Cloud

How businesses on the digital transformation path can tackle cloud transition challenges

Cloud transition requires regular maintenance, and possibly the assistance of a migration service, says Atmosera's John Trembley.

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson spoke with John Trembley, CMO of cloud solutions provider Atmosera, about the cloud's integral role in digital transformation.

Watch the video, or read the full transcript of their conversation below:

Patterson: The cloud is an integral component of every company's digital transformation path, but the cloud is a lot easier said than done. John, tell me a little bit about the challenges companies face when transitioning to the cloud.

Trembley: Absolutely Dan, and thanks for having us. So, we work with a lot of customers, in fact hundreds of them, over the past five or six years, that have transitioned from on premise data centers or co location, and moved into cloud environments. And we've seen a lot of the challenges that you come in to, which first starts with really defining what your objectives are.

We see a lot of companies want to jump into the cloud; you know they hear about how you have to have a cloud first-investment methodology. Their board wants them to be in the cloud. Their customers want them to be in the cloud. But they don't always understand what that actually means, or how to get there.

So the first thing that you have to do is really break it down to what are your business objectives. And then identify how to fit the technology, in this case cloud, to realize those objectives.

Patterson: So, do you have any examples of companies that have been challenged by their cloud migration, and overcome those challenges?

Trembley: Yeah, absolutely. So typically you'll see companies that try to do it on their own. We're a managed service provider, so our business is to set up these environments and migrate customers into them. And then maintain the environments, which is an element that a lot of companies don't completely embrace or understand that the cloud is not a one-time operation.

It's an ongoing, living animal that requires a lot of care and feeding to get maximum optimization. So, we see customers that initially try to do it on their own, run into a lot of the traditional pitfalls. It takes a lot longer. They're not getting the performance they want, and also, ends up costing them a lot more money, particularly when you move into the public cloud.

SEE: Enterprises learning to love cloud lock-in too: Is it different this time? (ZDNet)

If you don't architect it properly, you may have quite the sticker shock, kind of like what you used to have with mobile phones, at the end of the month, where you get that bill. So, many of them are able, if they have really good internal IT resources, to overcome many of these challenges, architect it properly, maintain it properly, and then optimize it ongoing to their business needs.

But many companies just don't have that skill set in house. IT are generalists, they're helping you with your iPhone, and your printer, and your computers, and then also how to virtualize and take advantage of the cloud. So, there definitely is a big segment out there, where they need the expertise of managed service providers.

Patterson: What about multi-cloud? What challenges does adding this extra dimension create?

Trembley: Yeah, so multi-cloud, really I think if you break it down to an application based decision, so for instance if you're going to use a productivity suite like Office 365, obviously you're in the Azure cloud. You may use Salesforce for CRM. So by its very nature, I would say most companies are multi cloud to start with, in many dimensions.

Now, if you're talking about core infrastructure, or infrastructure as a service, where you're going to run your own applications in different clouds, again, it really has to be an application-level decision, or, sometimes it's driven by geographies. The complexity there is wow, the concepts are very similar.

Each cloud, particularly the major clouds, which you look at AWS, Google, and Azure, all have their own strengths, their own weaknesses, and their own ways of doing things. And again, it goes back to that familiarity, and the expertise to be able to take advantage of each of those clouds, as optimally as possible.

SEE: Choosing cloud vendors: Does going all in mean getting locked in? (TechRepublic)

Patterson: And what about the GDPR? I know we're coming up on the May 25th deadline, how does this regulation complicate things for enterprise companies?

Trembley: Well, so you have to be cognizant of who owns the data, and where is the data, and then if you end up being brought up into any kind of litigation or concerns, having all the safeties and mechanisms to be able to meet those requirements. So for many enterprises it's a serious issue, and something that they really have to think through.

On the cloud provider side, whether you're an Azure or you're an Atmosera, it's less impactful because ultimately the responsibility lies with the enterprise, with the owners of the applications. Now, cloud providers have put a lot of safeguards and auditing capabilities, and monitoring capabilities to satisfy the inquiry requirements, and scrubbing the data.

But again, unfortunately, a lot of it sits with the enterprise, who ultimately will be responsible for meeting those regulations.

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Image: iStock/cybrain

About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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