A Beginner’s Guide • businessupdates.org

by Ana Lopez

The promise of bearing hardware costs have pushed startups to migrate services to the cloud, but many teams didn’t know how to do it efficiently or cost-effectively. Developers at startups thought they could maintain multiple application codebases that work independently with each cloud provider.

Now they have realized that it is too time consuming to manage, and there is no honor in trying to be everything to everyone.

Deploying a cloud infrastructure also involves analyzing tools and software solutions, such as application monitoring and activity logging, leaving many developers suffering from analysis paralysis. Therefore, cloud monogamy is the generally accepted operating principle for startups. But not every company has the luxury of operating within those boundaries indefinitely.

Realistically, it is essential to analyze the available tools before choosing a cloud infrastructure provider to keep application maturity and operating costs under control.

You need either:

  • Experienced developers to maintain architectural integrity, maintainability and licensing considerations, or
  • A cloud platform built to adapt to the changing landscape and to build, migrate and manage cloud applications.

Until you get it, here are some best practices to get you started. Let’s take a look at the issues startups face with the cloud, how to define the outcome of your cloud applications, how to know when your cloud infrastructure needs to be updated, and how to use a combination of tools.

Analyze where you stand and learn about cloud issues at startup

When it comes to cloud infrastructure, there are two levels for startups:

It is essential to analyze the available tools before choosing a cloud infrastructure provider to keep application maturity and ongoing costs under control.

  1. Early stage startups building their first minimum viable product. These companies want to deploy minimal cloud computing to reduce infrastructure costs and technical decisions so they can focus on product and market strategy.
  2. Startups with products that have traction. These companies are concerned about the future of their cloud infrastructure in terms of security, scalability, and maintainability. However, they are not big enough to hire a team of experts.

Founders and decision makers at both levels struggle with the deep technical expertise needed to manage cloud computing. For example, I was approached by a mid-market startup that built their solution in AWS, but the only focus was getting everything up and running (Level 1). Therefore, it had built up technical debt and its cloud architecture was complex, with hundreds of servers, several dozen unique services, third-party tools, partial logging, and poorly implemented service meshing.

Then this company signed a new customer in China who insisted on having their entire cloud solution on Azure-China, a subset of Azure (tier 2). The company was clueless in this new environment.

Building parallel solutions that have parity on different cloud providers can be costly and require enormous effort. But the alternative for this company was losing an important contract. They had no choice.

To duplicate and retool code to work on two disparate environments, the company’s developers could have faced further analysis paralysis in trying to learn all the implementations, services, and considerations. Therefore, startups need platforms to create cloud-agnostic architecture, write code and automate deployments to their target cloud(s) while performing relevant testing and security validations.

Work out the result you want to deliver

Many startups follow a “build and fix model” for cloud infrastructure. That’s because startup developers choose the first tool they see and then the company is bound (because of licensing or tight coupling). Or they take someone’s recommendation, who may not be optimal in terms of interacting with other cloud layers. Then the lack of proper analysis and experimentation with available tools leads to difficult compromises and unwanted business blockages.

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