Moving to cloud is a big decision, but the transition to the cloud alone will not be the panacea for all your infrastructure woes, as the hype may lead you to believe. A few months ago, I compared how cloud is a lot like relocating or buying a home. I posed many considerations and questions that showed a stark similarity between them - and how much thought and consideration needs to go into each transition for it to be successful.
I recently sat down with Savvis' consulting team. These experts have spent thousands of hours helping customers prepare and transition to enterprise cloud. During our conversation, the team outlined the top considerations that organizations need to address to position themselves to select the best cloud type for their enterprise, and to achieve a successful transformation.
Answering - or not answering - the following five of questions can have a significant impact on whether or not the organization realizes the promise of cloud infrastructure.
Decide whether you are going to maintain two infrastructures or consolidate.
Different requirements determine if the organization is going to augment its existing infrastructure with cloud, or use cloud to consolidate. Knowing the business and technical drivers that are moving the organization toward cloud will determine which path to take. Most organizations we work with implement a hybrid approach using cloud to achieve specific levels of flexibility and value not just cost savings.
Understand what applications are currently running in the existing environment and expectations for moving certain solutions to the cloud.
Mobility and growing data needs are placing new requirements on applications and services. It is important to analyze the applications in your environment and understand who is using them, how they are being used and what applications can be eliminated. Understanding the applications and the workload parameters will help to best distribute your assets and prep your user communities for the move.
Analyze the architecture of the application environments.
Virtualization has helped organizations lower storage and data center costs. Virtualization creates a pool of manageable, flexible capacity. Automation and orchestration take that pool of resources and enhance its manageability based on business policies and service-level requirements. The decoupling created by virtualization, combined with defined service offerings and automation, greatly enables cloud computing. In addition, companies that have virtualized their applications have already gone through a segmentation process and have the foundation for understanding what bridges are needed between the different infrastructure components. Applications that are on horizontally scalable systems and configured in clusters streamline the transformation and reduce upfront work as well.
Determine how much capacity you need to run the applications; are the capacity requirements seasonal or variable?
Knowing your application capacity requirements will ensure you meet your investment applications. While cloud allows per unit pricing, this approach is still more expensive than purchasing capacity in bulk. Based on our experience, most organizations can predict 70 percent of their capacity requirements. Cloud is a superior infrastructure for applications and user communities that have variable or seasonal capacity requirements.
Assess compliance and security requirements.
To move to the cloud, organizations must identify which applications are PCI compliant and define clear application security requirements. Some applications may never move, but knowing those services and solutions that require higher levels of security will help define if a dedicated cloud approach is better than an open one. Regulatory compliance policies and other internal procedures will inform what needs to be enforced on the cloud.
Steve Garrou is vice president, outsourcing and cloud services, at Savvis, A CenturyLink Company.