Tip #1: Managing your Relationship with your Cloud Provider
CEO & Co-founder
In this 5-part weekly blog series, we will explore some of the most important steps that Post-Production entities should consider in their migration to the cloud. As more Studios, Animation and VFX companies adapt to distributed and remote teams, the need to explore cloud-based software and orchestration technology is a must. New budgets are being established with a major focus on reducing capex for on-premise infrastructure in favor of secure cloud environments which enable all the content creation tools and infrastructure required to make simple content to the most complex motion imagery. Therefore, it is critical to consider what it takes to be successful in this new normal of the COVID and post-COVID era.
As a jumping point, let’s start off with an overview of what it takes to successfully manage your relationship with a Cloud provider.
Cloud providers can be very helpful in the following ways:
- They can offer discounts*
- They can offer integration funds*
- They can help you determine what service(s) you should migrate first (In general, it is smart to start with storage or a point solution and work your way through the workflow).
*A consumption commitment is generally required.
What to be mindful of when working with a Cloud provider:
- Hidden expenses: Egress fees, intra-networking fees, different types of storage and its varying performance. Make sure you watch the pricing per region for each set of infrastructure services you require. Price swings are real!.
- Tech gotchas:
- Be sure to understand the I/O (input/output) velocities for your entire workflow. Goal being to identify parts of your workflow that cannot afford latency or other performance impedances.
- Be sure to choose the right kind of Storage & Networking as this has huge impacts on performance and cost.
- Simplify your code when connecting to your cloud partner’s APIs, then extend your code to develop easy error-trapping. Public clouds are complex and run conditions do occur – error trapping and logging will be must-haves in identifying problems.
- Make sure you are clear about your projects’ and clients’ security needs. Many projects in our industry require dedicated infrastructure resources (single tenancy) whereas others will allow you to use the same infrastructure resources, but will assess your data at rest, motion and storage architecture to confirm that the project work is secure and separated from all other works.
Relationship management with your Cloud provider:
- Get to know your cloud thought-partners & team - this usually involves the account manager, a SME (subject matter expert) per your industry, and a technical lead or architect.
- Have your workflow ready to share - the gory details are not required, but general data workflows should be supplied. This will help troubleshoot issues with your Cloud partner and determine if it is code you need to refactor/streamline) or if it is the cloud partner’s API or infrastructure issues.
- Do not be afraid to ask bold questions and make requests. Cloud providers want you to succeed and are generally willing to help in any way they can, but be careful of the upsell. The new shiny object is tempting to play with and try out, but make sure you have your requirements ready to share and make sure you ask to see more than one option. I advise you to make time in your sprint cycle to test and benchmark performance, but if you need to move quickly, make sure you get in writing what the performance and costs are and confirm the expected outcome.
Working with your Cloud partner’s Support Teams:
- Organize all of your trouble/support tickets and request a 15-minute weekly stand up to resolve any issues. Last thing you want to do is to become the Cloud provider’s QA/test organization. Create a schedule and timeline for when you expect the items to be resolved. Do not be afraid to escalate and use those logs and error-trap records you implemented to provide an increased sense of urgency and expectation. Speculation of what an issue could be halts progress. Get the info!
- COMMON MISTAKE: Do NOT rely on your Cloud provider to be your integrator. Although they may have some subject matter expertise, they usually will require a consumption commitment of cloud services. This CAN be good if you know you will have on-going productions and/or you have long-standing customers. Commitments to infrastructure consumption may be a bit too risky if you are a small company. Your Cloud partner is generally willing to invest in your transformation or strategic client efforts on a ratio that is commensurate with your spend.
Are you ready to migrate your creative & design projects to the cloud? Want to learn more about solutions that are enabling global teams to operate more efficiently in the cloud? Let’s talk!
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