By Lawrence Reddy, Chief Technology Office
Published 4 May 2021, Brainstorm

Cloud Patterns are well-defined prescriptions organisations use to move to the cloud and can fit into all aspects of the cloud journey, whether it is infrastructure architecture, application architecture, security, reliability, operations and even strategy.

Cloud patterns, although well-defined, can become problematic if they turn from serving the business outcomes, to becoming counterproductive, adding complexity, and technical debt.

Cloud Patterns then become known as Cloud Anti-Patterns, which can pose a serious threat to an organisation’s cloud campaign. Here, we look at five Anti-Patterns.

Fixation on modernisation and innovation

Modernisation and innovation are commonly used terms in cloud projects, and one of the top reasons why organisations choose cloud datacentre transformation.

But modernisation and innovation can become an Anti-Pattern when it turns into a fixation without going through the due diligence and analysis phases.

When a company considers a migration or modernisation project, it needs to understand potential application and server dependencies so that it can plan the modernisation project more accurately.

Companies tend to focus on visible components of an application and forget that, over time, even the simplest of applications can have extremely complex interdependencies with internal and external entities.

Most hyperscale cloud vendors have premigration assessments that help to identify dependencies or compatibility issues. Having this visibility can help business stakeholders more accurately quantify the modernisation effort or whether transitional target states should be deployed.

Application assessments can help identify coding Anti-Patterns, compatibility issues, and technical debt.

Modernise and innovate without guardrails

Another Anti-Pattern related to modernisation and innovation is when organisations only apply the guardrails during the production phase of a cloud project and not the preproduction phases. This is when cloud project starts to encounter cloud turbulence causing these projects to halt.

It is important to modernise and innovate with guardrails during all phases and all cloud environments. It will create less friction during the important phases of the cloud project.

Workload resiliency is never guaranteed

This Anti-Pattern is when customers plan their cloud journeys, go through all the efforts, achieve successful migrations, and then wonder why their workloads are not highly resilient in the cloud.

But hyperscale cloud applications are only resilient if they have been designed for it using cloud resilient capabilities.

If either the design or the capability in the region do not exist for all components of the application, companies will run into trouble when it comes to managing SLAs for the entire workload.

Fixing these retrospectively is challenging and might require re-architecting components.

Achieving guaranteed resiliency is a shared responsibility between the customer and the cloud vendor. It is never guaranteed without effort and planning before migrations.

Forcing Architectures

Another common trend is the dictating of cloud architectures for infrastructure, and cloud-native applications. Architectures are pivotal in determining the target state of a business application and core to cloud security teams understanding its integration into landing zones.

As crucial as cloud architectures are, they too can become Cloud Anti-Patterns.

Transition architectures might be better value and prove to be more suited for the cloud environment.

They should never be ruled out as an intermediate solution.

Lifting and shifting wholesale

The most common Cloud Anti-Pattern is the wholesale migration of existing systems, technologies, and methodologies to a hyperscale cloud. It is probably the easiest of the cloud patterns. The benefit is a quick start to getting into the cloud, but post-migration optimisation is not so easy to achieve when you have lifted and shifted thousands of virtual machines (VMs).

Wholesale lifting and shifting becomes an Anti-Pattern when it becomes the de-facto method for most workloads, and when each VM of an application is not assessed for its performance and utilisation profile, these need to be properly mapped individually, prior to being moved to the cloud.   Vaxowave is a firm advocate of fit-for-purpose cloud strategies and is the ideal partner to collaborate with on your cloud journey.