Managing the Cloud Boomerang Dilemma

April 14, 2010 by Brian Wolff
 “This is unquestionably the most dynamic time in IT history. Right now you have developers making cloud choices that will become de facto organization choices. Failing to recognize this and address it is an enormous mistake. And the (perhaps) instinctive reaction to forbid use of a public cloud is wrong and foolish. If the trend can’t be controlled, the next best strategy is to guide it.”

– Bernard Golden, CEO, HyperStratus

Bernard Golden wrote an excellent piece at a week ago entitled “IT Operations:  Beware of the Cloud Boomerang” and while I don’t believe our approach can solve all the challenges that he’s describing, I will say that our three years of experience motivated us to deliver what we’re calling the BlueLock CloudSuite to address several of the issues he outlined.  The crux of the article was that developers are moving to the cloud due to speed and price – they can get instances up and working far faster than internal IT generally can provision them and for a price that is easily passed through the corporate expense report system (or absorbed by them).  

The rub is that once the app is ready to deploy, many inevitably get pushed to production in the cloud, without the necessary security and services plan required for a production application.  Further, if the dev app is pushed to production, the developer ends up being the primary sys admin for the app or the operations teams is brought in after the fact to manage the app in the cloud without regard for the necessary standards established by operations to support a production application.  

We see this all the time here at BlueLock and that’s one of the reasons we’ve built three platforms onto which different apps can reside according to their specific requirements.  For example, a developer can quickly and cost effectively spin up a test/dev instance on vCloud Express  and once that app has been finished, it can be migrated from vCloud Express  to either the BlueLock Professional Cloud or the BlueLock Enterprise Cloud.  At that point the app inherits the more robust traits and services of the two production-ready platforms, like an Enterprise Checkpoint Firewall, redundant SAS-base SAN for speed and resiliency, nightly snapshots/back-ups, high availability for hardware fault-tolerance, systems administration management for vulnerability patching of the OS and robust monitoring.  The cost model changes with the migration, however, now the application is on a platform intended to host production applications.

So what to do.  As the quote at the top of my blog post indicates, an organization needs to develop a cloud strategy even if they have no intention of running production applications in the cloud in the near-term.  The fact is that if they are a large enough organization with many development projects going on at the same time – there will be test/dev apps promoted to production in the cloud.  Getting ahead of this requires companies to make organizational decisions about what company can help them make a successful transition from test/dev to production – whether it’s in the cloud or boomeranging back to their internal data center.  

At BlueLock we’ve thought through this problem and can help by providing your development team with an option to migrate the app to a more robust platform without it ever leaving our data center.  If you’d like to learn more about our CloudSuite and how we can help you achieve the cost savings and speed at the test/dev phase, but have an option to promote the app to a production ready platform, send me a note here.