What is the Cloud Adoption Framework?
All the hyperscale cloud providers – all three of them (Azure, AWS, and GCP) – know that to get the most value out of your investment, you must adopt the cloud and the cloud concepts properly – otherwise, you will invest less in the future.
One struggle the account teams in these hyperscale cloud providers have (and yes, that includes the account team that works with you) is your speed of adoption, which is limited (and therefore impacts their KPIs and their promotions and bonuses) by your struggles with getting things done quickly, at scale, and with definitive and recognizable business benefits.
So, your and your organization’s lack of proper cloud adoption is not only making it difficult for your organization to avail of the benefits of the cloud, but it may also in fact limit the cloud adoption by your internal teams. And of course, think of your cloud account team and their bonuses. While this is just a bit facetious, it really is not a win for anyone. Luckily, the only win case here is for everyone to win by adopting the cloud in the right way. Doing what this book advises is good for everyone, including the broader consumer market, and is the only way for your organization to stop struggling and start enjoying cloud adoption.
What exactly is the benefit of this book over comprehensive resources that are available freely online? Great question. What you will get from those guides is a lot of insight into the specifics of each cloud, but what you won’t get is the years of experience working with clients, helping you avoid pitfalls and letting you know what and how to prioritize your way out of these. Also, all these lack any humor whatsoever. And sometimes they are just plain wrong – they lack any insight into your organization. Every organization has its quirks, its legacy issues, and its future plans, and so what we are doing in this book is guiding you on a path where you can confidently pick and choose (cherry-pick, if you will) what will and won’t work for your organization.
Should you read all about every cloud service or just focus on the subset that your organization is adopting? Another great question, you absolute legend, but one you already know the answer to. Yes. Read (skim through) all the available documentation. You will learn a lot. Sometimes what you learn you will also remember if you’ve read it multiple times. You will also learn the subtle, nuanced differences between the providers. And you will learn what their priorities are and who their target audience seems to be. You might be surprised.
One thing you must resist though, is the temptation to adopt everything you read online, hence this book. Otherwise, you will sacrifice agility for premature optimization. And the providers’ own account teams will try and take you on a journey of fully adopting these in the way they are written. This is 100% wrong. Calling it right here. Yes, absolutely you should work with them and their wealth of knowledge, but on your own terms after fully understanding the causes and effects each of the recommendations will have on one thing – your organization’s agility (that is, your organization’s ability to deliver business value).
So which hyperscale cloud provider is best?
Amazing question. So original. No, I always get asked it, having experience with all three clouds. So here is my definitive answer – just an opinion though, so think carefully before writing me a nasty “Well, actually…” note! It’s a short opinion, so missing a lot of nuances, but you are not here for nuanced opinions – no one ever is.
Azure is best for two target audiences: enterprise companies and everyone who hates the AWS console. Enterprise companies cannot find a better partner out there than Microsoft. You are using Office 365 and/or you have legacy enterprise software and/or own data centers and/or need commercial support selling your software and services. No company other than Microsoft will serve you better or support you better. And Azure portal blades are the best thing since sliced bread. The AWS console is holding their customers back – literally. For start-ups, look elsewhere unless you are on the Microsoft stack, then pick Azure. However, you will be on your own – Microsoft will throw you a bone sometimes (such as through the Microsoft for Startups program), but it is up to you to get things done. Once you start scaling customers and profit, welcome – you are now an enterprise company. Talk to Microsoft again.
AWS is best if you are a start-up focused on business value rather than geeking out over technology. If technology is a means to a business end, AWS is for you. It has easily the best marketplace, easily the best support (hello, chat), and is the easiest path to take, if you are not all in on the Microsoft stack. All services are there for you. Just pick them and scale.
GCP is for the technology geeks and those start-ups with a deep affinity to the way Google services work. If technology is your business, GCP is for you. This is the true home of any SRE. And if you are in the advertising space, GCP is your valued partner. Do not buy into any early access or new and innovative market-making service though as Google is famous for killing or abandoning services. If all you do is AI, GCP is for you as well. If AI is a valuable piece of your overall business, you are better off with AWS or Azure.
Two final thoughts: one, you won’t go wrong picking any of these if you are a capable individual and a robust and knowledgeable organization, so don’t stress it too much; two, none of this matters anyway, as your organization’s CEO will pick a hyperscale cloud provider, throw $50 or $500 million at them and commit your organization to them for the next 5 years (and beyond) and you will have to just deal with it. So there!