Before you buy into any cloud provider, you need to ask yourself one very important question: Will they be there tomorrow?
We all know about doing out due diligence about smaller IT service companies. You can be sure Microsoft will be here tomorrow. Joe’s Mainframes in the Back? Not so much.
But, when it comes to the cloud you can’t even trust the big names. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) gave up on its public Helion cloud. HPE has replaced it with Microsoft Azure. I say “replace,” but if there’s any easy way to move apps from Helion to Azure, HPE sure hasn’t told me about it.
HPE’s not the only brand name that jumped into the cloud pool and, instead of swimming to victory, sank down to bubble away to a quick death. Verizon is closing down its cloud offering. What a waste of the 1.4 billion bucks Verizon paid for Terremark in 2011!
That’s bad news for HPE and Verizon, but it’s even worse news for their customers. So, what can you do to make sure your new cloud installation goes down the toilet — along with your job?
First, you must realize that your cloud provider may well go out of business. Oh the buildings may still be standing, and the servers humming in the data-centers, but like HPE and Verizon, they’ll simply abandon their own cloud offerings. As Forrester’s Predictions 2016: The Cloud Accelerates report stated, “The consolidation and shakeout will accelerate in 2016, which will force many current providers to refocus on a narrower field, retreat from cloud, or exit.”
So, how can you tell? Take a look at the company’s cloud track record. Yes, everyone is still relatively new at this, but if you just looked at what HPE and Verizon were doing, you could see the red flags.
Verizon alienated its customers in early January 2015 by closing the service for 48-hours with little notice. Rob Enderle, an analyst with The Enderle Group, said it well, “Cutting [customers] off is insanely stupid.”
HPE? They never could get their technology story straight. In September 2014, after committing to OpenStack, the company bought the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) private cloud program Eucalyptus. These were, and still are, incompatible cloud programs.
Then, in April 2015, HP first said it was leaving the public cloud. Then, a few days later HPE denied that it was going to abandon the cloud. HPE’s public relations then declared, “HP’s commitment to its cloud strategy remains unchanged since our launch of HP Helion nearly one year ago.” Yeah. Right.
Six months later? Helion was history.
Get the point? If a cloud provider is showing signs of technical or management instability, run — do not walk — to another provider.
You see, if you’re going to move to a public or hybrid cloud for your IT needs, it’s not like any other kind of IT partnership. You’re going to depend on them every day in every way.
In addition, you need to watch your cloud partner like a hawk. If things start looking unstable, don’t wait. Start looking for a new provider right away.
We like to talk about how you can easily move your workloads from one cloud provider to another. That’s a lie. It can be easier than traditional IT migrations, but there’s still nothing simple or easy about it.
So, make darn sure that your cloud provider shows every sign of being there for the long run. You’re going to need them not just for the next couple of quarters, but for the next few years.