Organizations looking to establish a CloudOps function should consider these practices:
Establish a migration strategy. Each workload will have its own requirements, and the adoption of containerized applications and micro-services can put additional constraints on the way particular solutions are architected. For example, a micro-services based application my require access to services on multiple clouds, leading to a multi-cloud approach whether desired or not. Other workloads may access sensitive data which must remain on-premises in a private cloud for regulatory or governance mandate, and yet other applications may require the use of specific cloud providers to maintain data in a specific geography or to take advantage of a specific provider’s features.
Include all stakeholders. Cloud migration is change, and many organizations and departments are change-averse. Every stakeholder from users to top executives should be involved in migration planning to help ensure that business-critical processes do not fall through the cracks during migration. Instill the importance of taking a CloudOps approach and emphasize how it aligns with existing DevOps strategies.
Emphasize security. While the cloud offers many benefits, it also presents a new attack surface – or multiple attack surfaces – for cybercriminals and other bad actors to use in an attempt to penetrate the organization’s defenses. Start by adopting a zero-trust approach to security, end-to-end encryption, and automating security monitoring and remediation to help ensure that little problems never have the opportunity to become expensive data breaches.
Automate to accelerate. Adopt agile cloud workflows and non-disruptive automation tools including as many self-service capabilities including provisioning and password resets. Remember that cloud migration is not a one-off deal; as weeks and months pass CloudOps will uncover areas for improvement in processes, infrastructure, and connectivity that can have substantial impact on both operations and monthly cloud expenditures.
Include training in the plan. Cloud management can require a vastly different skill set from on-premises data centers. The need for physical equipment maintenance vanishes to be replaced with new troubleshooting, provisioning, and deployment skills. In a tight labor market it may be beneficial to provide training for existing team members before the migration occurs to help ensure that all the proper skills are available when needed.
Start small. Find an application to migrate that can provide proof-of-concept for operations and user teams alike and can demonstrate to all stakeholders the viability of a wide-scale cloud migration.
Develop the practice of storing configuration data such as server definitions in an infrastructure as code model to help rapidly expand and deploy new instances, scaling on demand as needs require doing so.
Ensure that the first and every application migrated has a clear definition of what tools, services, and data are required for successful operation, as this will scale out to become an operating map of dependencies for all operations.