Does your company still maintain a datacenter, has it co-located the equipment in the premise of a third party, or has your company migrated the workloads to a PaaS or IaaS provider? Or have you taken a hybrid approach and moved some part of the datacenter to another premise or provider?
Is there a plan to make a change in this configuration?
Has there been discussions?
As an IT architect, and more importantly as an IT consultant, these questions come up daily. I am having this conversation with clients, with colleagues and using these questions to assess new technologies.
But before I can start discussing the options above, I need to know:
What is the business goal driving the conversation?
Does the business need to upgrade legacy systems but can’t afford the capital expenses?
Does the business need to reduce IT spending – software maintenance, power and cooling costs?
Does the business need to increase operational flexibility?
Does the business need additional capacity for seasonal demands or higher usage times?
Does the business need a better DR strategy?
The first questions is obvious – What does the business need?
The second question is tougher – How do you pick the right choice?
What is the time frame to determine if one path is correct, and what risks are you considering?
Is the business only looking at the monthly costs of this option?
Is making a change going to save money over the next 5 years?
What is IT spending projected to be under the status quo compared to what it would be in the new configuration?
What will be the costs of the transition project?
What are the risks of having business data off site?
Could legislation or industry regulations change restricting these options and how would the business respond?
What would the cost to the business be if the PaaS or IaaS provider can’t meet their SLA?
What if the company needs to reverse course?
These questions are not designed to cause paralysis. It is important the business understand all these costs and risks so that it doesn’t blindly chase the next big thing only to find it was a mirage. Hopefully fleshing out all these details will provide the business with a better understanding of how IT helps the business, and provide IT with a better understanding of the business they support.