Here's what the local market wants to know about cloud
Cloud adoption success in the modern workplace is a hot topic as the industry awaits the arrival of Microsoft's Azure data centres in SA, says Nicolas Blank, group CEO of NBConsult.
A few weeks ago, NBConsult's Group CEO, Nicolas Blank, presented a Webinar about how to guarantee cloud adoption success in the modern workplace, a hot topic as the industry eagerly awaits the arrival of Microsoft's Azure data centres in SA.
As part of the Webinar, we wanted to get an understanding of the market appetite for cloud and answer a few burning questions from the Webinar attendees around migrating to the cloud. And the questions did not disappoint.
From concerns around local bandwidth availability and finding a business case for cloud to questions around governance, different approaches to billing and cloud migration disadvantages, Webinar attendees offered some key insights into how the local market is feeling about cloud.
NBConsult has put together a snapshot of a few of the questions below.
1: I worry about downtime. Won't my network users get frustrated if they can't access the documents or information they need because the network is down?
NB: One of NBConsult's base cloud implementation principles is this: "The network that is built to browse, is not the same network used to consume cloud services." Conducting a network analysis should always be part of any decent cloud implementation process. This must be augmented depending on how we choose for our users to consume cloud services. Document-based services often bundle clients with offline sync capability such as One Drive for Business. If we choose to cache our documentation using this client, users can access SharePoint document libraries even when they're offline and these same libraries are available with lacklustre or intermittent network connectivity.
2: Is cloud at all aligned with the bandwidth issues in SA?
NB: Bandwidth isn't the worry it was five years ago. Many factors contribute to poor client experiences on the network, including firewall design, ISP peering, usage of DNS, etc. The amount of bandwidth available is not the only governing factor, although it contributes massively. NBConsult has implemented many successful cloud services for South African customers who were more than happy with the ultimate experience once their network designs were addressed.
3: When the MS data centre lands in SA, will my data automatically be moved without my input?
NB: Nothing will happen to your services without your knowledge or consent. The Microsoft Trust Centre answers questions like: "Where is my data?" depending on the type of services you use. In the Office 365 world, your data is placed in a data centre of your choice, which is linked to the billing address of your tenant. Should you choose the "geo-tenant" functionality of an offering like Office 365, you can move your data to a location that is closest to your users. Azure is quite different, because you choose the data centre you want to use based on the services you wish to consume. The choice here is entirely yours. Microsoft will not move those Azure data centre-based assets anywhere else, since every region has its own set of billing rates, which you chose to accept when you originally deployed resources into those locations.
4: What are the disadvantages of migrating to the cloud?
NB: If cloud isn't the right fit for what you're trying to achieve, then you're in the wrong place. The decision to go to cloud should be based on thorough analysis of business requirements, which have then been aligned to the capabilities represented by your cloud vendor. Your cloud vendor should also have specified the fine print for joining and leaving, so your cloud purchase doesn't become a prison.
In my mind, the technicalities associated with adopting cloud are much easier than wrestling with the associated disciplines of ensuring the proper fit. Most cloud vendors publish detailed descriptions for their cloud services, which allow you to carefully match your requirement before you move. Moving should also be an iterative process, start out with a small percentage of services and then increase as time goes by, iterating on the success of the previous move. This allows you to decrease risks when it comes to your cloud move and measure success and track user adoption in the process.
5: I often come across customers that want to take an application into the cloud but it is working perfectly fine on-premises. Do you think there are some applications that are still better suited to on-premises than cloud?
NB: Absolutely yes. Anything that processes vast amounts of data on-premises in a latency-sensitive way, or applications that require significant integration with other on-premises systems, probably isn't well suited to cloud.
These relationships should ideally form part of the application taxonomy discussion we had as part of our Webinar, which enables a business to understand the application dependencies and inter-dependencies. If you have an application in a factory that requires super-fast responses from other integrated systems, you probably won't be moving that system to the cloud. The easiest systems to move to cloud are productivity aligned applications like documents, e-mail workflows, etc.
If you'd like to access this Webinar and listen to the full Q&A session, you can download it here. And if you have any other questions or you'd like to find out more about what NBConsult does, please don't hesitate to contact the company on 021 914 2348 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.