Friday, April 20, 2012

Growing a Business is like Migrating Services to the Cloud

Green GiantWhen a business is in a transition between sizes, for example from Small to Medium-sized, all the business systems are expected to be able to grow with it at the same pace and at the same level of quality. Many don’t realize the demands of growth don’t necessarily scale well without fundamental changes in how it operates both in their management controls, process workflows, and the responsibilities of the personnel managing the processes.

The same holds true for migrating applications and services to the cloud. When applications are hosted on internally owned and managed servers, the maintenance and reliability of the hardware and software is managed by internally controlled resources. When they are moved to the cloud, organizations lose the level of control of quality and reliability unless fundamental changes to the system are made to be more fault tolerant, flexible to demand spikes, and redundant in the event of hardware failures or response times as a result of a multitude of causes, such as human errors, cut transmission lines, and power outages. Read an interesting account of how Netflix uses their Chaos Monkey to insure the best user experience even during major system failures.

On the surface, just doing more of what was always done may look like the growth process is healthy and successful, but there are probably obstacles looming just out of sight waiting for the right time to surface. A healthy dose of planning and evaluation with a multi-disciplined team can go a long way to preventing catastrophe or at the very least identifying the potential risks.


photo credit: Mykl Roventine / CC BY 2.0

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