BALD TRUTH VIDEO: MY DATACENTER: DIY or MANAGED/CLOUD SERVICE PROVIDER
Cloud is not necessarily an all or nothing proposition. Every company, on some level, is on a journey to the cloud. Some who go cloud native from day one have reached the finish line, but most find themselves dipping a toe and taking a phased in approach to an OPEX model. Where have we seen this before? That is correct… with Virtualization. The difference with Cloud is that while Virtualization was essentially a one size fits all solution (with the exception of those nasty legacy applications) Cloud is much more variable in its advantages and requires a discerning eye.
We are entering a world where every single application is going to be able to get the appropriate resources it deserves. Application Workload Profiles have never lost their importance, but the ability to granularly appropriate data center resources to control cost can be exacted with the right partner. Cue Timpani and cloud shaped confetti…Enter Cloud Service Providers and Managed Service Providers (CSPs/MSPs).
When the mandate comes down from the CXO level that you will be required to add Disaster Recovery to your roster of Data capabilities in 2018, are you really going to spin up an additional data center for this requirement? Some will and it will be the right decision for them, but for the most part, a great way to investigate your DR wishes and IT Resiliency dreams is through a CSP/MSP that has some form of geo-locality to where you are to provide low latency performance particularly when your production will be hosted in the cloud in what we refer to as Intra-Cloud DR or ICDR. A geographically dispersed DR location(s) outside the power grid or additionally outside of the same fault line/jet stream/weather pattern. There was a parking lot of hurricanes in the South Atlantic this year and you do not want your DR running from Miami to Key West for example.
When it comes to managing your datacenter, do you wish to be master of your domain, or let someone else drive?
What’s your vertical? Are you an accounting firm, a credit union, a pharmaceutical organization? There is a CSP that is focusing on your vertical. I know this because I work with them. They already know your pain points before you start the conversation, the ones that are universal to your vertical. The rest of the information unique to your organization will come as part of the consultation/onboarding process. Getting consultation from an experienced provider that deals only in your field or for specific applications can put you in warp drive to your DR destination.
Newsflash… Cloud isn’t free, but it does grant you the capability to pay only for what you use. That doesn’t mean you should go blindly into AWS or Azure because I’ve seen some of the results from this and the sticker shock can feel like a 1.21 Gigawatt kick in the pants. The recommended way to avoid Cloud Buyers Remorse is to work with a CSP/MSP. They will take a measured approach to your environment that comes from a place of experience from handling and managing customer workloads 24/7/365.25 days a year. This means consultatively sizing and placing workloads based on value or performance which creates cost flexibility for individual applications – that is good. Having a CSP that has experienced the problems you would be facing, (rather than going alone like a 7th grade science fair project googling your way to crawl beaten down to the finish line), is a win for your organization. What can be a loss is hiring head count to manage your DR and having nowhere to point the finger and no throat to choke but your own if it is not properly managed and a Resume Generating Event occurs in your Data Center. Honestly… you are too smart for that.
Are you in the business of managing and maintaining your own datacenter? Have you prepared for a disaster as thoroughly as you should? And more importantly, do you have a DR testing schedule and are you testing recovery at all? Or are you waiting for an inevitable failure to prove your DR investment? When your applications and data need something beyond what you can deliver, an MSP/CSP has the expertise to do it right the first time with extreme efficiency. If managing a datacenter and its requirements isn’t something that appeals to you or the school of hard knocks has made you wiser, maybe a Managed Service Provider or Cloud Service Provider is the answer. So some of the value and benefits that you’ll receive working with an MSP or CSP are CapX savings. So no hardware to buy or maintain. And no, you do not need to storage arrays. No building maintenance. No leases. No power and cooling. Reduced FTE requirements, making better use of your current resources. Economies of scale savings realized since you only pay for what you need. More SLA choices with no lock in, which offers flexible application-based service level agreements. MSPs and CSPs have exponentially more experience in DR testing, recovery, failovers and more, since this is their business. They do it every day. So if you don’t have the time, experience or the stomach to manage multiple datacenters yourself, take the proven experience route with an MSP/CSP. And that’s the bald truth.
Derek is a Zerto Cloud Architect enabling Cloud Service Providers to craft and configure customer-facing Cloud DR platforms. In his off time, he enjoys coaching & playing volleyball, guitar, and weekend trips with his family around New England.