To standardise or not to standardise that is the question?

Firms looking to move their infrastructure and processes to the web, are faced by the key questions of how and when should they standardise both their environments and processes. Those working in the industry will cite the mantra ‘never outsource something until it is efficient and well documented’. Does this apply to the cloud as well?

We all know the problems associated with inconsistent processes, system builds and versions. Industry practitioners will give examples of tests on systems that work perfectly but fail when moved to a live environment and the root cause is either different processes, inconsistent and incompatible versions of software, or their configuration. Perfectly good tests are invalidated when the environment does not match the true target.  A move to cloud provision, whether SaaS or IaaS, removes this pain and risk immediately the transfer is complete, the management of environments is now industrialised and, when done correctly, assured by the same service and build for all customers. However, it is worth noting that the whole concept of private cloud invalidates some of this assurance.

BUT, and it is a big BUT it does not remove the pain of the transfer to the cloud service in the first place. Clearly the more homogenous the starting environment the less the pain and risk of the project to move services to the cloud. So, we return the the rhetorical question at the top. There is a clear cost benefit and risk assessment needed of when to standardise, before you move, or when you move. This is separate to, but supplements, the overall cost-benefit of the move.  So we are back to project disciplines and good financial management again, the recurring theme of this blog perhaps.