Don’t Migrate to the Cloud … Restart on it

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There are two philosophies of using cloud: moving workloads to the cloud and using cloud to move workloads. They are two very different approaches. When you move a workload to the cloud, you take what you are doing today and move it from your datacenter to a cloud datacenter. It’s the same service but now runs in the cloud. You get the benefit of cloud efficiencies and you retain your existing service more or less as is. It is an infrastructure change. Now using cloud to move a workload is a different approach. You can use cloud services to extend your existing capabilities, effectively harnessing the new services to the old or you can start with the solitary cloud approach, start new and build again; a second chance so to speak.

One of the most common myths of cloud computing is that you need to use your same directory approach and network for access. It can be a cumbersome process to ready your local directory services and network for the cloud, or… you can choose a solitary approach. The solitary cloud uses its own domain, establishes identities and then federates the identities back to the corporate directory for access validation. You still have full control but without the headache of maintaining identities. Why do you ask is this important? Here’s why.

The solitary cloud approach means that you can turn on new cloud services for your users TODAY, with no major migration projects, very minimal integration and most importantly virtually no impact on your already stretched internal IT Operations. Solitary clouds are self-sustaining.

Let’s pick an example to highlight the difference. Your corporate communications portal. On this site you have company vision, strategy, messages from the CEO, health and workplace safety, employee surveys and some discussion boards. Today it runs on servers in your datacenter and it’s a decade or so old. Functional but not up to date and certainly not driving engagement with your employees.

Options:

A. You can move it to a cloud service and reduce the IT operations costs of the service

B. You can reinvent the service on the cloud

Which one to you think will take longer? If you said “B”, you will be wrong 9 times of out 10. It is actually less work to restart on the cloud than to migrate to it.

To establish our new company communications portal on the cloud I

  • create a new domain, cloud.mycompany.com
  • create a new corporate site on the cloud for corporate communications and social networking (SharePoint On-line and Yammer from Microsoft)
  • grab my HR file with employee email addresses personal or corporate
  • I send them an email to self-provision an account with the email account of their choice (facebook, Microsoft ID, corporate, gmail etc.)
  • They now have full (and secure access [could even be two factor]) to the corporate site and yammer from ANY device from the internet in a fully responsive design (PC, Android, iPhone, WindowsPhone, Blackberry etc.)
  • If they leave the company for any reason, the federation of their ID is automatically removed by an HR feed and they no longer have access to the site.
  • If they need a password reset, they call Facebook, Microsoft or Google, not your IT Department.

What did we NOT do.

  • We did not migrate the current portal
  • We did not reuse the internal ID’s from the directory service
  • We did not do any integration with our local systems/datacenter except for federating the Identity and sending out 1 original on-boarding email.

We simply used the cloud to move a workload. When you are considering the cloud, consider moving to the cloud but also consider if you can use the cloud to move you.

 

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