Oils ain’t Oils and Neither are Calculators.

Some of you may remember the Castrol oil commercials on Australian television throughout the late 1980’s where they claimed than not all oils are created equally.  – If not indulge yourself in 43 seconds of nostalgic cinematic genius.

1988 CASTROL GTX2 Oils Ain’t Oils

Such is true with cloud pricing calculators. Whilst these are invaluable tools for putting together an order of magnitude estimate on a bill of materials, they do little to attract, engage and delight customers.

One of the main differences between a pricing estimate output from regular vendor calculators and a cloudstep model is that with a cloudstep model, all focus is placed on the consumer’s business and the cloudstep consulting partners’ unique relationship with them.

Why is cloudstep more than just a calculator?

  • Cloudstep models are multidimensional and provide a mechanism to accurately account for all the costs that represent the true total cost of ownership.
  • More than a spreadsheet – build 5 year forward projections for business as usual vs migration scenarios.
  • Cloudstep models on-premisses, IaaS, SaaS and PaaS solutions.
  • Model, manage and track phased migrations which involve multiple waves or batches of application migrations.
  • Measure actual vs projected expenditure, ingest Azure bills to identify and manage variances.

A pathway to mutually beneficial consulting engagements.

Cloudstep was built from the ground up by cloud consultants, that understand the need for consulting firms to build strong strategic relationships with their customers.

Cloudstep models unlock opportunity within businesses by building trust and credibility, thus leading to significant momentum gained with consumers. Cloudstep  is about adding value at every stage in your customer’s journey with you,  from the initial awareness or interest in alternate IT arrangements all the way through post-migration and ongoing measurement of IT operational expenditure.

Granularity and Complexity

Whilst it is true that high degrees of granularity often result in complexity, cloudstep has tooling to get started in as little as 10 minutes, designed to help consulting firms quickly engage with their customers business and begin to foster stronger relationships.

Cloudstep provides a means to have more meaningful conversations with prospects, creating genuine relationships with them. Quickly share relevant content that can be refined and built upon as you get to know your consumers’ unique needs.

Plan, Transition, Manage

Continue to engage with consumers, even long after their journey to the cloud.

Successful IT leaders understand If you don’t measure success in terms of what’s truly important to your organisation, you can’t work towards getting there.

Cloudstep makes it easy to measure actual vs projected expenditure, providing a means for your consulting team to continue to engage and offer strategic advice and services.

Cloudstep creates happy customers who turn into brand ambassadors and send more customers your way.

cloudstep – The value proposition for consulting firms.

Cloudstep is a tool for consulting firms, built by a consulting firm. It makes it easy to capture existing capital and operational IT expenditure for an organisation and make accurate comparisons against alternate IT delivery options.

We built cloudstep to make it easy to sell consulting engagements for professional services focused around cloud migrations.

Build 5 year forward projections for business as usual vs cloud migration scenarios based on evidence and hard costs, not speculation.

We understand the need for consulting firms to build strong strategic relationships with their customers.

Position your consulting firm as a trusted advisor with outputs that are easy to share, confidence inspiring and make it easy for CFOs and CIOs to stand behind.

Cloudstep models unlock opportunity within businesses by building trust and credibility. Cloudstep is about adding value at every stage in your customer’s journey with you, from the initial awareness or interest in alternate IT arrangements all the way through post-migration and ongoing measurement of IT operational expenditure.

Cloudstep creates happy customers who turn into brand ambassadors and send more customers your way.

The Cloud – Anagnorisis and Peripeteia

In my work here at Cloudstep we have two distinct sides to our business, a consulting practice “Jtwo Solutions” and a cloud modelling software and services practice “Cloudstep”. Working on both sides of these businesses affords me the benefit of hands on consulting, technical architecture and implementation as well as scenario based cost modelling activities with a wide range of government and commercial customers.

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on what it is that makes me happy about working with customers within these businesses.  I decided to set my self the challenge of coming up with just two words that could be used to articulate this in a concise form.

After reflecting on this for some time, two words come to mind, “Anagnorisis and Peripeteia”. After sleeping on it for a few days, these words seem to have stuck.

So what the hell is Anagnorisis and Peripeteia. . . ? In short, Aristotle made these words famous (for me anyway).


Anagnorisis:  the transition or change from ignorance to knowledge.

Peripeteia: a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances or situation.

When considering the meaning of these two words, I think they elegantly describe the two way street that is IT consulting and cost modelling. I’ve always enjoyed the excitement of the changing IT landscape, ever evolving, disruptive yet inspiring and endlessly yielding of new opportunities.

