Cloud storage: stacking the odds in your favour

08 April 2022

Rob Smith, CTO, Creative ITC

Rob Smith, CTO, Creative ITC

Businesses increasingly recognise the benefits cloud migration brings, enabling quick access to scalable storage and escaping the burdens of running their own data centre and costly upgrades.

The explosion of cloud has seen public, private, hybrid and multi cloud storage options emerge, with numerous providers vying for market share. Whether you’re considering costs, service from your current provider or looking to ease the burden of cloud management on your in-house team, reviewing the ever-evolving storage landscape is likely to reveal a better, more cost-effective solution that meets your capacity, performance and security needs.

To help you steer the right course for your organisation, here are three important factors to consider when planning a migration to the cloud.

1. Look (carefully) before you leap
Public cloud giants Google, Amazon and Microsoft have made it quick and simple to purchase cloud storage at attractive entry prices. However, it pays to scrutinise the fine print. These hyperscalers have been blasted by Gartner for their aggressive pricing to lure in customers, technical complexity, platform resilience concerns and post-sales dissatisfaction.

Many businesses have found the attractive headline prices are a fraction of what they end up paying. It’s common to face additional charges for ancillaries like IP addresses, failovers and backup.

Unhealthy instances, unattached persistent volumes and unused static IP addresses can all be money sinks too. Also, beware of attractive discounts when you commit over a fixed term. These can offer significant potential savings – but only if you use the prebooked capacity.

Calculate TCO of your cloud storage before you choose. Although private cloud starting costs can seem high, it may prove more cost-effective over the long-term. Seek out a specialist provider offering a managed storage solution right-sized for your needs, with transparent pricing and expertise to optimize performance. Choose wisely and you’ll avoid costly mistakes get good, honest advice, save on resourcing and make the most of the storage you’re paying for.

2. Review resources honestly
A crucial decision is whether to manage your own storage or use an MSP. While it’s easy to adopt cloud storage, unlocking its full benefits isn’t straightforward. Some data and workloads may need to be retained onsite, but on-premise and cloud platforms don’t always work well together. Stretched IT teams still have to manage everything themselves, facing problems overseeing multiple platforms, lack of skilled resources to optimize performance and growing security threats.

3. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
The most common pitfall organisations fall into is under-estimating the time required to manage cloud migration. Too many businesses end up forced into a rushed lift and shift of their data and workloads to a new storage platform; this carries any legacy issues from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud.

Allow sufficient time to design and implement a storage strategy tailored to your business needs and budget. Start by conducting a proper assessment of your apps and data to determine whether your storage needs redesigning before migration. Decide which data and workloads you intend to keep onsite and which are best suited to go into the cloud. There may be some information that doesn’t need to be retained, which simplifies challenges like GDPR compliance.

Calculate how much capacity you need. Right-sizing takes skill and experience, but done properly, will result in the most cost-effective solution.

A collaborative approach will de-risk your migration further. As well as IT senior management, work with DevOps and enlist support from business unit and application owners to build understanding of how your business uses data and how it should be classified, accessed and stored, with premium performance only applied where necessary. Involve finance early on. Their help in understanding the true cost of various storage models will save time and money in the long run.

A successful, pain-free migration to cloud storage rquires more than luck. So, stack the odds in your favour. Allow sufficient time and involve the right expertise to choose the right long-term cloud strategy and de-risk your migration, ensuring you reap the full return of cloud investment for your organisation.