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Why a cloud POC should never be “productionised”


Its been a while since my last post. Truth be told, I have been busy with work mostly during the last few weeks. But my little one has been having some medical issues owing to which I havent been able to socialise as much or spend time on blogging even though I have a backlog of articles in my drafts 🙂

Now lets look at this. We all know of companies who start with a POC for a product or a technology and then as mysteriously as it can be, it will turn into production at the snap of a finger. It is never OK for a POC to turn into production. As long as there is an architect who is worth thier salt, they wont let it happen. Now lets look at reasons why a cloud POC or specifically a Hybrid Cloud POC should never be ‘productionised’.

  1. Transformation – Regardless of which cloud technology you use, VMware/OpenStack/MS/Cisco, the criteria for a cloud POC is to show the orchestration and automation aspect. It is not catered for an end to end utilisation and transformation of the way a business looks at IT at a fundamental level. If there is a cloud vendor who tells you that moving to a cloud model isnt transformational, they are either delusional or not worth engaging. POCs dont handle transformation well.
  2. Integration – There is no extensibility (thanks @huberw and @timgleed for this word) or integration aspect that a company or a vendor would look at for a POC. If you are not going to integrate the cloud transformation into every single aspect of your company’s IT systems, you are not doing cloud correctly. And no vendor would agree to have integration or application extensibiity in a POC, purely because ‘how long is a piece of string’.
  3. Security- This is never done right in a POC. If you think you’re going to carry over the same aspect into production you are dreaming. If a vendor tells you they are serious about Security, dont take thier word for it. Security is something that all vendors (new and old) need to customise for each client. Security doesnt just mean network security or perimeter security or IPS etc. It also means user security and data security, most of the incidents around security or lack thereof happen internally more.
  4. XaaS strategy – Anything as a Service is a rabbit hole that noone ever gets out of. The simple reason being you always think of something else that can be automated or orchestrated. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except when you do this in a POC. Limit your exposure, do a lot of easy things or a few harder things, but never attempt to do everything.
  5. Limited resources- When doing a POC you have limited resources, well even if you dont see the point above. You are doing a POC because you want to prove something works the way you think or a vendor says it does. So there are going to be shortcuts taken, there will be things which arent perfect. Well its a POC remember its not meant to be perfect. Its not just hardware resources I am talking about, more important than the hardware resources, its the “human” tech resources or lack of it that place a lot of strain on POC.
  6. Project Management / Program Management – The journey to cloud should be treated as a major program, with multiple streams, specific goals and with limited time and budget. POC can be done without having any project management initiatives. Most of the prod environments with issues that i’ve seen are the ones where it was a POC and it was productionised. Guess what the POC wasnt run as a project or a program, because lets be honest, smaller POCs dont require Project Management. Cloud POC does.
  7. Disaster Recovery – So if you productionise your POC, where is your DR plan? Yep, cloud enviroments need DR / BC plans more stringently than non cloud ones. “Cloud doesnt have an outage, well unless you are Office 365 / Azure  😉 “.
  8. Limitless Scaling – No, unless all the business / application/ technical / user requirements are captured for a POC and you’ve built a pod architecture that scales limitlessly based on those requirements, scaling up or scaling out a Cloud POC for production is stupid. There I said it .
  9. SDN/SDS Strategy – If you dont have a SDN or a SDS strategy for your cloud environment, then stop reading this blog and go do your homework on Cloud 101.  When you’re ready to think about SDN/SDS make sure you identify each and every one of the requirements that has an effect on this. Most of the POCs dont have a SDN or SDS strategy.
  10. Business Representation: Thanks to my friend Grant Orchard (@grantorchard) for this point. Most of the POCs are done for the IT folk not including the business.  Without the involvment of business units and more importantly business owners, a cloud model doesnt work.

So there we are, a few reasons why a cloud POC should not be productionised. I am happy to get any feedback on why any one of these is not a good reasons or what other important reasons I’ve missed. 

Adios !!

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