The adoption of cloud computing has grown rapidly in recent years. Many organizations are now dependent on their cloud systems. This leaves less room for error when designing new architectures.
A poorly planned system can be a burden to the company using it. Reconfiguring an architecture is a costly and time-consuming process, especially if the original cloud migration was not smooth. While some mistakes are inevitable, here are five pitfalls to watch out for.
. Blind focus
Cloud technologies are still surrounded by a certain hype and buzz. This can drive organizations to fixate on the latest big thing, even if an older solution might be better suited.
Don’t go to the cloud because you can. Objectively evaluate your options within the context of your business. Assuming the cloud solves all your IT infrastructure problems is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. A successful migration requires you to adopt a cloud-first mindset, not a list of technologies and service providers.
A poorly considered cloud migration can exacerbate existing organizational problems. Distributing services widely across platforms hinders your ability to monitor your systems. You must learn new management tools and processes to stay in control.
There are costs associated with adopting cloud technology. This will normally be confirmed within the time frame needed to retrain the staff as they adapt to the new system. You should assess each workload to determine whether it makes sense to move it to the cloud. Not every migration is worth it.
Don’t lose sight of where your data is stored. You need to know where your servers are located, how many servers you have, and how data is distributed across them. Remember, you’re not going to an all-encompassing cloud that you can set up and forget. It is important to document how your architecture functions and where your data resides.
Cloud migrations must be driven by a legitimate business need. You must be able to identify what a cloud system will add to your organization. Otherwise, you could end up with expensive infrastructure that is underused and poorly aligned with your operations.
2. Supply Errors
The cloud makes it easy to set up new instances of servers, services, and data stores. Unfortunately, this can result in an unoptimized setup, eating up your budget and affecting performance.
Shared servers can make sense for some components of your stack. If you have 10 servers that are idle most of the day, it might make more sense to consolidate onto one machine.
Remember that “the cloud” still contains the basic rules of hardware architecture design. While you can create dozens of servers across geographic regions, this can increase latency and require sustained network throughput.
These problems are especially common in larger organizations, where individual departments are allowed to create their own infrastructure. You can quickly end up with a number of copies that far exceed your cost estimates.
If a person leaves the organization, rarely used copies can be forgotten. Keep an inventory of your cloud servers so you know when instances have become obsolete. In small teams, it can be more sustainable to have colleagues running virtual machines on a shared server. Providing full access to a cloud environment could soon be a shame.
3. No room for change
Cloud is today’s technology. If there’s one thing that has become clear over the past few decades, it may not necessarily be relevant tomorrow. While it seems unlikely that the general idea of ”placing in the cloud” will disappear, individual technologies evolve and are regularly replaced.
If you’re taking the time to migrate to the cloud, do yourself a favor and take the opportunity to assess how your systems can handle change. This exercise is also helpful in determining an effective migration strategy.
Designing for change often involves breaking down monoliths into individual microservices. That in itself may require substantial refactoring, but it can pay dividends in the long run.
Once you’ve adopted a microservices architecture, you have the freedom to locate any single service in the cloud that best suits it. If a technology is replaced in the future, you can focus on migrating the specific microservices that used it.
On a larger scale, cloud providers can develop, merge or shut down their product stacks. You need to make plans for how your system will respond to these events, no matter how improbable they seem. Do not assume that today’s situation will remain the same forever.
4. No Migration Plan
Implementing a cloud architecture is not something you can do in an afternoon. Successful migrations require an action plan that takes full account of all unforeseen circumstances. You need to make sure all stakeholders are aware of what’s going on, why it’s needed, and how you’ll respond to unforeseen issues.
You should aim to migrate your workloads gradually. If you move everything at once, each problem has much more impact. Starting with relatively little traffic will give you more breathing room if something goes wrong.
Evaluate each migration to identify the lessons you can apply to the next. Gradually increase your cloud adoption until you are where you want to be. A migration can eventually become a multi-month exercise, but this gives you more time to analyze the effects on your organization.
If nothing else, a documented strategy is important so that you have a reference for the future. Your successors will be grateful if you can point them to a migration plan that explains how your infrastructure got to its current state. It is important to detail the business case for each phase, as well as the technical details. This helps illustrate why a system has been chosen instead of just describing what was installed.
5. Security Deprioritization
This list would not be complete without mentioning security. Security should be more than an afterthought. It should be baked into every aspect of your architecture. Shifting security to the beginning of your decision-making process ensures it cannot be overlooked.
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Don’t assume that your cloud systems are inherently secure. Using big name providers can provide false assurance that your data is protected. In reality, no cloud is completely secure. Many serious breaches result from basic configuration errors, such as inadvertently exposing an object storage bucket.
By integrating security into your design, you reduce the risk of hidden problems. A single audit at the end of your process can lead to missing vulnerabilities that lie within individual components.
Systemic security integration adds time and cost to the initial build, but is vital for long-term use. You must consider any possibility in which an attacker could gain access to your servers, data, and configuration stores.
Don’t forget to lock access to cloud host configuration screens as well. There’s no point in having tight workload protections if you use an unsecured password to access your hosting provider. Use a strong password, set up two-factor authentication, and only delegate access to essential team members.
An effective cloud architecture helps you maximize the capabilities of your systems. Cloud technology can be more efficient, scalable and easier to integrate with other services. However, that doesn’t mean it’s your only option.
Assess the full spectrum of available technologies, make a detailed plan before migrating and be open to change. Integrate security from the start so you know your data is safe. You can still make mistakes, but at least you’ll be better prepared to anticipate and fix them.