Tips & Tricks
February 1, 2023
Over the years, we have learned a thing or two about building a good Azure platform. Here are some of our learnings, so you can avoid making costly mistakes.
It is important to get fundamentals right from the start. Otherwise, you will soon realize that you've been building yourself into a dead end. Changing things like networking, resource organization, or naming conventions will take effort once you've started building, and you might be stuck with your decisions for a long time. So, take a step back and think of how you want this to work before you start building. Your future cloud will thank you!
Once you have the most important piece in place, an MVP, make sure you get it out there and gather real user feedback. It is so easy to get stuck in the path of perfectionism, which ends up in you not delivering something usable until it is too late. And even worse, you might have built something no one asked for. By iterating with small pieces, you can quickly respond to your users' needs without discarding big investments.
One of the main purposes of a cloud platform is to enable your users. However, this doesn't mean everything should be done for them. If you solve specific things like deploying an App Service to help, you take away their autonomy by making them wait! This will cause frustration and ultimately make your users take things into their own hands, making your demanding work in vain. Instead, educate your users on how to make their own decisions and help themselves. And set guardrails to enforce standards and prevent bad decisions.
A platform implementation often gets the right people on board during a project. Then once the project is done, the team is disbanded, and all work might be handed over to someone who isn’t prepared (or maybe no one at all). This is an effective way of throwing away your investment since it will break without time and knowledge. You might not notice this when things are new and shiny, but it will show over time as they age. Factor in from the start that you will need to take care of your platform and that you will need the knowledge to do so. Does it sound complicated? That’s because it is!
Lastly, you will need to automate. Refrain from relying on manual processes and spreadsheets to perform daily tasks. Instead, replace them with software and storage. Need a new network? Deploy with Bicep and use a range from an IPAM. Need to keep track of who is responsible for a landing zone? Store it in a CMDB. Automation will make your job easier, less error-prone, and faster (as you capitalize on your automation), and your users will thank you for this.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when building a cloud platform. These are some things that might show up, but as with any complex project, anything can happen along the way. Good outcomes rarely correlate with good luck, and learning from your mistakes is part of the experience. Some things are, however, just better to avoid altogether, and that's where we can help guide you along the way.