Opportunity is what business thrives on, competitive advantage can be found here. Businesses that capitalise on the right new knowledge / technology win. The trouble is, that new is only short lived and you have to stay ahead of the curve. In the fast paced, evolving IT space, anagnorisis is something you are constantly chasing.  

I repeatedly find myself in the position of educator and student, both assisting clients with the relentless learning and learning myself. This is delightful, challenging and terrifying all at the same time, but it’s what makes IT interesting and enjoyable for me.

This brings me to the second word. . . peripeteia.  Cloudstep provides customers with a multi-dimensional view of the cost of delivery of application workloads. We do this by modelling, teams of people, the functions they carry out, the applications they use, the infrastructure the applications live on and the underlying hosting costs of the infrastructure (servers, storage, networks, data centres).

With this data we can accurately articulate the true cost of a specific workload and conduct fair comparison with alternative delivery models like software as a service or a public cloud implementation.

Anagnorisis happens here too, but what is really beautiful is the peripeteia that this knowledge can enable. Cloudstep helps provide businesses with clarity and can enable them to see the most cost effective path forward. For me, I find happiness is the situation where a business can shift their focus from any undifferentiated workloads and shift the focus of their IT resources towards workloads that are specific to their core business, directing efforts towards innovation in their own space.

The future in IT that, I imagine, is one where we don’t have to spend as much time on undifferentiated workloads rather, one where we have more time to thrive on the new opportunities that are yet to come.

Azure PowerShell ‘Az’ Module


Microsoft released a new PowerShell module specifically for Azure late last year called “Az”. On the plus side Az ensures that Windows PowerShell and PowerShell Core users can get the latest Azure tooling from PowerShell on every platform be it Windows PowerShell or PowerShell Core for my preferred operating system macOs.

Microsoft state that the Az module will be updated on a two-week cadence and will always be up-to-date, so that’s nice.

I’ve resisted upgrading to the new Az module until the completion of a recent customer engagement so as to avoid any complexity that a switch in modules may introduce. Call me risk adverse I know. . .So now that the project is complete, I’m excited to make the switch.

Ok so how do I upgrade from AzureRM to Az?

If you’ve been using PowerShell for Azure, you undoubtedly already have the AzureRM module installed. So its out with the old and in with the new. . . To accomplish this task I made use of some simple PowerShell to find the modules installed with a name like AzureRM and then uninstall them. Here is the code I lazily leached from my colleague Arran Peterson after he successfully uninstalled the old modules.

Remove all the old AuzreRM modules first . . .

$azurerm = get-module -ListAvailable | ? {$_.Name -like “AzureRM*”}

ForEach ($module in $azurerm) {

$name = $module.Name

$version = $module.Version

Uninstall-Module -Name $Name -MaximumVersion $version -Force


At the time of writing this blog the latest version available from the PowerShell Gallery is 1.5.0 https://www.powershellgallery.com/packages/Az/1.5.0

To install the module simply open PowerShell on your machine and enter:

Install-Module -Name Az

Boom its that easy. . .

Ok Great, but wont this break all my scripts?

So when I first heard of the new module and the change in cmdlet namespace, my first reaction was shock. .  I’ve produced loads of PowerShell for customers over the past couple of years that use the “azurerem” named cmdlets.

Microsoft state on their PowerShell Az blog that ‘Users are not required to migrate from AzureRM, as AzureRM will continue to be supported. However, it is important to note that all new Azure PowerShell features will appear only in ‘Az’.’  So my old stuff would continue to work, but they also state ‘Az and AzureRM cannot be executed in the same PowerShell session.’ So I’d need to make customers aware that they cannot mix AzureRm and Az cmdlets within a single session.

This all sounds like a bunch of annoying conversations and explanations I’d be faced with, I began to feel frustrated and was questioning why Microsoft saw the need to rename all of their cmdlets. I could feel a hate blog brewing. . .

However, as I read more I came across a diamond in the rough. . .AzureRM Aliases. Ah someone at Microsoft has considered my pain. . I could feel the catharsis as I read the official migration guide https://github.com/Azure/azure-powershell/blob/master/documentation/migration-guides/Az.1.0.0-migration-guide.md and came across the following statement. ‘To make the transition to these new cmdlet names simpler, Az introduces two new cmdlets, Enable-AzureRmAlias and Disable-AzureRmAlias. Enable-AzureRmAlias creates aliases from the older cmdlet names in AzureRM to the newer Az cmdlet names. The cmdlet allows creating aliases in the current session, or across all sessions by changing your user or machine profile.’

What Now?

Its time for a coffee then back to more PowerShell. . Happy Days. .

