Death by Cloud, the Explosion of Instances and Mitigation

Small business owners and IT executives should not blindly leap into the cloud.


Editor’s note: This is part one of a two part series.

Small Businesses whose plans do not address the major gaps that will exist between their targeted cloud and current virtualized environments are bound to experience a costly failure.

Furthermore, business owners and IT executives should not view any new cloud solution as a greenfield implementation, as there will need to be integration between the apps in the cloud and existing non-cloud applications and databases. With few exceptions, the user’s perception of the new app will depend upon the system’s end-to-end performance, quality, and value.

Small business owners and IT executives should recognize the transformation to the cloud requires planning and careful preparation if they are to succeed.

I was not planning on writing a missive on planning. But as I poured through the lessons learned I frequently hear, I realized that it is not just about having solutions in place but also about planning for them.

The common themes I hear are as follows:

•           Automation

•           Orchestration

•           Standardization / commoditization

•           Culture and process change

IT executives need to ensure their strategic and tactical cloud plans address the above elements if they hope to have their cloud initiatives and projects succeed.

The Explosion of Instances

It seems that one of the surprises one encounters when moving to the cloud is the rapid growth in instances. A cloud instance refers to a virtual server instance from a public or private cloud network.

A common assumption is that when migrating to the cloud there will be a 1:1 ratio of server instances. This proves to be far from the truth. It turns out it could be 2:1, 3:1 or more. So an organization dealing with 500 virtual machines can find itself working with 1500 instances or more.

There are two primary reasons for this:

  • Micro services
  • Productivity improvements.

Developers start creating numerous composable microservices by design or dictate when going to the cloud; and there is a development productivity gain that occurs when instances can be provisioned, when needed, free of operations’ provisioning constraints. This is a good thing – at least for development.

For operations it turns out that what works OK in the virtualized world proves to be unsupportable in the cloud with the existing staff – and tripling staff is surely not in anyone’s plan when moving to the cloud.

Hence the requirement for automation and orchestration. The whole development process requires automation so that there is continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD); otherwise the process grinds down and many of the cloud advantages disappear.

Next- Orchestration is mandatory requirement and Cloud implies standardization

Cal Braunstein
Cal Braunstein
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.  He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions. Website

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