My Wife's Perspective: Try-Before-You-Buy Avoids Cloud Migration Disappointment
July 11, 2014

Jim Swepson

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My wife loves to shop, and even more so when I give her access to my credit card. I was recently with her when she was looking to purchase an outfit for a wedding. She already had an idea on what she wanted as she had searched online for ideas and costs. But when it came to the actual experience of choosing an outfit I will admit to being pretty exasperated! Each outfit she looked at was viewed by style, color, cost, machine wash or dry-clean only (aftercare). But, and this is the point I believed was the most important – did she look great in it? She's my wife and of course she looked good in every outfit! I realized quickly that although this was normally the required response, shopping was a very different matter.

My irritation grew and I asked her why she just didn't purchase the outfit online? I received a withering look and the comment “I like to try my clothes on before I buy.” I quietly stated that some online shops allow you to try before you buy by having an easy “sale or return” policy, attractive for many buyers. She wasn't convinced.

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 realizing that they could "try before they buy". Providers of cloud/managed services and datacenter moves cannot not offer a “sale or return” due to the commitment to make the change. This makes the offer of "try before you buy" even more important.

I remembered an occasion a few years back when I was dating my wife, we were at a ZCMI store where she was trying on outfits (again). It wasn't long before we left the shop promptly without her buying the outfit. She explained that the outfit looked completely wrong! I recalled the enthusiastic sales lady had gushed to her about how great the color looked, how it accentuated all the right bits – basically saying it was perfect for her. My wife explained that the color was all wrong, the cut was really not flattering, and she had understood that the sales lady didn't care. She recognized that the sales lady was only interested in the sale, she was only important as a potential buyer. This was a perceptive observation and going back to sourcing the right cloud or datacenter solutions, the job 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. Taking a leaf out of my wife's shopping habits - 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 or 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.

Jim Swepson is a Pre-sales Technologist at Itrinegy.

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