IPv6 – slowly but surely

I first blogged about IPv6 and the reasons for its slow adoption way back in 2014. A lot can change in the world of ICT over the course of five years, but interestingly the reasons for slow adoption I believe have remained somewhat constant. I’ve updated my post to include some new thoughts.

The first time I recall there being a lot of hype about IPv6 was way back in the early 2000’s, ever since then the topic seems to get attention every once in a while and then disappears into insignificance alongside more exciting IT news.

The problem with IPv4 is that there are only about 3.7 billion public IPv4 addresses. Whilst this may initially sound like a lot, take a moment to think about how many devices you currently have that connect to the Internet. Globally we have already experienced a rapid uptake of Internet connected smart-phones and the recent hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to connect an even larger array of devices to the Internet. With a global population (according to http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/) of approx. 7.7 billion people we just don’t have enough to go around.

Back in the early 2000’s there was limited support in the form of hardware and software that supported IPv6. So now that we have wide spread hardware and software IPv6 support, why is it that we haven’t all switched?

Like most things in the world it’s often determined by the capacity to monetise an event. Surprisingly not all carriers / ISP’s are on board and some are reluctant to spend money to drive the switch. APNIC have stats (https://stats.labs.apnic.net/ipv6/) that suggest Australia is currently sitting at 14% uptake, lagging behind other developed countries.

Network address translation (NAT) and Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR), have made it much easier to live with IPv4. NAT used on firewalls and routers lets many nodes in a network sit behind a single public IP address. CIDR, sometimes referred to as supernetting is a way to allocate and specify the Internet addresses used in inter-domain routing in a much more flexible manner than with the original system of Internet Protocol (IP) address classes. As a result, the number of available Internet addresses has been greatly increased and has allowed service providers to conserve addresses by divvying up pieces of a full range of IP addresses to multiple customers.

Unsurprisingly enterprise adoption in Australia is slow, perceived risk comes into play. It is plausible that many companies may be of the view that the introduction of IPv6 is somewhat unnecessary and potentially risky in terms of effort required to implement and loss of productivity during implementation. Most corporations are simply not feeling any pain with IPv4 so it’s not on their short term radar as being of any level of criticality to their business. When considering IPv6 implementation from a business perspective, the successful adoption of new technologies are typically accompanied by some form of reward or competitive advantage associated with early adoption. The potential for financial reward is often what drives significant change.

To IPv6’s detriment from the layperson’s perspective it has little to distinguish itself from IPv4 in terms of services and service costs. Many of IPv4’s short comings have been addressed. Financial incentives to make the decision to commence widespread deployment just don’t exist.

We have all heard the doom and gloom stories associated with the impending end of IPv4. Surely this should be reason enough for accelerated implementation of IPv6? Why isn’t everyone rushing to implement IPv6 and mitigate future risk? The situation where exhaustion of IPv4 addresses would cause rapid escalation in costs to consumers hasn’t really happened yet and has failed to be a significant factor to encourage further deployment of IPv6 in the Internet.

Another factor to consider is backward compatibility. IPv4 hosts are unable to address IP packets directly to an IPv6 host and vice-versa. So this means that it is not realistic to just switch over a network from IPv4 to IPv6. When implementing IPv6 a significant period of dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 coexistence needs to take place. This is where IPv6 is turned on and run in parallel with the existing IPv4 network. Again from an Enterprise perspective, I suspect this just sounds like two networks instead of one and double administrative overhead for most IT decision makers.

Networks need to provide continued support for IPv4 for as long as there are significant levels of IPv4 only networks and services still deployed. Many IT decision makers would rather spend their budget elsewhere and ignore the issue for another year.

Only once the majority of the Internet supports a dual stack environment can networks start to turn off their continued support for IPv4. Therefore, while there is no particular competitive advantage to be gained by early adoption of IPv6, the collective internet wide decommissioning of IPv4 is likely to be determined by the late adopters.

So what should I do?

It’s important to understand where you are now and arm yourself with enough information to plan accordingly.

  • Check if your ISP is currently supporting IPv6 by visiting a website like http://testmyipv6.com/. There is a dual stack test which will let you know if you are using IPv4 alongside IPv6.
  • Understand if the networking equipment you have in place supports IPv6.
  • Understand if all your existing networked devices (everything that consumes an IP address) supports IPv6.
  • Ensure that all new device acquisitions are fully supportive of IPv6.
  • Understand if the services you consume support IPv6. (If you are making use of public cloud providers, understand if the services you consume support IPv6 or have a road map to IPv6.)

Whilst there is no official switch-off date for IPv4. The reality is that IPv6 isn’t going away and as IT decision makers we can’t postpone planning for its implementation indefinitely. Take the time now to understand where your organisation is at. Make your transition to IPv6 a success story!!