What to do when you hit the cloudops wall

You’re a new CIO. It’s 9:00 a.m. on a Wednesday and you’re in an emergency Zoom meeting with IT operations leaders. The faces on the screen are somber, and it’s clear why when they explain the purpose of the meeting.

It seems that all of IT ops, which was initially budgeted at $10 million for this fiscal year, is now looking at a $4 million overrun due to the unanticipated cost of the operations personnel and tools needed to operate the new bunch of applications and databases that just moved to a public cloud.

What happened? It’s likely they hit a “cloudops wall,” meaning that the cost of operating systems in the cloud was underestimated by 20% to 30%. They assumed that, at most, the cost of operating the same systems in the cloud would be about 10% more than on premises. Indeed, the industry told them that operations cost would likely be reduced.

The reality is that a few things are occurring right now.

First, the pandemic pushed many enterprises to migrate their next tranche of systems to the cloud—systems avoided at first since they were more complex and not as well designed. Moreover, these systems are interacting in new ways, such as a cloud-based database now consuming data from a traditional data center versus them living in the same data center.

Second, since there is a “need for speed” in moving to the cloud, many of the pragmatic steps have been compressed or skipped. Refactoring applications to leverage cloud-native services or containerizing some of the migrating systems has been pushed off, opting for cheaper and faster lift-and-shift processes that are underoptimized.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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