Cloud migration and hybrid cloud: questions to ask before you start

Ok, there’s one thing we need to state clearly before we begin. This article isn’t going to tell you what public and private clouds you should use in your search for a DevOps-friendly hybrid (multi) cloud solution. 

Unfortunately, that decision can be made by you and you alone. 

Instead, we’ll try to teach you to ask the right questions, which will lead to you making the right decisions for your situation and needs. Ready to learn how to ask the right questions? 

Excellent, let’s begin!  

To start, remember why you made the decision to move to hybrid multi-cloud. At times, the process will be frustrating and, on those days, you’ll need to remember why you decided to change. In short, you’re looking for the ability to scale up and down without having to worry about physical space and people, and once that worry is out of the way, room to focus on your product, rather than the machinations around it. 

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Should my current automation affect my choice?

 

Absolutely. As a DevOps-first team or organization (or one with DevOps ambitions), it’s likely that you’ve been making inroads on automation for a while now and there’s no reason you should have to sacrifice them to move to the cloud. 

Before making a move, it’s essential to take stock of your current automation and decide how best to manage it in the migration. Depending on your current set-up, this can vary hugely, so it’s important to be really clear on the ins and outs of your specific needs - it’s unlikely to be a use case that anyone else has planned for! Automation is key to DevOps, and you need to support any you already have in place unless you’re very sure it cannot be used or leveraged as you move forward.

Next up, take a critical look at your applications, microservices, and products. How mature are they? Will they make good use cases to assess your needs for hybrid cloud? In DevOps, simplicity reigns supreme. You need to ensure that your chosen provider can offer a service appropriate for your use cases, obviously, but award serious bonus points to the provider that can do this in the simplest way possible. 

Is there anything that can act as a bridge between public and private cloud?

Illustration of the concept of collaboration

I’ll confess right now - I’m definitely plugging our product here. That said, you can take it in general terms to let you know that when you’re making a choice in both public and private cloud, it’s essential that you pick a tool that will help you to manage both. Moving to the cloud, once you get over the initial set-up and rollout, is supposed to make life easier for you, not more complex!

A tool like Cycloid has been built specifically to build a bridge between public and private clouds, moving beyond the silo to find a new, collaborative and open space in which to “do DevOps”. Cycloid or not, make sure to choose cloud providers that easily integrate with the other tools that you are using and make clear and definitive promises when it comes to tool agnosticism and the degree to which you are “locked-in” in terms of service or automation.

Practical questions

 

When you’re picking a hybrid cloud solution, there are a lot of practical questions that will need to be answered. We’ve already written about the general questions you’ll need to ask (both yourself and the provider), but there are also specific questions that you must be sure to answer long before you make your decisions.

Firstly, how long will you have to migrate or deploy your projects with the new provider? Most migrations try to stick to at least a theoretical timeline, so it’s important you find this out. Secondly, do you have the necessary resources within your team to help you in your migration (and beyond), or will you need to rely on your provider or other partners to show you the way? All providers are not created equal in this area, so make sure to research well. 

Which cloud? How do I choose? 

 

Ok, so we started this article by telling you we could not tell you which cloud to choose - and that stands: we won’t! What we can do, however, is give you some advice about how you should choose.cloud-image-900x500_0

It’s very likely you’ll have to decide between private clouds like Vmware and OpenStack, and public, like AWS, GCP, Azure, Alibaba, and sovereign cloud provides like Scaleway, OVH, and Flexible Engine. One of your first questions should be to ask what level of help they offer you on your journey? There will be two aspects to consider here; the help they offer, and the help you need - one alone isn’t enough to make a good decision.

Then, ask yourself what level of automation is available on the open-source market. Consider who you will use as your TerraForm provider, and what resources are available for that Terraform to make your journey easier at little or no cost. Finally, some of the same questions that you asked for your hybrid cloud tool will also stand for your cloud provider - what implies the least effort for migration? What is the pricing structure? And finally, what security measures does it have in place - and will they help you meet any compliance requirements you may have?

In conclusion

 

There are literally thousands of cloud providers in the world today, so your due diligence is key. The more careful and thorough you are in deciphering what your requirements are and how well your tool and cloud provider meet those requirements, the easier the migration will be, and the greater the success it will have in the long term.

Do the work now, and enjoy the benefits later.


This blog post is part of Cycloid's Life in the Fast Lane series. Download the companion ebook Life in the Fast Lane: The dual journey to DevOps and hybrid cloud mastery here.

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