What ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Can Teach Us About Enterprise Backups in the Cloud
By Matt Odle, Senior Solutions Architect, cStor
The cloud has, no doubt, revolutionized the world of information technology. Its value and uses to companies of all shapes and sizes are literally endless. But what many companies are also realizing is that so are the potential costs.
According to a 2022 study by Flexera (“Cloud Computing Trends: Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report,” March 2022), many organizations are struggling to control cloud spending.
A 2021 survey of 753 respondents from large enterprises and SMBs reported that spending on public cloud exceeded budgets by an average of 13%, while most expected cloud spending to increase by 29% over the next twelve months.
While enterprise-sized businesses, for the most part, recognize the need to increase cloud spending to support evolving business requirements, they’re also bogged down by complexity and legacy systems. Sure, most have developed mature, cloud-based strategies by now, but we’re seeing more of them working toward creating 2nd and even 3rd copies of their environments in the cloud despite that maturity level.
Yikes! Can you say budget overrun?!
“Put that in your pentagon budget.”
Events Driving the Need for More Cloud Backups and Flexibility
Maybe it’s the global uncertainty with geo-political events… Or economic uncertainty… Maybe it’s increasing competition… Or the pressure to out-pace innovation… Or maybe it’s ‘all of the above.’
Whatever the driving force might be, many companies have decided it’s a ‘must-have’ part of their IT strategy, and CTOs are pushing forward with all engines firing on full thrust towards a solution, sooner versus later.
I’ve worked in IT for enterprise organizations long enough to know that rushing toward such a solution without proper planning is often a recipe for failure, or a lot of dollars wasted… or both.
What CTOs Really Want, Whether They’re Saying it Or Not
Clients are growing increasingly anxious about cost-effectively leveraging the cloud, yet they are still adamant about not starting over with their environment. They also want to maintain control and utilize existing infrastructure management tools so that their teams can ‘take over as co-pilot’ without having to learn how to ‘fly a new jet’ while it’s in mid-flight.
Management might be shouting from the corner office that they need to reduce data center storage, labor, power and cooling costs, but what they’re also saying is, “I want more flexibility and control to turn on a dime when needed. I want to stop being beholden to world events or specific vendors. I want to modernize my business processes without exploding my cloud costs in the process, and I want to take more control of our supply chain.”
If you’re thinking at this point, “That’s a mighty tall order,” you’re not alone. But when you hear that some companies are waiting 90+ days for servers, 180+ days for new routers and switches – or worse, some are a 12+ month wait – you begin to better understand their ‘full-throttle’ approach.
What Top Gun: Maverick Can Teach Us About Enterprise Backups in the Cloud
Whether you’re a Top Gun fan of the original 1986 film or the 2022 legacy sequel – or neither – there are some perfect parallels to figuring out the best approach to leveraging the cloud to accomplish this ‘tall order.’
1. It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.
Translation: it’s not the specific cloud type or vendor that’s most important when you want to create multiple cloud backups, it’s the strategy behind the move that counts. You can break the bank fast if you think you need to create 2nd or 3rd backups of your entire infrastructure, or even major parts. Start with a small portion, such as part of the network or an enterprise app, then test to be sure it performs as needed with no degradation or failure points.
2. Run simulations until you pass out.
Translation: start small with a ‘pilot light’ in the cloud that’s turned on and ready to go, supporting a critical piece of the business, but that’s already backed up elsewhere. Then, test it every which way you can, over and over. The key is to have anytime access to the cloud with key components that are manageable cost-wise to maintain, but also give you the flexibility to scale up or down fast at any point.
3. Set your targets accurately and monitor the flight deck.
Translation: get your metrics right before you start a pilot and monitor them closely during your test runs. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for with a 2nd or 3rd backup in the cloud, your tests will go awry and your budget could easily explode… before you even launch your full ‘flight plan.’ The typical on-premise metrics such as latency to storage don’t matter anymore. Be sure you’re monitoring for user performance degradation and how seamlessly applications are integrating mid-flight. Make sure you also understand metrics such as how the cloud is affecting the network access, as well as what kind of backup, data transfer and database access times you need.
Preparation and Planning Make for a Successful Mission
The most critical part of a successful mission is preparation and planning. As in the film, the team had a life-threatening mission that meant global catastrophe if they failed. I’m not trying to be an alarmist; I’m only making one last parallel: creating multiple cloud backups at the enterprise level takes careful, skilled planning and a diligent ‘flight plan’ based on testing and clear metrics.
If you’re considering a similar ‘mission’ for your enterprise business and are anxious about where to start, the cStor team of experts can help. Alongside us, our best-in-class partners are actively helping large organizations effectively plan, test, launch and maintain all the moving parts of a large-scale cloud backup strategy, and we can help you too.