automate, automate, automate.
"Our survey shows that certain organizations are achieving substantially better outcomes from their cloud deployments by excelling at vision, discipline and governance," CloudHealth concluded. "Any organization can achieve similar results by applying the lessons from the trailblazers when it comes to cloud management."
The company, which describes itself as providing IT service management for the cloud, said its survey of 388 senior execs focusing on organizations with more than 500 employees across North America was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2016.
David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.