Cloud computing, as a concept, has been around since the 1960’s. The earliest use cases didn’t see much light until the 1990’s and it took another decade before cloud as we know it today started to take shape. Despite this long history, the transition to true cloud computing for large businesses continues to be both an opportunity and a challenge. When starting to act on that opportunity, it is natural to move through a stepped approach, each being indicative of both business and technology maturity within a business.
Maturity in the use of cloud computing can take many different views. From casual or internal project definitions to defined frameworks like the Cloud Maturity Model by the Open Alliance for Cloud Adoption, there is a lot to consider and act on. In simplistic technology terms, this is often represented as the move from ‘physical to virtual’, where ‘physical’ is often on-premise, utilising cloud infrastructure as a service in a “lift and shift” activity, progressing toward cloud-native technologies and finally at a maturity point of being able to proactively adopt emerging technologies.
Initial phases are often delivered through manual processes and actions that do not leverage the benefits of automation or software tools. While such tooling may seem like overkill, the willingness, or lack of, to use software tools and automation shares a lot of similarities to a business’s willingness to progress the maturity of their cloud computing usage. Here we are in 2022 and massive global enterprises are still using Excel spreadsheets to manually slice-and-dice to understand their cloud computing costs. Businesses employ teams of people to conduct repetitive, laborious tasks resulting in 100s of hours of work that is no longer necessary.
Psychology tells us that we resist change because it takes us out of our comfort zones, even when that can make things more difficult for us; and so it is with progressing in cloud maturity. The amount of effort in making the first colossal shift to cloud computing, that first “lift and shift” type activity, can create apprehension that continued progress will be even more hard work—because it was done manually, without the benefits of software tooling and automation. In this we recognize that continued cloud maturity requires moving beyond manual tasks, embracing software tools and automation that free up employees to do meaningful and valuable work that we are better suited to.
Even in the first “lift and shift” activities, software tooling can simplify and accelerate cloud migration. When there are so many options, why spend months, even years, analysing the required compute capacity to migrate to cloud, over-analysing size and compute-type requirements in an attempt to get it right? One of those options is to simply move everything and then let software tooling take care of sizing and capacity automatically—with little to no human involvement required. Sounds scary? Yes, we resist change, even when we know it is likely to be better for us.
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