I love to shop, and when I buy an outfit I look at style, color, cost, machine wash or dry-clean only (aftercare), is it suitable for the event I’m going to? Most importantly, do I look great in it? This last part is essential for me, and as a result I rarely purchase clothes online; maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I like to ‘try my clothes on before I buy’. But, it’s important to note that some online shops allow you to try before you buy by having an easy “sale or return” policy, attractive for many buyers.
It got me thinking about my work and how often I come across companies who look at spending a lot of money to move their IT to a different environment such as Cloud or to a new datacenter, maybe virtualize their environment, without ever realising that they could ‘try before they buy’. Providers of cloud/managed services and datacenter moves cannot a “sale or return” due to the commitment to make the change. This makes the offer of ‘try before you buy’ even more important.
A few years back I was at a ZCMI store trying on an outfit that to say looked completely wrong, would be an understatement. An enthusiastic sales lady came up and gushed about how great the colour looked, how it accentuated all the right bits – basically saying it was perfect for me. The truth was that the color made me look sallow, the cut was really not flattering, and I understood that all she wanted was the sale. I recognised that as a person I wasn’t important to her, I was only important as a potential buyer. The objective of your potential provider for Cloud or Datacenter solutions is to sell, and all that ‘trying it out’ gets in the way! But your job isn’t to buy, it’s to make your life and the life of your company better.
Now, imagine the scenario of a cloud provider telling you that before you buy you can see for yourselves, how it will perform, what, if any, are the potential pitfalls, what might comprise post-deployment performance, what about Response Time metrics, pre-deployment performance metrics, can the cloud provider can achieve more? So how is this achieved? Network emulation/replication has been used for years by large banks and the military, as getting things right was a ‘must’. Today this technology offers the same assurances to companies moving their applications into a networked environment, where they can replicate the entire network experience, including the conditions, the types of networks, and how the components will cope.
It’s really worth being aware of what’s out there, because when moving applications or changing to different types of networks, the premise should be that, as a buyer, you should know exactly what you are getting for your money. Your business is important to you. The provider cares about the sale. Make sure that along with every aspect on offer that the fit is right for you, that the performance is what you need. Availability should be a given, but performance is a more subtle point as it seems more subjective. Who makes the decision that performance is poor? Also, what performance related factors will be measured? Where would your evidence be if your users start to gain a poor experience?
So, analogies aside it’s right to get your ‘move’ right by understanding and experiencing how your business applications will perform in the cloud over in new networks, especially if moving from a LAN-based environment today to a WAN- based networked environment tomorrow. Your applications will have to experience the mixed conditions of different networked environments, and if we are looking at mobile applications and mobile networks, this becomes even more essential to understand what this will mean for your customers and staff as these networks are highly variable. So when it comes to choosing a Cloud or datacenter provider who says they will make your IT life easier, try it out first, it’s a small cost to pay to get it right.