Nov 28, 2017 3:00 AM

When it comes to the cloud, don’t start with technology

Too many companies pick the technology first, and then get stuck in the weeds trying to figure out what the business actually needs

Tony Alter (CC BY 2.0)

It’s easy to get caught up in the technology of cloud computing. We’ll certainly see that occur at the annual AWS Re:Invent show this week, where hundreds of providers  will show off new and shiny technology.   

But don’t get stuck in the weeds.

I’m all for using the best cloud technology for security, platforms, governance, monitoring, management, and now machine learning and internet of things (IoT). But getting too down in the weeds with the technology could mean that you’re missing the bigger picture, making your solution suboptimal as a result.

What I suggest you do instead is spend some time doing a logical plan and a logical architecture. That means planning and designing your cloud solution without considering the technology you’re going to use.

In that effort, ignore the functions, advantages, and limitations of the hundreds of types and brands of cloud technology out there. If you remove those details from your plan and architecture work, you’ll get a much better result, one that is more in sync with the needs of the business. Only then do you get into the technological weeds to figure out the right technology for that logical plan and architecture.

After all, you really have no idea of what public or private cloud are optimal for your specific needs, as well as no idea about security, governance, monitoring, and so on, until you do an in-depth analysis of your own business requirements.

I’m not asking that you ignore the technology altogether, only that you think first about what you’re trying to accomplish at a much higher level of abstraction. Then, once you understand the requirements and the logical solution, you can go nuts with the technology—meaning the technology you know now is the right technology.

Too many companies pick the technology first, and then figure out what the business needs. That’s just crazy, but it happens all the time. Don’t be that kind of company.